Shooters are a dime a dozen in VR, ranging from hyper-realistic gunplay to more zany sci-fi options. I often find VR can be too grounded in this reality. Breaking immersion by prioritizing literal representation over fun always cheapens the experience. Thankfully, After The Fall excels at visceral interaction without lifting the veil. This helps to deliver an extremely satisfying power fantasy in the frigid ruins of Los Angeles.
“Unloading into a hulking zombie’s skull as it lifts and chokes you is adrenaline-inducing.”
Reloading is simple and clean. Drop the magazine with a button press, grab from the pouch on your chest, insert, then cock back. You can perform this action with a gun in each hand, providing a smooth dual wield experience. The game even features a simplified reload option to avoid a potentially steep learning curve. Two-handed weapons feel fantastic, whether you’re pumping a shotgun or spraying with a rifle. Scopes work very well, with some providing a reticle that assists with aiming.
You, of course, use guns to drop hordes of the undead colloquially referred to as Snowbreed. These frosty ghouls come in many varieties, stalking decrepit buildings or climbing snowy banks to freeze you solid. Unloading into a hulking zombie’s skull as it lifts and chokes you is adrenaline-inducing, putting the pressure on your squad. Knowing when to fall back from a bloated exploder or draw a smasher’s attention can save you from failed runs. Healing items, pipe bombs, and wrist rockets add additional tactics that put extra emphasis on teamwork and communication.
“You do this at an arcade cabinet using a tethered lightgun, perfectly selling the 80s themes of this post-apocalyptic wasteland.“
The movement also feels great in After The Fall, with several optional settings for all preferences. For myself, locomotion was a bit much during longer sessions. However, I had no issues with teleportation which I found equally satisfying. With both options, I experienced few, if any, problems while traversing the map. The level design is open yet concise, clearly leading to each objective while encouraging you to search for hidden loot. Recalling the layout of a level after a few runs was exceptionally easy and helped in subsequent play-throughs. Currently, there are only five maps, but the replay value should keep things fresh until more levels are released.
Every kill nets you Harvest, a currency used for purchasing weapons, upgrades, and items. Weapons are modified in the hub, but items can be purchased by reaching the safe houses scattered within each level. You do this at an arcade cabinet using a tethered lightgun, perfectly selling the 80s themes of this post-apocalyptic wasteland. You forage ammo from generously placed chests by poking around random drawers or keeping an eye out for padlocks. You’ll want to scavenge as much as you can, as this is how you earn new weapons for future runs. Playing harder difficulties multiplies Harvest you earn, though Nightmare mode gambles your loadout for this return.
“Simply put, if you own or plan to purchase a VR headset, you will want to grab a copy of After The Fall.“
The graphics and cinematics are nothing to sneeze at either. While I have not delved much into the lore, After The Fall does a great job of keeping you engaged. This reinforces the fantasy, truly putting you in the middle of the glorious action.
Matchmaking is also phenomenal, especially for a VR title. Finding a group of four is usually very easy and quick. If someone does go inactive or gets kicked, they will be swiftly replaced by a competent enough bot, unlike its non-VR equivalent. At the end of a run, your team will see everyone’s individual stats, such as damage, accuracy, and headshots.
Simply put, if you own or plan to purchase a VR headset, you will want to grab a copy of After The Fall. Few games can compete with its quality, while also providing a top-tier multiplayer experience. With cross-platform capabilities severing borders, After The Fall could be on its way to becoming one of the largest VR communities to date. I enjoyed the game on both HTC Vive Pro and Valve Index, but you can join other runners from META Quest 2 and Playstation VR with complete cross-platform capability.
After The Fall was released earlier this month and pulled in over US$1.4 million in its first 24 hours; eclipsing the first month’s sales of their previous game, Arizona Sunshine. Vertigo Games is undoubtedly doing zombie survival right. If you aren’t sold on VR yet, After The Fall just might be the game to make you a believer.