Having spent a lot of time in the PCVR version of After the Fall and not trying the PSVR version due to the Move Controllers being dated, I was interested in seeing what the team at Vertigo Game have done with the PlayStation VR 2 version/upgrade. I have now been out battling the Snowbreed in the cold streets of L.A – but, can this compete with my experience on PCVR?
In After The Fall you take up the role of a Harvest Runner, who’s job is risking it all in order to give mankind the hope of surviving another day. Which brings in the main gameplay and mode called ‘Harvest Runs’. These will see you heading into a frozen post-apocalyptic L.A, and taking on the Snowbreed and collecting harvest – the games currency.
With the PSVR2 version you will get all the free updates that have been added through-out the games current life-span. Meaning you will face off against the standard Snowbreed, which will increase with the difficulty you select giving them more armor and aggression. An Eater, which is a rather rotund enemy that will explode when killed. A Juggernaut, that will just charge at you, grab one of the team and you don’t do enough damage to make it let go, will instant kill your team mate. The Brute, that will charge at you at some speed and aggression and have some ice armor. The Charger that will run at your squad and do plenty of damage if they manage to hit you. A Gunner who is the same size as the Charger but has a gun on one arm and will spray this at you and your squad – with the Charger and Gunner also having the Juggernaut’s ability to grab you if you get too close. Then finally the Smasher, this is games largest enemy that has armor covering all its weak points you need to remove, all while taking on attributes of the Brute with the one hit possibility of the Juggernaut.
With all the updates if you buy the Complete Edition you will get instant access to all nine harvest runs that are now available in the game, along with all the new weapons being unlockable. The Harvest Runs, can be done with up to four-player co-op (all cross-play with every platform it has been released on), and if you don’t have a team of four, you can either search for the other members or just head out with AI characters by your side. This allows players to take on harvest runs on how they like.
If you don’t have squad, you can either look for other players searching for a game, or just look around The Line instance you are placed into and invite players to your party. The Line is a public lobby that will hold up to 32 players in one instance, that you will be placed into between each run. This is going to be made up of players across all platforms in your chosen region, as the game has cross-platform between all available releases. This means the team have introduced an in-game friends list as well, meaning if your friend is in a different region or instance of the Line you can still party up using the friend list.
Before starting your run you will be given the chance to buy items to help your team survive. From booster syringes, throwables and special ammo. Outside of the staring room, you might find these on frozen harvest runners, who have failed previously – so take what they no longer need, and also get a number of Safe Rooms which allow you stock up. These items can be stored in one of two inventory slots each player has available – so if you are working as a team it is best to discuss what people are going to be taking. As, a mix of throwables and boosters might be essential to that run.
All of these items are brought with Harvest from recycled arcade machines now called Havest-O-Matic’s, but of course spending harvest through the level, means less reward at the end of the runs. You might be asking; why is it important to have harvest at the end still? This is because any upgrades to your weapons you can do back at The Line also cost harvest, and you can also fabricate unlocked weapons here as well.
The weapon upgrades are important to prepare you for the taking on the Harvest Runs on higher difficulties, and you will see an increase in the amount of the Snowbreed, they will take more to kill and are also a lot more fast and aggressive – so those upgrades could save you or a squad members life.
This bring in some of the final little touches on the runs, these come in the form of floppy disks and ID Cards – which can be located in the levels. The ID cards unlock another room somewhere in the building that will give you a stock weapon, that isn’t your factory pistol. Then the floppy disks are used to unlock attachments for your weapons. These can either be carried through until the end, but have to placed into one of your inventory slots, or if you have a safe room before the end of the game, you can place them into the Harvest-O-Matic and it will unlock something as long as your run is successful.
Outside of the Harvest Runs, you now also get Mutators for the Harvest Runs that will unlock chipsets for you weapons to add new behaviors to the weapons. With this being the complete edition you also get Horde mode, which will see you with smaller space to work, taking on hordes of Snowbreed with the speed and aggression increasing each wave – completing more waves will reap better floppies/rewards at the end. Then the game also offers a PvP mode that can be played in team deathmatch or free-for-all, and should not be overlooked.
