I recall a day back in December 2009, I sat by the clock, an adrenalin rush boiling ever so deep inside me, as I eagerly await for midnight to hit in order to download my copy of Need For Speed Shift on my iphone.
I was so impressed by the NFSS demo on my 360 that I thought having this type of racer in my pocket would be heaven. The clock eventually turned twelve, I bum-rushed the app-store and downloaded NFSS. About half an hour into the game, I realized this version of the game was nothing like what I played on the console. It was a lame crappy version meant to piggyback onto the success of the better console doppelganger. Ever since that time, I jettisoned all interest in EA IOS games, that is until I played DS.
There are three essential elements to conquer in any IOS game: Controls, gameplay and graphics. EA managed to succeed in all of these which I will elaborate further on.
DS is gorgeous. It's no infinity blade, but the visuals absolutely pop-and-lock on the retina display. There are a few minor disappointments however. One such is that not everything in the game is scaled up evenly. Most of the in-game posters and media you come across appear blurry and pixelated at a certain point. I would like to read all the little details from the posters, flyers and such, but I can't; Getting close just magnifies the pixels more. The second is that Vandal doesn't have a backwards walking animation, therefore when you are moving him back, his legs still walk forward. It's a trivial matter really but it's also so easy to reverse an animation that I can't believe how EA could have let it slip.
The game uses dynamic lighting as opposed to real-time. Not a big deal except there are certain parts where the artists forget to reflect the lighting change on Vandal. So, if some parts if a corridor is darker than where you came from, once Vandal is walking in that corridor, the darker area enveloped his suit to make him blend. In other parts however, Vandal's suit remains well lit despite the fact that he is in a darker area.
If the consensus agree to use Infinity Blade as a benchmark for IOS graphics, than DS gets a respectable 8.5/10
Other than nailing the controls in DS, EA achieved something else that should serve as a warning to other developers; that you CAN make a full IOS game without sacrificing content, performance, and gameplay by using "limitations" as an excuse. Moreover, this proves wrong all the skeptics claiming IOS is great for only the likes of Angry Birds but not capable to provide a full console experience. Controls in DS are very good and very intuitive. It makes sense to simply tap your gun ammo to reload. It makes perfect sense to not have a cluttered screen with 20 buttons robbing valuable eye candy. Take that gameloft.
This is the area where I expected to be let down as I was with Battlefield and NFSS. Well surprise surprise, not only is the gameplay pure Dead Space gameplay, but the scares and tension are equally pristine. Voice acting is pretty good and the sound is just fantastic. You will be scared a few times playing this game that's for sure.
I'm not sure how much of a replay value there is once you've beat the game. I assume the story will be the same and the monsters will jump out from the same locations they did last time. So the second time around will not be scary, but if you opt for the harder mode which you will have unlocked once you beat the game, then a tougher challenge awaits. I hope EA will support this game with a multiplayer update in the future or maybe some side missions.
DS may not look as great as IB or Rage, it may never dethrone the Angry Birds from the number one spot, but what DS is, none of these other games are; a full console experience with no short-cuts taken to get there. It's not on rails, it doesn't limit your view, it doesn't dumb the monsters down, it's the full DS we all have played on our PS3s and 360s right in your pocket.
Thank you EA. You really shocked me!
Final Score: 8.5/10
Last edited by helmania; 01-26-2011 at 04:57 PM..