This is a game I was not expecting much from. I wanted to play it mainly because of the looks. I really like it when games have low-end graphics because I figure the developers won't focus on the aesthetics of the game too much. Don´t get me wrong, graphics matter, and I love me some nice new generation games with amazing graphics. However, I have had the feeling that sometimes graphics are used as an excuse to produce a game, as the most important part of it. And in some of these cases, story and gameplay and other features can be neglected. Besides, I have a soft spot for this kind of classic-looking game, which I'm sure I'm not the only one. After the End: The Harvest is a great game, as far a story telling goes. If you enjoy story driven games that aren't necessarily linear, this might just do the trick for you, as it did for me.
This is a classic-looking game with an open world and many different ways to complete your objective. Or to not complete it and keep roaming the galaxy catching monsters and making them fight, that's also an option.
After the End: The Harvest is available on Steam since June 2nd for U.S $4.99
After the End: The Harvest begins with a lonely human drifting through space in his space-suit. We don't how we got there or what we were supposed to be doing. Our drifter is then picked up by a Space ship in which we wake up and find out the name of our hero: Onuel. When we wake up, there's a woman there, called Lanui, who will give you your first mission: put some clothes on. After that is completed then you'll be taken to the other inhabitant of that space ship, called Apollo. Apollo and Lanui start explaining something to you, about how you were found lost in space and how they need your help to stop the destruction of the universe, otherwise called "Harvest". Apollo is then interrupted in his speech and the ship is brought down to a planet in which you'll have to survive against animals and the elements. Eventually, you get back together with Lanui and Apollo and as it turns out, you were the defender of Earth, destined to fight off the titans of creations and protect the planet. Except you didn't make it on time, and now with the help of your rescuers, you will attempt to destroy the Titans.
There's a lot more to the story, like side quests and alternate missions. Even if I wanted to get more into the actual story, I couldn't, since I haven't finished the game yet. What's relevant to this review is point out that the game has a cool story that sets you up on an adventure. it justifies the actions of the hero and the need to get stronger and find better equipment since there are enemies that will be too strong for your level, but there are no restrictions as to -when- you can go and face them. What this means is that you can be exploring as a level 5 hero and encounter an enemy more suitable for a level 25. Nothing gets in your way, except other enemies, and then you find out that you are simply over your head and have to get back and level up until you are strong enough.
The gameplay can prove to be somewhat simple, but it's confusing nonetheless. This was one of the first problems I encountered, trying to figure out the controllers. This game doesn't have an incredible number of keys you need to use, or anything like that, but the way the keys are mapped is what makes it confusing.
Onuel will move around with the arrow keys, perform a primary attack with Z and a secondary (ranged or magical) with X. With the default setting, you can also perform the primary attack with W and the secondary with A (I still don't know why you need to keys for a single action). As for the menu, you'll need to press S to access the menu, and if you need to get out, you don't do it with ESC, but with X. As you can see, the controls can be a little confusing. And if you try to access the mapping then you'll find another problem. Pressing F1 but the mapping has labels named "button 1", "button 2", etc… instead of the actual keys you are using. I ended up just getting used to playing with the default settings, but I still can't wrap my head around the menu being in the middle of the keyboard. Furthermore, I sometimes try to walk up and press W by force of habit and hit something I didn't intend to.
As for the actual game, there are a lot of things to do. Even though your main mission could seem "urgent" you will have all the time in the world to explore and level up and catch monsters to make them fight other monsters in the arena. There's always something to do. Be it a side quest or grinding for a level you need, or trying to find the materials for something you need, you can always be doing something in After the End: The Harvest. Which is a classic RPG feature: Sure, we have this seemingly time pressing Main Quest for you, but by all means, go and pick up flowers for the town's old lady.
This is one of the big features of the game: They give you the chance to capture the monsters you encounter and train them, having them fighting alongside you, and leveling up just as you do and then using them to fight other monsters. The game claims to have over 100 beasts to capture, I have only captured a couple. The range of monster goes from earth looking monster (like a wolf/tiger hybrid) to something completely alien (like a beast that looks and behave like a giant water ball). Just this feature alone can have someone playing for dozens of hours. That is if they wish to beat the side quest that asks you to defeat all the other trainers.
Melee and distance attacks
Another thing I like of RPGs is the variety of weapons and attacks you can find. In After the End: The Harvest, you'll start with a sword called "defender's sword" and can change it for another or upgrade it with runes that modify speed or damage or whatnot. In addition to it, you can equip a firearm like a blaster pistol or if you prefer, you can also equip magic spells such as fire, although those will deplete your mana.
What's an RPG without potions? this game has them, of course. Life and mana potions that will come handy after or before facing an enemy. In this game, however, drinking potions will increase your toxins levels, so you can't abuse them and use dozens of potions at a time.
Graphics and audio
The subject of Graphics has been already covered in the Introduction, however, just as a reminder: this a classic-looking game. For those of you missing the original adventures of The Legend of Zelda and the like, this is your kind of game. As for the sound, I must say I really enjoy the music in this game. The ambient music is nice, it doesn't get in the way or distract you, and I can't say for sure, but I believe every single area I entered had a different musical theme, which I thought was a nice touch. We can't forget that the developers, Elushi are more focused on music than video games, and I think this game sends that message.
After the End: The Harvest is a game for players that enjoy getting really into the story and playing the part of the hero. It can also appeal to fans of the space opera genre since at some points I must admit the game reminded me of Cowboy Bebop. It has, at some points, that kind of atmosphere. If you enjoy RPGs in which you can roam completely free, without a care in the world until you are ready to face the Titans, by all means, give After the End: The Harvest a try.
You shouldn't forget that the controls will require some trial and error, but after several minutes of play, you should be all set. Truth be told, the confusing set up of the controllers is only an inconvenience at the very beginning of the game, while you are getting used to them.
|+ Great nonlinear story||– Confusing control mapping|
|+ Open World combined with RPG||– Screen flashes can get in the way of gameplay|
|+ Multiple ways to acquire levels or items|