MOD Desc
The Cardverse epedemic is insane and rapidly increasing. The ammount of people getting interested in it and creating new art for it is catostrophic.

I have 208 of the 211 achievements inside of this game, with 200+ hours logged in. I’m a hardcore achievement hunter, and I’m willing to spend many hours to get the hardest of achievements. There seem to be three achievements: Super Sparrow, Lava God, and Mr. President – the three ‘impossible’ achievements’ that I am unable to obtain; this is where the last 20+ hours of my time has been spent on; however, I did manage to do as much and experience as much as possible for this game. (I actually managed to get Lava God, but it’s still really difficult.)
I’ve managed to experience everything this game has to offer, so I should be one of the most qualified people to write a review.

If you’re a person that’s interested in strategy as well as biology, this is the game for you. From a scale of 1 to 10, this game is an 8.5/10. The game is fantastic, but it has one massive flaw: the extraordinary amounts of luck required to obtain some of the hardest achievements. The hardest achievements are based not on skill, but they are based on the number of times on how much you are willing to reset the game.

The core gameplay is to infect and kill every single person on the entire planet. Often, this is where the meme originates from because it’s incredibly accurate where island countries such as Greenland and Madgasgascar can quickly shut down their borders, and you would have to restart. You have to kill and infect every single country. No exceptions. Don’t worry. You can always create a save state, so you don’t have to start entirely from scratch.

This game advertises itself as a simulator for pandemics; however, it’s incredibly flawed. With COVID-19 right now at the time of this writing, you can see that people can recover from it. However, if you were to get sick with a disease in this game, you won’t be able ever to recover. Additionally, in real life, diseases mutate which this game does; however, if you were to mutate your disease, every infected person on the planet also gets that same mutation. Lastly, there’s also the fact that not every single country has an airport, which is understandable because if that were to happen, it would be incredibly easy to defeat. There is a game mode where you can have airplanes on every single country, however.

There’s this long list of official scenarios that you can do, which can be quite educational and exciting. There are scenarios such as what would happen if the Bubonic Plague comes back, if every country were to receive equal medical attention, and if everyone has access to teleportation similar to the Portal franchise. I love how these custom scenarios can be incredibly entertaining; however, again, be prepared to spend a lot of your time on YouTube and the internet – shout out to Pravus gaming and Icspicy – and continually reading and watching guides. Sometimes, when it comes to achievement hunting, there’s going to be achievements in which there are not many helpful guides. You have to figure it out yourself or watch one of those bad guides and break it down step-by-step.

In terms of achievements, the vast majority of them are easy to obtain, such as unlocking the right symptom combos. However, some achievements force you to explore and play the game in unique ways and use niche tools to get it done. For example, my favorite game mode would have to be zombies, where you have to make everyone into a zombie. There are specific achievements where there are subplots in which the zombie virus can originate from such as a pharmaceutical company, from a government lab, or Chernobyl. That’s interesting because I want to know how these subplots will end and affect the story. I kind of wish there were more Co-Op, PvP achievements, though. There’s also an incredible amount of extremely, hyper-specific achievements. You have to follow these events at the exact moment. It’s impossible to find them by yourself.

At first impression, as per almost anything, the game is quite hard to master. It took me 50+ hours to complete the original game modes, and I still wasn’t feeling good at the game. It then took me another 50+ hours to complete all of the official scenarios on mega brutal, and I was feeling good at the game but not at the point of mastery. It then took me another 50 more hours for me to get almost all of the achievements. It was only really at the 150+ hour mark where I could say to myself I know what I’m doing without relying heavily on guides. The truth is that this game has a significant learning curve and will require massive amounts of time to say you are an expert comfortably.

The PvP mode is also pretty funny if you’re into that. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have a much larger player base anymore, so you’ll have difficulty trying to look for matches. There’s one where you can play with others and against each other. There are some achievements where you will be forced to seek out people on Discord to get some of these achievements—shoutout to Olivier Batteux for helping me get the BFF achievement.

