Light, digestible (indie) game reviews.
I enjoy Left 4 Dead style games, but I will need some solid content updates, polish, and optimization before dumping more time into this.
*Based on updated Steam total play time.
Early Access Alert
Opinion is subject to change during Earthfall's development.
On paper, Earthfall reads like a Left 4 Dead inspired game packed with more things to do, such as objectives and fortification. In practice, Earthfall gameplay feels nearly identical to Left 4 Dead with a few differences. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when the Left 4 Dead series are among my favourite games. You have the glorious 4-player co-op formula with hordes of alien drones, special enemy types, and an arsenal of weapons available to take the aliens down. In addition, Earthfall incorporates many objectives requiring teamwork to complete. One chapter has your team rebuilding a vehicle to escape, including fetching new wheels, gas, and charging batteries, all the while offering the ability to barricade doorways and set up turrets - this portion of the game gives me Call of Duty: Zombies vibes.
However, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed when I realized many of the special alien types were eerily similar to their L4D counterparts. The Beast subs in for The Tank. The Thresher subs in for The Hunter. The Sapper subs in for The Boomer. The Whiplash is the only special alien type that somewhat stands out, and its closest L4D special infected is The Smoker: it can disable and hold you letting other enemies beat you to a bloody pulp while keeping you dangling there waiting for your friends to set you free. My hope is the developers are working on additional unique special aliens to help separate itself more from the standard Left 4 Dead tropes.
The alien sounds are lacking in the current Early Access version. Aliens are not very vocal and are difficult to detect by sound alone, half the time the only way you know one is behind you is from a hit marker. Improving the audio would tremendously improve my overall experience with Earthfall.
Optimization is also hit or miss, but I expect this from an Early Access game. Most betas are focused on graphic optimization and game stability, so I fully expect to see this get worked on over time. As of right now, there are instances frames risk dipping by half (from 60fps to 30fps), causing the game and gunplay to feel sluggish.
Having said all this, Earthfall isn't without its merits. The barricades and deployable turrets are fun mechanics. It can be fun fortifying a room, setting up a turret, and mowing down countless aliens. The online portion seems to run smoothly with drop in/out games working without a hitch and I didn't experience much network-lag either.
With some polish/optimization, tighter gunplay, improved audio, and more content, Earthfall can stand beside other 4-player co-op first person shooter games like Left 4 Dead and Vermintide. And if you are aching for a new co-op shooter and are tired of zombies or rats, then Earthfall may have just what you're looking for. Its low price for entry also helps.
Watch your butt out there!
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