The Showdown Effect is the result of pitching together a group of action movies from the 80s and 90s and forcing them to brawl it out with weapons from their respective universes ranging from the deadly frying pan to the feeble lightsaber. It is as intense and action packed as it is ridiculous, with backflips and wall clinging featuring heavily in the game.
The title allows you to choose between 4 thinly veiled action heroes and their weapon load out, where then up to 8 players get thrown into one of four multiplayer maps. It comes with several different game modes, some of them unseen before in the multiplayer arena. Players must then use their hard earned XP to purchase new weapons for their characters. But is The Showdown Effect the One Man Army that it makes itself out to be?
Skill Required - As you play, you'll notice that the game only counts your hits and deals damage to your opponent if your target reticule is exactly on what you are aiming that. Although at the start this does create a great divide between the new players and the long term players, this is really how games should be and it does not take long before you become acquainted enough with the game to start claiming some of your own kills. Mixed in with the insane sliding and flipping, it will not take long before you are controlling your very own action movie character
New Game Modes - The Showdown Effect has the familiar game modes that most should be well acquainted with and really need no explanation, Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. However there are two games modes that really shine through not only because they are unique to the game and fresh but because they really fit in with the theme of the game rather nicely. Expendables pitches the "Action Movie Heroes with the poorly equipped henchmen of the game" who are also controlled by players. These players really need to be relying on overwhelming numbers rather than firepower, something that is also needed in One Man Army, where one player is the Hero and is vastly overpowered and the other players must chisel away at him. The lucky fellow that scores the last hit gets a sudden promotion.
Entertaining - One-liners and the over the top weaponry that makes action movies perfect are plentiful in The Showdown Effect. In the setting of a brutal deathmatch, it becomes a genuine laugh at some of the things the characters come out with ranging from Liam Neeson's comments about his missing daughter from Taken to little comments made by Schwarzenegger after absolutely demolishing a person in various movies. The gameplay is just very enjoyable on the whole; the moves are extreme and fighting wonderfully over the top.
Diversity - There are plenty of different weaponry for you to occupy yourself with in The Showdown Effect. You can be sprinting down the corridor in your knight’s armour and lightsaber only to be knocked several hundred feet back by a young lady with a rocket launcher. The four different characters all have unique abilities, with varying needs of usefulness and each kill and game earns you a neat little bundle of XP. This XP you can take to the store and use to bench press your character just that little bit more into insanity to create a truly devastating monster.
GET TO THE CHOPPA!
Ranked Games are Dead - There is absolutely nobody on the ranked matches section every time an attempt was made to get a game. If you want to play The Showdown Effect you will have be playing custom games designed by somebody else or not play at all. Although it states than 10,000 ranked matches have been played at the time of writing, in a 45-minute wait, precisely two people were spotted. It is frustrating and disappointing that the game has already been limited to unranked matches with all settings completely decided by someone else. Which will probably only serve their needs and wants.
Almost Superfluous Weapons and Abilities - Unfortunately, although The Showdown Effect does include the use of melee weapons and unique character abilities, a lot of these are actually completely useless and very impractical to use. They are not impossible to use, but you will find yourself battling very hard for simple aesthetics. Although the unique abilities are a good part of the game tend to be far more useful than others. One character is granted an invincible shield which is infinitely more useful than being able to throw a grenade which does not require great skill to be able to dodge.
Lacking in Characters and Maps - Closely related to the last point, there are only 4 characters to choose from and because some are far more useful than others there tends to be some characters you see a sickening amount of and others which you barely see at all. Once cannot help but think about all the other heroes that could have been mimicked for the game which would have been equally, if not more enjoyable. In addition, there are only a few maps which is disappointing and does leave you wanting more but the gameplay is so intense and rapid and extreme that you do barely notice where you are fighting after a while.
The Showdown Effect does bring back some fantastic memories of great films and favourite action heroes and fulfils every man’s secret dream to pitch them against each other in an extraordinary battle. However, in these dreams there does tend to be more than just four characters in mind, and one can only feel a tad let down by how useless some of their abilities feel and by the seemingly non-existent ranked match system.
But The Showdown Effect does bring its very own modes which are to be applauded. In an industry where the same game modes tend to appear over and over again it is very refreshing to see such new, inventive and appealing ways to play. However, as one riddles Mizu Ichiban with another round of SMG fire, you cannot help but think that a little bit longer on development putting those few extra maps and characters in and the final result could have been remarkably better.
*This review was based on the PC version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*