Chances are if you happen to be one of the millions of Mass Effect fans out there, you’ve heard about Mass Effect Infiltrator, a mobile tie-in game for iOS and eventually Android as well. Chances are also high you’ve heard that the game is no good, and in fact is bad enough to rival Mass Effect Galaxy, the last mobile title for the series which performed so horribly that it was eventually removed from the iOS app store completely. But after playing Infiltrator myself, I am inclined to disagree with critical opinion that this is not a title worth your time.
In other reviews, the biggest complaint I’ve seen is control issues. For the most part, however, I found the controls to function just as well as other mobile games of similar genre. As you might expect, the left side of the screen is used for movement, and the right side of the screen is used for aiming, but as this is a Mass Effect title, you’ll spend most of your time running behind cover, leaning out to fire, and ducking back behind cover again. To coincide with new Mass Effect 3 features regarding the cover system, once behind cover in Infiltrator, you can swipe any direction to swiftly move from one point of cover to the next or evade enemies as they move in closer and then keep fighting. Actually using abilities and firing weapons is rather unique compared to other first or third person iOS titles, but I don’t consider this to be a bad thing at all. In short, while the controls take time to get used to, I found them to be no buggier than any other touch based game, and the few problems I did have–though mildly frustrating–were certainly not game breaking and barely slowed me down at all.
The next thing people tend to criticize about Mass Effect Infiltrator is its voice acting. Now I’ll agree, it’s not up to snuff with the likes of the ‘real’ ME games, but it’s every bit as good as the majority of other mobile devices out there. Early on in the game the voices will probably not impress anyone, but as you progress and are introduced to new characters, what you’ll hear is actually pretty decent. Think something between Infinity Blade II and N.O.V.A. No awards are going to be won here, but for what the game is, the voices are good enough to make things interesting.
Now this is one issue I actually agree with, but it segues nicely into my main point, so I will mention it anyway. The Paragon and Renegade points in the console and PC Mass Effect games was always a well-implemented and very interesting system. Neither one nor the other was ever constantly the right choice to go with, and you never knew exactly if a paragon action would end up having the same final result as a renegade action, or a different result entirely. That’s just how deep and varied the points went. In Infiltrator, this deep system is reduced to a simple kill/spare choice when you happen upon certain unarmed characters that usually are only around in bonus rooms that are not essential to the game anyway. Not that it will matter if you never make use of the Paragon/Renegade actions at all…they don’t have any discernible effect on the story, and appear to only be in the game to create one more tie with other ME games.
The Main Point
Mass Effect Infiltrator’s biggest problem is not its controls or its voice acting or its gameplay, but rather its name. When people see a high-profile title like ‘Mass Effect’ in a mobile game, they expect a high-profile experience that is on par with what they get on the consoles or PC. Honestly, of all mobile tie-in games, I feel Infiltrator does about the best of all attempts thus far in keeping the spirit of the full titles on a hand held device. IronMonkey Studios, the same team that brought Dead Space to iOS, did a fantastic job with making the graphics look and feel as close to the real thing as possible, and combined with the familiar soundtrack and sound effects of the Mass Effect universe, you’ve got one great tie-in on your hands. Yet it is still important to remember that while Infiltrator makes use of a lot of the same elements as Mass Effect, it must implement them differently to fit with touch screen controls on a device that typically gets used in short bursts.
In the end, what will determine if Mass Effect Infiltrator is a good buy for you or not is how you approach the game. If you’re looking for an experience to compete with the depth of a full Mass Effect title, you will be disappointed. But if you’re simply looking to take a part of the vast Mass Effect universe on the road with you, look no further. Contrary to what you may hear all around you, Infiltrator is most certainly not a bad game!