In Case You Missed It: Plague Inc: Evolved

By Roland Chansen,
Have you ever wondered how an epidemic might sweep across the globe? Would it be the flu, a parasite, or even a zombie apocalypse? In Plague Inc: Evolved, you are the epidemic. Use a virus to quickly spread across the globe before the world may react. Trick humans into worshipping and intentionally spreading a parasite. Revive an ancient plague and command the last living vampire. Empower apes to overthrow man. In Plague Inc, it is your job to develop an epidemic that eradicates humanity.

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The Basics

Plague Inc: Evolved allows players to choose between a variety of plague types and then develop traits to shape how the disease will destroy the world. Each type of plague has different special features that change its starting traits and spreads across the world. For example, the ‘prion’ plague type is slow to evolve and hard for humanity to notice, while the ‘virus’ plague type spreads quickly and has a high chance to mutate. As of now, there are 11 plague types to choose from. Nine released with the base game and two were added as part of title updates.

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Before we dive into details on evolution, we should cover gameplay. After picking your plague, you will see a world map. This is the main screen for gameplay. As soon as you select a starting country, a red bubble will appear. You pop these bubbles to gain DNA points and slow down development of a cure. This is the majority gameplay. While this may sound simple or boring, the excitement in Plague Inc comes from choosing and balancing the traits of your disease to wipe out the world. You could think of this as a similar experience to choosing abilities in talent trees of role-playing games.

In order to evolve your disease, you must earn DNA points. DNA points are earned over time by infecting and killing people and by popping bubbles as mentioned before. There are three types of evolutions DNA points may be spent on: transmission (how the disease spreads), symptoms (how dangerous the disease is), and abilities (resistances and special traits). Players must balance how DNA points are spent in order to shape the disease to eradicate humanity.

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As you may know from personal experience, humans are a resilient species and will not give up without a fight. Once the plague is discovered, the remaining survivors work to cure it. Players will need to race to beat the cure or find a way to slow it down. If the plague fails to eradicate humanity, the player loses. Once the last human on earth dies, the player wins the game.

The Hook

At a high-level view, this game seems simple with bubble-popping and talent trees. However, using different evolutions and strategies to end the world is what gives this game an addictive nature. Plague Inc also includes random mini-events that players can consider as optional objectives or side quests (many are achievement related). Most scenarios will take 15-30 minutes to complete, so it is easy to try different strategies and experience different events over the many playthroughs required for achievements.

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While some of the base plagues have overlapping symptoms, Plague Inc includes some disease types that drastically change gameplay. For example, the necroa virus can be used as a standard infection, or to turn humanity into a horde of zombies. Another disease controls people's minds and can cause them to worship and intentionally spread the disease. Plague Inc also features a Planet of the Apes special disease, which includes a special peaceful ending. The shadow plague is an ancient virus that can be spread by the last surviving vampire.

One of the new vampire mini-events is particularly enjoyable. Early on in the shadow plague, a notification may pop up that a historian found an ancient map. Over time, if you manage to stay hidden while spreading the disease, pop-ups will continue to occur where the historian finds that Dracula was real and eventually the location of Dracula’s tomb. Then, if the player has invested in abilities that heal vampires, it is possible to travel to the tomb and resurrect Dracula. This not only is a satisfying storyline to achieve, but it also grants the player a second vampire to help enslave humanity.

Plague Inc shines by allowing players to find different ways to end the world with a variety of plagues. Title update plagues have complex mechanics that are satisfying to learn and perfect to find different ways to win the game. Achievements help guide the player through varied gameplay by encouraging use of different evolutions and finding different outcomes to the mini storylines.

The Achievements

Plague Inc's achievements will take you through each disease and a variety of scenarios. You will need to discover special disease combos for each type of plague and use plague evolutions to force special events in game, like the storyline where Dracula is resurrected. You also must beat each disease on mega-brutal difficulty (which unlocks other plagues for free). This is not as daunting as the name implies, especially with guides posted by TA users. Finally, there are achievements related to unlocking three biohazards, this game’s variation of stars, in each official scenario. While some of these scenarios are easy, this game mode includes the most difficult achievements in the game. Even with a guide, some luck and many attempts are required. Users predict 60-80 hours for a completion for the base game content. Title update achievements range from 5-10 hour efforts.

The Stats

Plague Inc is currently tracked by 9,893 gamers with a 4.0 rating from 605 votes. Only 27 have completed the game. This low completion number is partially due to the recent release of the previously mentioned vampire plague. Using one of the more difficult achievements to judge completion, around 50 users likely finished this game before the DLC (Super Sparrow in Plague Inc: Evolved).

The Price

Plague Inc: Evolved is currently $14.99 in the Xbox Store and is only available as a digital copy. Some plagues are purchasable if you wish to immediately unlock them, or they may be unlocked in-game for free by beating the other plagues on the mega-brutal difficulty. If you would like to try a cheaper version before you buy, it is available for purchase on mobile phones (no achievement or save-linking is available).

The Verdict

Plague Inc: Evolved is a relatively simple game when taken at face value, but provides players with extensive replay value through 11 different plagues with different evolution strategies, random mini-events, and extra scenarios. As an added bonus, the developers have continued to release free content over time. The achievements add to the fun by supporting the player using different evolutions and strategies, which will help gamers experience everything Plague Inc has to offer.

If there’s a game you’d like to see featured in ICYMI, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Roland Chansen
Written by Roland Chansen
Roland joined the Newshound team in May 2017. He used to love long walks on the beach, but now prefers achievement hunting.