When I reviewed After The Fall late last year I said I liked the game, I just needed to see much more of it.
Vertigo’s set of zombie shooting assault courses had the fundamentals in place for some solid action, and the fantastic cross-play support meant it was easy to join the grind with friends. It just didn’t have nearly enough content, especially when you stacked it up next to the slew of other, more traditional Left 4 Dead-likes that released in the same window like Back 4 Blood or even Aliens: Fireteam Elite.
But the game’s first season of content, Frontrunner, is an important first step in rectifying that issue.
Chances are you’ve already been enjoying some of what Frontrunner has to offer. The free season started rolling out its first big updates a few weeks back with the introduction of a Vertigo staple in the cooperative Horde Mode. But the next big drops aren’t far behind, and I recently had the chance to try the new Hollywood Boulevard Harvest Run and another weapon, the Light Machine Gun, as well as encounter the game’s new enemy type.
If you’ve already fought your way through the game’s existing five Harvest Runs, then you’ll probably know what to expect from the Boulevard map. It’s not dramatically different from what’s come before, save for a few setpiece highlights like a boss fight inside a theater. It’s definitely great to have an extra run to add to the lean launch offerings but it’d be great to see future maps lean into some new objective types and gameplay opportunities.
It’s the new gun and enemy type that spike up some intrigue. The latter is known as the The Skimmer, and you can think of it as similar to Space Invader’s zippy flying saucers that spit out bonus points (or, in this case, extra Harvest) if you snag them. True, they don’t augment the sense of threat in any way, but spotting them through the scrambling hordes and trying to raise your gun above the masses to get in a lucky shot before they scurry away adds just a small touch of the variety I’ve been looking for in these levels.
The LMG, meanwhile, is a welcome counter-point to my previous complaint that all of the game’s weapons felt far too light to the touch. Whilst still not approaching the weight or handling of something like Boneworks, it’s a stocky, chunky hunk of scrap that packs a punch, and you can feel it cutting through the crowds before you fumble a reload.
Frontrunner is an encouraging sign of what’s to come for After The Fall, then, but there’s still some ways to go. Alongside additional content I’m hoping to see more enemy and weapon additions that continue to change up what’s already there, not to mention some objective variety to make repeated runs a more dynamic experience.
Work on Frontrunner was no doubt well underway when After The Fall launched, so I’m hopeful that future seasons are going to offer those crucial puzzle pieces. As it stands this is still an accessible and instantly enjoyable VR shooter, but with a few key additions it could be much, much more.
After The Fall’s Frontrunner season is already rolling out on PC VR, PSVR and Quest 2, with the content in this preview set to arrive in March.