After the Fall Review: Refined Multiplayer Zombies (Oculus Quest)

After the Fall is an excellent shooter that takes after Left 4 Dead, bringing the successful formula into VR. Vertigo games creates an immersive, creative setting with an apocalyptic Los Angeles. Thanks to the game's progression system, polish, and dynamic level design, players will have a reason to keep coming back to this title.

After the Fall Review: Refined Multiplayer Zombies (Oculus Quest)

Ever have a desire to play the classic Left 4 Dead formula in VR? After the Fall does a strong take on the zombie genre, simply bringing high production value to both the Oculus Quest and PCVR platforms. After the Fall doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel; with steady content updates and new modes, the game pulls players back into the apocalyptic world. Vertigo Games shows that they are the master of the zombie genre in the 4D realm, refining their work from their classic title, Arizona Sunshine.

After the Fall is sold for $29.99 on Meta and PCVR platforms.

After the Fall - Official Cinematic Trailer

Story: The Apocalyptic 80s

Vertigo Games has established an interesting post-apocalyptic world with unique characters. The change is refreshing compared to the monologue driven Arizona sunshine, showing their growth in story telling and setting design.

After the Fall is set in a post-apocalyptic version of LA, spanning several large staged levels, similar to Left 4 Dead. The game revolves around ‘harvest runs’, where you collect resources from fallen enemies. Aside from their story purpose, harvest is a resource that you’ll use to upgrade your weapons alongside unlocks you’ll find throughout the game.

The game is set in the year 2000, a decade after the collapse of civilization. As a result, the game has a unique aesthetic: retro 80s apocalypse. The cause is the sudden insurgence of fast, zombie-like creatures called the ‘snowbreed’. The blizzard ridden and ruined 80s city of angels is a visually interesting treat to the eyes on the PCVR platform, and looks well enough on mobile VR platforms.

After you survive the tutorial mission, a survivor named Frank will shuttle you off to the remnants of civilization. Immediately players will notice that care has been put into both the voice acting and writing. Eventually, players will end up at ‘The Line’, a hub where you can see other players and start your missions using arcade machines. After talking to the matriarch of the survivors, Luna, players will embark on a journey through five main levels for the campaign, and an additional two due to the game’s expansion.

Atmospheric Apartments

Atmospheric Apartments

Game Flow

Each level is divided into two or three sections, marked by ‘rest rooms’ where you can turn in floppy disks, buy supplies, and restock on ammo. This, along with the 4-player/1 player + 3 bots gameplay, is heavily inspired by the Left 4 Dead series. The formula works well in VR, and is a unique offering for the medium.

The first level is a snow-bound arcade and apartment building that has been infested by monsters. Storytelling here mostly takes the form of the co-op bots commenting on the surroundings and enemies, as well as a bit of dialogue from the matriarch between levels.

Additional levels include: a sprawling series of ruined buildings in LA’s Chinatown, a derelict hospital, a towering skyscraper, and the historic Hollywood boulevard. Each level is substantially different from each other. Additionally, each of the four difficulties change play style as well. Want something more casual? As an endgame player, it’s still worth grinding on lower difficulties for floppy disks/upgrade chips that you want. Nightmare difficulty will push players to their limit of careful gameplay and teamwork. As a result, there are potentially hundreds of hours to sink into this title, if you enjoy the solid gameplay.

One of the many level checkpoints.

One of the many level checkpoints.

Gameplay: Heart Pounding Zombie Action

The linear Left 4 Dead style levels are not the only game mode available in After the Fall. The game also boasts a fun, Team Deathmatch style mode, as well as an endless horde mode.
The endless horde mode has two locations, both are challenging 360 style levels that will force you to plan ahead and pay close attention to the screams of the zombies (to determine where they are coming from).

Zombies move erratically, and in great hordes. Very similar to the Left 4 Dead hordes, players will want to keep firing their weapons non-stop, and with accuracy. Not planning ahead and shooting the hordes when they are too close will spell an early demise for the player. The little room for error, especially on the later two difficulties, enhances the tension players feel as they wind their way through the levels.

