Earthfall comes to Xbox One and PS4
After spending some time in Early Access on PC, Earthfall has launched and is now available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Developed by Seattle based developer Holospark, Earthfall is a sci-fi themed co-op based first-person horde shooter where you must defend the Earth from an alien invasion in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
With up to four players, you’ll have to work with your team to complete mission based objectives, fortify holdouts, and fight back the alien invasion. If you have ever played Valve’s Left 4 Dead series of games, you’ll undoubtedly see where Earthfall gets its inspiration from.
Fight back against an alien invasion
Earthfall takes place in the not too distant future where the Earth is under attack from an alien invasion. Your battle rages across 10 different missions in the Pacific Northwest of the United States where you and your squad attempt to eliminate the alien threat.
Missions can be played in virtually any order and each tell their story. I have to admit, at first I wasn’t to fond of this. Though the more I played, I realized that this non-linear way of telling the overall story was done to give the player freedom.
I had control of how the story unfolded, in whatever fashion I seemed fit. If I got stuck on a particular mission, I knew I could take a break from it and play another mission and not miss a beat. All 10 missions come together to tell a greater story.
Earthfall is a team-based first-person shooter, which is best played with friends. You and three other friends, or AI controlled characters, battle swarms of aliens. Taking out the aliens and ridding the world of them won’t be an easy task.
You have a wide assortment of shotguns, handguns, assault rifles, automated turrets, and grenades to get the job done. You’ll even be able to 3D print your own weapons with 3D printers located in various locations in the game. These printers will need to be powered up through a series of events. Strangely, the weapons from these 3D printers are no more powerful or different than what you can find laying around in the game. It would have been cool if you were able to use these 3D printers to make weapons that had unique abilities.
In order to be successful on each mission, you will have a set of objectives that you must complete. Objectives range from getting an abandoned van up and running, to getting a series of communication devices up and running—and everything else in between. Of course, all while swarms of aliens are attacking.
Enemies that are smarter than they appear
Enemy spawn locations change each time you play a level or die. This means, that you’ll need to be on your toes looking out for the alien invaders at all times. In addition, alien enemy AI dynamically adapts to the way you play.
If one of the members in your squad decides to go it alone without the group, the alien invaders will head straight for them. If you have a squad member who hasn’t seen much action and is allowing others to do all the work, the alien invaders will hone in on them. This dynamically adapting enemy AI means that you will need to use teamwork if you are going to be successful.
Speaking of aliens, Earthfall has a fair amount of unique enemies that you will encounter. One of my favourite enemy character designs is known as Blackout. This is a creature who is surrounded by an energy shield and posses 8 tentacles, which can move around at a lightning pace. These shields make him a formidable opponent and one that can be tough to take out.
Unreal 4 engine visuals with mixed results
Earthfall uses the Unreal 4 engine and provides a mixed bag of visuals. At times I was impressed with the creatures and lush Pacific Northwest environments on the screen. While, other times it looked as if I was playing a game from several years back.
Performance wise, Earthfall runs great. Sure it does have a few framerate dips here and there, but nothing to worry about. Voice acting is cheesy, which I found added to the overall appeal of the game.
Earthfall is game that I keep finding myself playing with friends time and time again. Although the story is average and the graphics are a mixed bag, it is fun to play with friends online. The difficulty at times can ramp up and as a result you’ll find yourself quickly outnumbered.
As a result, in some missions you will find yourself dying over and over. Unfortunately, there are not any checkpoints in the missions. That means, when you die, you’ll have to start over from the very beginning. I really liked how the developers incorporated random enemy spawn points and adaptive AI. It means that you’ll have to keep on toes at all times.
Just recently, Holospark announced that over the next three months the game will be receiving three free updates. These updates will include new weapons, new missions, new modes, and new cosmetic items. It is great to see the developer listening to feedback and incorporating it into the game.
In the end, Earthfall offers a solid experience at a value price, which you should definitely check out.
+ Easy to pick up and play
+ Able to play levels in any order you wish
+ Fast-paced action-packed gameplay
+ Fun to play with friends
– No checkpoints in missions
– Mixed bag of visuals
– Difficulty can ramp up unexpectedly at times
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5