With the PlayStation VR 2 release/upgrade the team at Vertigo Games have updated all the visuals, to make sure that PSVR2 users are getting the best visuals on offer with the 4K HDR displays offered in the new hardware. Everything in After The Fall looks beautiful with HDR on the OLED displays, with the dark areas really feeling foreboding and that flash light being so important. For me the game has never looked so beautiful inside of the HMD.
The sound design gives off that cold feeling, with the breezes being heard throughout the destroyed buildings and outside. All the voice acting is delivered well, and does not distract from the game, which is something you can sometimes find. Then when taking on the hordes of Snowbreed you get some music to turn up the intensity of the fights, with the use of audio. All around making for a good use audio to set the feeling of the game.
With the frozen environments still giving you that feeling of awe, the Snowbreed still being just as freaky, and the use of the audio really makes you feel immersed in the world of After the Fall.
With the game coming from Vertigo Game’s, you play the game seated or standing with the flick of an option. The game also comes with a large number of comfort options, that you expect in VR games, to make them accessible to experienced and new VR users.
They have taken the approach you expect with a shooter in VR when it comes to the controls. Grips to grab your weapon, trigger to fire, and allowing for both left and right handed mode. However, the team have offered two reload systems, a basic and advanced. The basic follows the reloading system from Arizona Sunshine – eject the mag and bring it to your ammo pouch to reload. Advanced brings the manual reload and cocking system, with this mode also bring a boost in harvest for the player. Where this is also a personal choice for the player, it also offers newer VR users the easy reload to start with – again making it more accessible for any level of VR player.
However, the new inclusion of the PSVR2 Sense Controllers it brings a whole new level off immersion to the game, be it feeling every magazine release and rack slide being felt through the controllers impressive rumble. Add to this the trigger weighting matching with the weapons real-life counterpart using the fantastic adaptive triggers – and the gunplay immersion is complete.
The complete edition comes with the all nine Harvest Runs, all of which last around thirty to forty minutes to get though – depending on your squad and difficulty selected. However, in order to stop these becoming stale they do have random spawns, so and area where you might have had little Snowbreed resistance in one run, might turn into a massive fight the next time. It could be a run with only few larger Snowbreed, or sometimes you might find yourself taking on a number of these at a time.
Then taking into account the floppy disk, mutators and harvest upgrade system to make you more prepared for the next and harder runs, it has that feeling that will keep players wanting to return. Adding to this a weapon skins and character outfits system, with them all being locked behind set milestones or challenges, will have people working towards their favourite skins.
Meaning if the Harvest Run gameplay loop appeals to you, there is many reason to keep returning and taking on the Snowbreed. If not then you can take on Horde mode and still get floppies to unlock items, and then with the option of PvP multiplayer, means you can take a break from the Harvest Runs and still be having fun in the game.
REVIEWED USING PLAYSTATION VR 2
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.
After The Fall: Complete Edition on PlayStation VR 2 really does feel like the complete and best way to experience the game. With the amount content being available on launch, with every update over the life-span of the game being included, bringing nine Harvest Runs, Horde and PVP mode, as well as the new enemy types, weapons, mutator chipsets and character skins – giving you more reason to keep returning to the game. Add to this the features offered by the PSVR2 hardware from advanced rumble haptics, adaptive triggers and headset haptics allowing players to feel the the vibrations as the Smasher storms you and hits from the Snowbreed – and you get the most immersive experience available. With the servers still being populated since release it wont be hard to find a game, and adding Sony’s new headset to the cross-platform player base will only see this improve. If you are looking for a co-op game full of action like a Left 4 Dead VR with a RNG based system for unlocking upgrades then After The Fall is all you will need to scratch that itch.
Release Date: February 22nd 2023
Developer: Vertigo Games
Publisher: Vertigo Games
Price: US $29.99 / CA$ 39.99 / €29.99 / £24.99