New Shadowgun Legends gameplay footage shows the dazzling graphics possible on current smartphones8
Shadowgun and its multiplayer spin-off, Deadzone, are two of Android's truly iconic games. When Apple was doing what seemed like magic running Infinity Blade on the iPhone 4S, no Android game could hold up to its Unreal Engine-powered graphics.
Shadowgun isn't merely a roided-out tech demo, though. It's also a full-blooded (and literally bloody) shooter that was as fun to play as the inherently awkward touchscreen controls would allow. In fact, it was surprisingly fun!
If that isn't enough to explain our enthusiasm for Shadowgun Legends, the work-in-progress next installment in the franchise, these 8 minutes of straight-up gameplay ought to do it. Madfinger Games, the developer, is going for visuals that make NOVA 3 and Modern Combat look... simple.
That's the kind of show we expect from the super-powered chipsets in our smartphones today, but understandably, few developers are willing to dump the resources required for such presentation into a mobile game that's going to sell for... what, like, $5?
Madfinger is daring enough to do that, though, as it has the business know-how to profit on its high investments. After all, it built its fortunes on a free-to-play zombie shooter that looked outstanding for its time – Dead Trigger.
Graphics keep getting better, enemy AI stays dumbUnfortunately, mobile developers may have figured graphics out, but we're yet to see a 3D shooter or racer where your computer-controlled opponents don't behave like complete morons. That seems to be the case with Shadowgun Legends as well. The game is designed as a MMOFPS, which means you will be playing against human opponents most of the time.
But the enemies in the footage are clearly scripted, and they just sort of stand there and gulp your ammo like it's the force of life, which isn't very fun. Modern processors ought to be powerful enough to handle both impressive graphics and complex AI routines, so hopefully, tech-savvy developers like Madfinger will start taking advantage of that.
Shadowgun Legends is scheduled for release in the first half of 2017, which means it ought to show up before July. Although Madfinger is showing early pre-alpha footage here, the game is probably in later development stages by now – otherwise, it will miss its scheduled release window. The game is being primed for Android and iOS.