Onto some minor stuff, there’s a lot of news headlines that are quite funny. For example, the devs like to insert real-life news about COVID-19 and add in some jokes and references from pop culture. The soundtrack is okay, and I kind of wish it was better because it gets tiring listening to the same soundtrack for 200+ hours. I wish there were more variety there. This is for the standard game modes. When it comes to the zombie virus, Simian Flu, and Shadow Plague, they will have unique soundtracks.

Speaking of Simian Flu, there’s a game mode where it’s based off the franchise: Planet of the Apes. I wanted to immerse myself in the game, so I watched the films. They’re fantastic films. I recommend you watch it, so you can further appreciate that game mode.

If I could improve this game, it would be to increase the luck factor to infect the island countries. Again, as I said about the whole three god-tier achievements, it’s not on skill, but it depends entirely on how many times you are willing to restart.

The best guides will be Pravus Gaming, IcSpicy, the Steam forums, those random YouTubers, and the website forums trueachievement if you get stuck. You’ll heavily use this as material.

If you’re not into achievement hunting, there’s also a beautiful custom scenario in which you can make your scenarios or download other people’s scenarios where you can play custom maps. It’s enjoyable to play with them. There are countless scenarios that the Plague Inc community has made. This will have lasting value.

This is also a game where you’re not pressured to complete it all at once. There’s no rush, similar to picking up a book. There’s no meta to chase.

I’m just writing this review as closure because I did enjoy it a lot. It has way more enjoyable content than it has bad. Again, the final rating for this is an 8.5/10. It will have been perfect if you don’t have to rely on luck to the point where it’s more luck than actual skill.

1. If you like strategy and biology, this is for you.
2. Achievements are mostly easy to get, with a lot of them being unique, forcing you to explore different methods.
3. With the huge learning curve, you will have to invest a lot of time looking into guides.
4. Some massive, unrealistic features such as humans unable to recover.
5. This game will require skill, but there’s a heavy emphasis on luck.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me on Discord. I’ll most definitely respond, please don’t hesitate at all, even if you are reading this from the distant future. My Discord tag is Infinity #8888. My Twitch is InfiniteInsights as well.This game will have a special place in my heart because this is the first game I streamed on Twitch.

Thanks for reading.

Plague Inc. Evolved is a game where you take over a potentially deadly disease to extinguish humanity. The game is based on a series of games called Pandemic which became popular in a flash game from 2008. However Plague Inc. Evolved took the novel idea from there and developed a rather interesting and deeper game.

When you start a game of Plague Inc. Evolved you first have to choose a disease type, these range from bacteria, viruses, all the way up to nano-viruses and bio-weapons. Each one has slightly different rules and abilities. Each type of disease is given a unique special ability, and some (four out of the eleven, which I’ll call the special types) act radically different.

You then name your virus. I found a few clever choices, my personal favorite was “Twilight Fan Fictions.” but anything can be used, it’s just a name for the game to use to refer to it. From there the game actually starts bringing you to the main map.

Unsurprisingly, the main map is the standard shape of the world. You have six out of the seven continents (no Antarctica) and various countries. Some countries are obvious, such as North America which is Canada, United States, and Mexico. However, other countries are jumbled together or forgotten about altogether. Central Europe is a single place, Portugal is part of Spain and Africa which is 54 countries in the real world is about 10 in the game. These are clearly decisions to add to the gameplay (imagine Risk with all 195 countries), but it’s a shame that so many countries are forgotten here.

However, each country’s borders are so sharp that there’s a clear border where the countries are. It’s odd to see the United States completely overrun by a disease next to Canada that has a few spots on it. The reason is the countries are represented on the map but the location of “sick people” is not on a grid so spreading of the disease is more based on hidden mathematics rather than a logical progression. The sharpness of the borders feels rather awkward at times, especially when a country’s borders are open and no infected people seem to be going into completely healthy countries.

