The Showdown Effect – Review
Follow Genre: Action
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Platform: PC

The Showdown Effect – Review

Site Score
7.6
Good: Fast-paced, skill-based action!
Bad: Only 4 levels available for play at the moment
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Let’s say you own a magic blender which happens to contain a bunch of 80’s style action hero’s, a 2.5D version of Unreal Tournament and levels reminiscent of Super Smash Bros. What kind of concoction do you get after pressing the smoothie button? Well, the substance that comes out has a name – The Showdown Effect!

The Showdown Effect Logo

Story
Arrowhead Studios has recently released their follow up to the indie-hit Magicka. This time around you don’t run around in robes shooting bullets and magic at your enemies. In The Showdown Effect you become an action hero, straight from an eighties action flick, cheesy one-liners included. Aside from the training level, there is no single player campaign to be found and the characters are all 80’s clichés. You shouldn’t be expecting to find much of a backstory or character development when battling to the death with characters like an Arnold Schwarzenegger or Silvester Stallone clone. The game is light in tone and filled with humorous references to movies like Braveheart, Total Recall and Die Hard. Basically, the game feels like a video game version of The Expendables, but with younger protagonists and a lot more decapitations.

Showdown Effect Loading Screen

Graphics
The game is in 2.5D, meaning that the arenas and the characters are in 3D, but there is no depth. You look at the game in the same perspective as if you’re playing an old-school sidescroller. The graphics are bright and cartoony and the objects you can interact with are clearly marked. When you’re in spectator mode, you can zoom in quite a lot. This reveals the limit of the engine and at the highest zoom level, you see the ragged edges around the characters. The game looks good, but not great. Don’t expect to be blown away by graphical splendor.

It should be mentioned that there is an annoying graphical bug related to the elevators as they sometimes appear to be open but in reality they are not. When you’re being chased by a foe and you’re looking to make a quick escape, it can be extremely frustrating when your mashing the use button and nothing happens. After you get beaten to a bloody pulp you then see the elevator slowly coming towards your now lifeless body, but the doors were already opened and the empty elevator was clearly visible!

Showdown Effect Lobby

Sound
The sound effects and music in the game are generally quite good. You can tell what kind of weapon your foes are using before you even see them, and if you wear a headset you can even determine by listening to the enemy fire where it’s coming from and which way you should be heading.

There doesn’t appear to be much music in the game. The rock & roll soundtrack, however, is very reminiscent of eighties action movies and helps set the mood.

Gameplay
The Showdown Effect is a highly competitive multiplayer brawler. There are two kinds of matches: ranked and unranked. Ranked games are always played in the ‘Showdown’ mode. This is basically a free for all match, that turns into a last man standing match after a certain amount of time has passed.

Showdown Effect Healing

In the right corner of the screen is your score board. This shows you your score versus all the other players currently in the game. If a player has killed you twice, and you’ve only managed to kill him once, the score next to his name will read 1-2. This is important because your rank is assessed not by how many kills you get, but on how many players you’ve beaten. It makes no difference for your rank whether you beat a certain player by 8-0 or just simply 1-0.

If you’ve managed to kill all of your opponents at least one more time than they’ve killed you, it’s probably better to just hide. There is nothing left to gain. Other players will of course try their best to find you and equalize the score, so they won’t lose rank. This would be a huge gameplay flaw if the levels weren’t so small. You can’t hide forever and you’ll need to keep winning battles in order to stay ahead.

After a certain amount of time passes, the game goes in to last man standing mode. The last player alive wins a certain amount of rank, depending on how many players (between 4 and 8) were in the game and their current ranking.It should also be noted that kills in this portion of the match also count towards the scoreboard and the points are doubled. If you were one ahead of someone, he can still get in front in the dying seconds of the game.

Showdown Effect Last Man Standing

Unlike the ranked games, which make use of lobbies to set up the games, unranked games can be played on dedicated servers. Unranked matches have a lot more game modes and modifiers available. You can for example set up a quad damage, no guns allowed type of game. Almost anything can be customized. If you want to learn how to play the game before losing lots of rank, it’s probably best to start of playing unranked matches first.

Whatever mode you choose to play, you’ll always be arming your character to the teeth with various ranged and melee weapons. Think light sabers, katanas, SMGs, Gatling guns, rocket launchers, etc… You can run, slide, climb walls and tackle your opponents. Shooting guns isn’t so easy as it sounds, as there is no auto aim and you only score a hit if your cursor is exactly on your target. Just shooting in the general directing will only produce near misses.

Unfortunately, the balancing seems a bit off on some of the weapons. The throwing knives for example seem to be slightly overpowered, because unlike the guns, they do not require your cursor to be exactly on your target in order to score a hit. All characters have their own unique ability and some are better than others as well. Dutch, for example, has a shield that greatly reduces damage for a few seconds. This is by far the best of all the unique abilities and you’ll frequently encounter servers where 6 out of 8 players decided to play with him.

Showdown Effect Victory

Conclusion
The Showdown Effect is a fun, skill-based and highly competitive multiplayer brawler that truly deserves your attention. None of its flaws are game-breaking and Arrowhead have promised to listen to the comments posted in the forums and the game is frequently patched. Some work still needs to be done however. With only 8 playable characters and 4 arenas the game does feel a bit meager.

With a price of only €10, the developers are trying to score some extra income with micro transactions. Anything bought from the store only changes your character cosmetically and does not alter or improve your abilities. So no pay to win nonsense here.

Sounds good? A demo is available on Steam.

Showdown Effect Death Match

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The Showdown Effect - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

2 Comments

  1. ThaMofo
    ThaMofo
    March 17, 2013, 7:54 pm

    Looks nice, going to try it when I have some spare time this week aswell.

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  2. 3rd-strike.com | Contest: The Showdown effect
    March 29, 2013, 7:00 pm

    […] You can find our review here. […]

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