I had the pleasure of sitting down and playing one of the best looking iOS games to date. Shadowgun is a third person shooter which puts you in control of the galaxy’s best bad ass bounty hunter, John Slade. Your mission; hunt down Dr. Edgar Simon and bring him in dead or alive. You will battle mutants, cyborgs and battle droids through beautifully detailed levels and environment. Lock and load.
Shadowgun starts with a short cutscene giving the player the basic storyline. Dr. Edgar Simon has taken valuable research from some all powerful corporation and you have been hired to bring him in. You get aquatinted with your android assistant S.A.R.A. who will help you throughout the game. And, BAM, the action begins.
The first thing that will strike the player about this game is the beautiful high-quality graphics used in Shadowgun. I hate comparing games but this game definitely has that “Gears of War” look and feel. The characters just look amazing and are highly detailed. From great textures to great detail-objects, you will swear that you are playing a console game. The sets also look really good with interactive props like destroyable cover objects and interactive switches, doors and panels. Some sets feel a little barren and more debris and objects could make the sets pop. And with good graphics comes even better lighting. The lighting of each set just makes the entire game look better. I’ve found a lot of mobile games, even from the big boys, to lack in this area. Thankfully Shadowgun hasn’t skimped in the lighting department.
I’ve had big dreams for gaming on my iOS devices and unfortunately they haven’t come true. Third person control systems on mobile devices have been hit or miss. Shadowgun’s control system works pretty well. The left side of the screen moves your character while the right is used for shooting, switching weapons and aiming/looking. I’ve found that the position of the action button can cause some issues while trying too look around a set. I sometimes hit the fire button wasting valuable ammo. Also, there are some camera issues when in tight spots. The camera gets pushed inside you causing some very annoying issues. I really like the way health is displayed. Taking damage causes the screen to get red around the edges which creeps to the center as you take more damage. Like other console shooters, taking cover and “resting” for a moment will allow you to recover your health. I also really like how they incorporated taking cover into Shadowgun. Walking into a cover object to crouch behind it. You can they take a few different routes to roll out of it. A “Gears-like” cover system definitely makes this game stand out.
A small issue I also had with the game mechanics is bugs with picking up objects. Some ammo clips just will not be picked up. I’ve slowly walked over them and sat on them for a while but they will not pick up. I’ve had similar issues with other pickups which can be very annoying. Its a small bug that should be fixed easily. Another bug I found is that getting shot in certain areas, like a stairwell, can cause you to fall through small openings and fall through the level into infinity. It has happened to me only a few times, but when they happen, you have to restart the app.
While the story is pretty simple and straight forward, it is reminiscent of some other games. The concept of the game is great but the storyline felt under developed. I’d love to see more plot development and character growth. With Shadowgun looking and feeling like a console game, I really hoped the story would be there. That being said, having a simple story allows you to get right into the action and the characters are cool. John Slade is a tough S.O.B. and is fun to play as. I also thought S.A.R.A. was a good supporting character that help you to progress through the game. I though her style was a little too sexy for a robot. Some placement of “bolts” on her were placed in some pretty humorous location.
Shadowgun looks and feels like a console game. And one last features hammers this point home. Most modern games have hidden secrets and trophies. Hidden thought the game are bonus cards and extras which unlock art and bios. It was a pleasant surprise when I found my first one.
Despite some flaws, Shadowgun is a great third person shooter. The graphics and game mechanics are just amazing for a mobile game. This game looks and plays better than most mobile games released by the big developers. Players will find themselves drawn into the beautiful environment and taking out hordes of enemies. Shadowgun is on my “Must have” list of iOS games.
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