Preview: After the Fall – Slick Arcade Zombie Shooting

For those after a zombie-themed first-person shooter (FPS) in virtual reality (VR) one of the most popular has to be Vertigo Games’ Arizona Sunshine which has found its way to numerous headsets over the past couple of years. Now the studio is looking to replicate that success with another FPS involving the undead, After the Fall which was revealed during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 last week.

Mankind has once again completely screwed things over, so in After the Fall society has collapsed due to the love of designer drugs, and of course, the environment has also suffered. So rather than a hot arid Arizona desert, you’re now in the remains of Los Angeles, completely covered in snow.

Vertigo Games really aren’t playing with the formula too much when it comes to gameplay, with After the Fall treading familiar ground as an all-out zombie shooter. It’s all about popping heads and collecting supplies, with the E3 demo offering a taste of the co-op by adding in a second player – the final version will allow up to four.

Unlike some VR FPS titles like Blood & Truth which seek to immerse players further through the use of interactive elements such as manual reloading of weapons, or backpacks with inventory slots, After the Fall has none of these. It feels very much like an arcade-style experience where you don’t need to worry about these real-world mechanics and purely enjoy the carnage.

This is fine if you want a no-brain shooter, or are in fact in a VR Arcade and want 30 minutes of intense battles. Home users, on the other hand, may find it a little shallow, and possibly not as immersive as other titles. Now, this may be counteracted by things such as the upgrade system (which wasn’t shown) as killing vast amounts of zombies means a great deal of loot to pick up. Touching on the VR interaction again, all of this loot can simply be grabbed magnetically from a distance which does tend to go against the grain of roomscale VR, where you can pick up everything with your hands.

When it came to weapons After the Fall had a mixture on show from pistols and SMG’s to a rather nifty little rocket launcher. Upgrades could be added on the fly to tweak them mid-game but on average they were the usual affair. The wrist-mounted rocket launcher provided the only novel gameplay change, able to lock-on to five zombies at a time when the hordes get a little too much.

After the Fall’s most striking feature at this was most certainly its visuals. These offer a much richer (and prettier) environment to explore, with the decrepit snow filled buildings evoking a proper nuclear winter feel – similar to the outdoor scenes in the Metro series.

Having only been revealed a week ago Vertigo Games has some way to go until After the Fall is finished. In its current form After the Fall is a nice generic shooter that would be home on VR as well as non-VR systems. The gameplay is slick, fast and in your face, which tends to mean a certain nuance is missing. Snow zombies are all well and good but there needs to be more, Vertigo Games has the talent, hopefully, it can deliver.

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