Once the player reaches the main map, they are allowed to select a starting country, and the disease starts to spread there. The gameplay always starts slowly, usually taking a few days to get going, though the game allows three speeds for progression, I found myself choosing the fastest speed and pausing when I wanted to do something, as there’s a lot of downtime in between events that require action.

One piece the game does change from the original concept is while waiting for the infection to spread, bubbles will appear that can be popped for DNA points. These occur when a new country is taken over or when enough time has passed, the player is given something to do while they wait and honestly, it kept me engaged in the game instead of thinking about other games I could be playing.

These DNA points also come in overtime as the world gets infected (or killed) and they are part of the core of the game. There’s not an infinite number of them, and there are little pieces that can increase the number that come in, but the game isn’t very clear how to boost them. It seems the more severe a disease is the more points you might gain.

DNA points can be used for one of three things. You can spend them on transmission improvements, which makes the disease spread better, faster, or in different ways. You can use them to get new symptoms for your disease, which can help spread but does increase the severity of the disease, which causes it to get noticed. Finally, you can also buy resistances, which is critical because the cold or drugs in rich countries will stop the disease.

The upgrades are the key to the game, but sadly the upgrades are also one of the limitations of the game. A bacteria and a virus are different types of disease. Instead of being unique dieseases, they have the same upgrades. The same ways of spreading, and the same resistance. They do have one unique ability, the bacteria can gain a better resistance and the virus can mutate faster, however, this doesn’t radically change the game. Almost every virus has the same types of transmissions, same symptoms and same resistances with a single special ability. I mentioned four special types of disease above, and two of the four operate in similar ways with a special list of symptoms, and two of the four are unique experiences which I’ll touch on later.

There are also genes you can choose when you set up your disease. These genes are unlocked by beating the main game multiple times. They allow you to gain bonuses, such as more DNA when popping specific bubbles, or ability to spread better in humid countries, or more ship based transmissions. You can grind these genes out or you can collect them as you play the game.

There’s a lot of these genes, and I was only able to collect 30 percent of them in 15 hours of gameplay, but overall they seem to change the game a bit.

That is one of the big issues I have with the game. Genes seem to change the game a bit but I don’t know how much for sure. The fact is that while the upgrades and genes tend to be the same, there are no stats. I’m unable to know exactly how much of a gain the cold resistance or the bacteria’s special resistance will give. The game only gives a small bar graph of Infectiousness, Severity, and Lethality Each of these are valuable stats, but there are so many other stats that are hinted at. “Difficulty to cure”, “Resistances”, even “Infectiousness level to the specific type of countries” are all important stats and the game doesn’t give a stat screen or any information on how much harder it will be to cure a disease, for instance.

Maybe this was done to avoid the idea of “Min-Maxing” the game, but this is a strategy game. Players should know exactly how each piece will affect the end result. If they wanted to avoid metagaming, they chose the wrong genre, in my opinion, to do that in.

The other possibility is the developers were afraid the numbers would mean nothing which is a valid concern. An 8 in cold resistance is only going to confuse people, however getting an 8 in cold resistance versus a 9 in cold resistance is an important distinction and it would help to differentiate pieces, as well as get a better understanding what each choice does.

I’m not sure why the stats aren’t clearly stated for the type of people who would use them, but it’s something that bothers me. It also can make the game harder to win as you don’t know what you’re buying or how to quantify two choices. The community seem to think making the disease “hard to cure” isn’t a good choice, but it’s a guess, not a quantitative analysis of that upgrade.

Ultimately there are really two styles of winning the game. There’s the stealth type of winning, where the disease stays hidden until it infects everyone and then at that point becomes super devastating usually killing the world before the cure can really be started. There is also a faster burn, where the disease will gain symptoms to increase its infectiousness but avoids major research and outpaces the cure.

There’s another issue here, and it’s that the tutorial teaches you the second path. However, the first disease you get really needs to use a stealth style. The game doesn’t seem to teach you stealth, and a new player who doesn’t look up anything will likely fail a number of times until he’s forced to look it up.

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