I just started playing another shooter with a bald space-marine protagonist, run-and-gun cover system, and a generic plot that boils down to the simple mantra “shoot everything.” But the difference is that I played it on my phone, and it’s one of the best-looking game Apple’s mobile platform yet. Shadowgun isn’t without flaws, but looking pretty isn’t one of them.
You’re probably going to read a lot of hyperbole about the game’s graphics, but in this case it’s well-deserved. Shadowgun presents a (comparatively) bright, colorful world with sharp details and character models that look a mix of Gears of War and Borderlands. Watch the video below; the game really looks like that.
The game’s a third-person shooter, and the controls are similar to Dead Space. Not to belittle EA’s contribution (which looks pretty damn good as well), but the well-lit backgrounds of Shadowgun make the visuals stand out that much more.
Beyond the visuals though, Shadowgun doesn’t have too much to offer. I’ve only played through the first handful of chapters and several boss fights, but it’s obvious that Shadowgun would make a terrible console game. The music is a constant, grating rock riff that’s annoying as soon as you start playing, the levels are laid out in mostly straighforward corridors, and the game’s plot and dialogue are painfully bad. Cover works OK, stand next to a wall or barrier to duck down, pull back to move away, press forward to jump over it. But I spent the majority of my play time moving from cover point to cover point, taking out enemies, then moving on to the next. No matter how awesome the visuals are, nothings going to make that feel less tedious.
We’ll have a full review up soon, and I’m eager to see what the game looks like running on an iPad 2. You can download and try out the game yourself right now from the App store, but if you’re stuck with an Android phone, you’ll have to wait a few more months for the game’s wide release.
As it stands, Shadowgun is visually on par with a C-tier 360 or PS3 game. Sure, you don’t have any character customization options, and everything is purposefully simple, but it’s plain impressive to look at. If you’re a Gears of War fan, this is the kind of mobile experience that will make you very, very happy. Ultimately, though, Shadowgun is less exciting for what it is, and more exciting for the future possibilities it teases.