Plague Inc: Evolved Review-A Pox on All of Steam

Game Name: Plague Inc: Evolved

Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, Playstation 4

Developer: Ndemic Creations

Publisher: Ndemic Creations

Price: £11.99 or $14.99

Ever wanted to destroy the world? The thought isn’t exactly alien to gamers like us. There are plenty of games just for embracing our more chaotic side. While saving the world is all well and good, it’s often just as fun, if not more fun to destroy it. Even in games where it isn’t the main focus, there’s always a way to bend the game’s rules to commit evil. Come on, we’ve all trapped a Sim in a room with no exit or stopped building a rollercoaster in Rollercoaster Tycoon so we could watch the little pixel people crash and burn. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the most popular world-destroying games: Plague Inc: Evolved. This game has picked up quite a bit of traction and remains one of the most popular games on Steam. Is it really as enjoyable as it’s given credit for? Let’s find out!

What you do in Plague Inc is pretty self-explanatory. You attempt to develop a plague that is infectious, deadly and complicated enough to infect the whole world, kill every human and prevent scientists from curing it. However, you don’t do much in the way to directly control your plague, instead indirectly controlling it through upgrades. When you start a game, you pick a location to start your plague and begin infecting the world. Over time, you collect DNA points, either automatically or by clicking DNA bubbles that randomly appear on the world map. These can be used to improve the transmission, symptoms and abilities of your plague. This may be making it more resistant to certain environments and weather, giving it the ability to spread through certain means that are more effective in some areas than some, or making it harder to cure.

You’ll probably enjoy your first few games as you learn how to play, but you’ll soon realise that the game is actually incredibly repetitive by nature. There’s only one real strategy to win and you’ll be using it every single game if you want a chance. Only upgrade transmission until pretty much the entire world is infected then refund all transmission upgrades and just buy as many symptoms as you can. Your plague remains hidden as long as it has no symptoms and all my attempts to try and balance transmission and symptoms have ended with failure. Humans just develop the cure too damn fast that the second your plague is discovered and the world isn’t fully infected, it’s game over. Even with the maximum amount of upgrades that make it harder for them to find a cure, they can still create it in a matter of minutes, and then you’ve lost.

As well as that, if your plague kills everyone in the world but the inhabitants of one country, you lose. Madagascar and Greenland particularly cause a lot of trouble. When your plague is discovered, they close their seaports like a mouse trap and it’s literally impossible to infect them and win the game no matter what you do. If this doesn’t sound that fun then you’re right, it isn’t. I honestly can’t understand what makes this game so popular. Maybe it’s because of the huge amount of content on offer. It’s what drew me in in the first place. There are over 150 achievements to earn which will keep you occupied with the game for quite a while if you’re not bothered by the mind-numbing gameplay. On top of this, there’s a level editor which allows you to make your own campaigns and share them on the Steam Workshop, a collection of side campaigns separate from the main campaign and a co-op mode which you can play with your friend. Finally, there’s even multiplayer.

I only played one multiplayer game admittedly, but I had no desire to play another one afterwards. On paper, it seems like a decent enough concept. Two players go head to head, controlling their own plague in an attempt to eradicate the whole of humanity first. To win, you have to infect the most humans. Doesn’t seem like a problem at first, but here’s the thing. The amount of humans you kill, doesn’t mean shit. In the one game I played, I had infected the most humans and started killing them off, my opponent only having infected the entirety of Greenland while I had claim to the rest of the world. No matter what I tried, what upgrades I got, I couldn’t infect Greenland and take it from him so I just killed off all the people I had infected thinking I would win. So, after a while, my plague had killed over six billion people with him only having infected a meagre one billion. And I lost. His plague survived longer than mine so he won despite me infecting and killing way more people than him. What the fuck? Multiplayer, is more of a last man standing than a race to utterly destroy humanity and in my opinion, that’s just stupid game design.

In conclusion, I don’t think Plague Inc: Evolved lives up to its gargantuan popularity at all. I tried to have fun, I really did, and for the first couple of games, I saw where people were coming from. But it didn’t take long for me to tire of the game’s only real draw. Some of the more creative and unique pathogens such as the Vampire pathogen which has you control a powerful vampire attempting to destroy the world and the Simian Flu which allows you to infect and take control of monkeys to spread your plague kept me interested for a little longer but the principle and strategy remains pretty much the same. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of strategy games, but I thought the whole reason people loved them was because they allowed you to formulate your own ways of grasping victory. Plague Inc: Evolved is as far from this as it could possibly be, and for that, I unfortunately can’t recommend it.

Pros:

  • Lot’s of content and Replayability
  • Steam Workshop
  • Over a hundred achievements
  • Multiplayer
  • Co-Op Mode
  • Several disease types that change up the gameplay slightly

Cons:

  • Get’s very repetitive, very fast
  • Only one real strategy to win
  • Multiplayer win conditions are stupid
  • The cure is developed way too damn fast
  • Music is dull and gets repetitive
  • Madagascar and Greenland

Verdict: 6/10

Buy the game here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/246620/Plague_Inc_Evolved/

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