Zombies also spawn in different locations on the various maps, changing how each level feels during playthroughs.

Guns feel satisfying to shoot, and have cool, retro-futuristic designs that are appropriate for the setting. There are only nine weapons to unlock in the game, but Vertigo Games has taken a quality of quantity approach. Players will start out with the service pistol, reminiscent of an M9. Ammunition for this weapon is bountiful throughout the various levels.

Top-Notch Gunplay and Customization

Players will eventually unlock the Arizona Falcon (reminiscent of a desert eagle), a light machine gun, two different assault rifles, a tommy gun, submachine guns, a shotgun, and my personal favorite, the revolver. All of these weapons stay relevant throughout players playthroughs, each housing tributes that cater to a different situation. Want to take down the boss mobs as fast as possible? Utilize the revolver, as it has a special damage boost against special zombies. Crowd control? Try out the light machine gun, it won’t let you down. Want accuracy at a medium range? Try either the carbine or the MT-47 for those engagements.

Guns also can sport a variety of attachments. Players can adorn weapons with silencers, better grips, stocks, sights, and magazines from floppies they find throughout the levels they traverse. These upgrades are essential for completing later difficulties, so the game requires some grinding of previously cleared stages. The attachments are satisfying, and great for taking down the variety of enemies present in the title.

A hulking danger.

A hulking danger.

Diverse and Creative Enemies

The zombies themselves come in several different types, and more have been added in updates well after release. Each of them inspire dread in the unprepared player, and are great showcases of what action horror in VR can do. The Juggernaut will charge towards enemies with great mass and anger. You’ll want to locate this one immediately and try to take it down with high damage rounds, while letting your teammates or AI take care of crowd control. The eater is a puss-filled grotesque horror that will explode and obscure vision, fatal in crowd scenarios. The brute is an intimidating smaller yet faster Juggernaut that can cause serious damage.

The end of each level will have the players face off against the boss, the “Smasher”. These come in varying difficulties depending on the level and difficulty of the level, but are essentially a multistage fight that will challenge accuracy and survivability. Fungus covers a hulking mammoth of a titan, requiring you to clear the ice and growths to complete the level.

One downside is that there is not a lot of variety in the boss enemies, as players will always fight a Smasher enemy at the end.

Shooting mechanics are tight and satisfying. Zombies explode into chunky viscera on PCVR, as well as respond satisfyingly enough on mobile VR platforms. After the fall also happens to be crossplay across platforms, bolstering the player count. This is necessary for multiplayers titles in VR.

No glory without guts.

No glory without guts.

Graphics and Sound: Polished and Optimized

There is a marked difference between the PCVR platform and Mobile platforms. Still, After the Fall looks good in comparison to other titles, and it is clear that Vertigo Games have improved their skills in animation, sound design, and modeling since Arizona Sunshine.

The 360 sound is particularly great, as players will need to be attentive to the screams and howls of the undead. If hearing zombies from out of sight, I found I could accurately gauge the distance and direction of the creatures. The attention to detail bolsters the immersion factor of the game.

On PCVR, players will also be able to see a flashlight beam, which has been omitted from the Quest version, for performance reasons. There is a large visual disparity between the two platforms, but no gameplay differences — game sessions are both cross buy and cross platform. The great cohesion to the visuals puts the players into the unique setting. Levels are lovingly crafted and are truly atmospheric. Vertigo Games has brought their A game to the presentation value of the title.

After the Fall was reviewed on Oculus Quest and PCVR.

After the Fall performs well in the gameplay department. The guns feel great, enemies are terrifying and diverse, and the 80s Apocalyptic setting of a frozen Los Angeles feels amazing to play around in. Vertigo Games has innovated on their already successful mechanics from Arizona Sunshine, taking a page from Left 4 Dead, while raising all aspects of production quality. Grinding in After the Fall is fun and worthwhile, and the multiplayer aspect works well in VR.
  • Engaging Level Design
  • Great Upgrade System
  • Great Gun feel
  • Limited amount of levels
  • Companion AI struggles on higher difficulties

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