Over The Moon (studio)
14 February 2018 (released)
17 February 2018
I’ve been secretly holding my breath for the last four years (well okay, not literally) since the end of The Fall back in 2014. This little indie title became a smash hit and won the hearts and minds of many gamers. The Fall was a dark, complex and gripping tale of Arid, an AI control pilot suit with the mission to secure the individual within the suit. The journey turned vastly complicated and certain aspects of morale and self-awareness came to light for Arid, who at the end was dismantled and taken away.
After four long years, we finally get to see the next chapter. Was it worth the wait?
The journey this time round is much darker in tone and has heavier doses of action in comparison to the first game. Unbound is more aggressive but still retains many of the elements that made the first game so appealing. The story is by far one of the more compelling aspects at play, with a gripping plot revolving around Arid’s survival. There’s plenty of interesting themes to disgust along with some great character development accompanied by excellent voice work. The plot never gets dull and until the very end will keep you invested for the long-haul.
The story see’s Arid trapped within the system’s mainframe and it’s up to her skills of infiltration to hide inside the minds of three distinct AI counterparts and persuade them to help Arid find her original pilot. This won't be an easy task as Arid will have to deal with their stubborn behaviours, complete various tasks to out smart them, earn their trust and even break them. Along with this, Arid will have to fight off the corruption that's leaking inside her mind and the mainframe, a force that corroding everything in it's path and the end for all AI.
The main bulk of the game sees Arid explore the inner construct of the mainframe, exploring various points of interest and accessing entry points that allow her to enter the minds of the three AI counterparts. These three robotic individuals are quirky, odd ball type characters with a hard working yet pompous servant droid, a warrior classic Mech that believes he is unique with his love of fine art and classical music along with an escort droid that sees the world in the happiest of manners. These are interesting characters, the worlds they inhabit are just so and the situations are even better.
What is at the heart of the Fall is an enthralling puzzle game, one that incorporates elements of deduction, item management and investigation. It can be busy work and at times, there’s a similar stance of putting things together until they fit. This was an issue with the original game where at the times, the objective was unclear or the path was never specified. There is the same issue here from time to time, but often enough there are visual or verbal clues that’ll help guide you in the right direction. Plus the lateral elements and situations are much more interesting. Having to overcome a servant’s daily routine and break it in order to access other areas of a stately home is a perplexing challenge.
There are plenty of challenges ahead, some will certainly test Arid’s sense of compassion and reveal a darker, more sinister nature to her. The tasks at hand will often be self-centred and until a certain moment in the story pushes Arid to change her ways and repair the damage she has done. There are a various host of objectives to complete, many require thought and intelligence, while other require brute force. There’s a healthy mix of the two and the action is a nice way to break up the flow. While the combat is simple, what holds this sequel back is the clunky and restrictive controls, making simple exploration and interaction a chore at times. The Fall was difficult to control and while there are plenty of new additions and improvements, the controls remain largely stilted.
Still, this is an aspect of the game which can largely be ignored after a couple of hours of getting to grips with the game. The Fall Part 2 is wonderfully executed, from its cinematic style of storytelling, to the variation of gameplay styles that incorporate problem solving to melee combat. This sequel build upon the original game's framework and expands it to present a grander more confident experience with a great story and wonderful blend of gameplay styles. It is a shame that not all the lateral aspects could be more refine, along with the controls and the dated visuals. But this is still a fantastic sequel and one that should definitely be checked out.
++ Compelling story
+ Great blend of different gameplay styles
+ Interesting Lateral and action elements
- Clunky controls
- Dated visuals
A Steam key of The Fall: Part 2 - Unbound was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review