After the Fall review for PlayStation VR2

Platform: PlayStation VR2
Also On: Meta Quest 2, PS VR, Steam VR
Publisher: Vertigo Games
Developer: Vertigo Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

After the Fall is a game that isn?t exactly out to break new ground. To call it VR Left for Dead would not be too far off the mark. Four players choose their character and set off into a post-apocalyptic wasteland where hoards of the undead will come for you as you scavenge and shoot your way to your next saferoom. Occasional mini-boss encounters and a final boss at the end of the fourth world segment punctuate your time with the mindless hordes, and your goal is to gather as much as possible to take back into the hub world with you to make your next run just a little bit easier.

This is not a knock against After the Fall. In fact, it is the opposite. I love the enhancements and adjustments to the tried and true formula that VR brings to the table and PS VR2 in particular. Anyone who has played VR knows that the tension is ratcheted up several notches when playing horror-type games and After the Fall is no exception. Hitting a button to reload your gun while zombies rush you is one thing, but having to drop your magazine manually, reach into your ammo pouch for a new one and slap it into the mag well, then either releasing the slide if you were out or just return to shooting if you weren?t, all while life-size zombies are rushing and crowding into your face and your headset is shaking from the haptic feedback of them smacking at you is a whole new level of stress. It serves to ground the experience in a way that no game outside of VR can ever really do.

The main game is made up of those runs, as you seek ?Harvest? which is the currency you use in After the Fall. This currency allows you to upgrade your gear and weapons, which in turn allows you to more effectively clear runs on higher and higher levels. These upgrades stick with you throughout the entire game, so everything feels cumulative, which is fantastic. Once you are far enough into the game, you can comfortably take on their version of a horde mode. This has you again teaming up with up to 3 additional players and choosing a map to make your stand on. Once there, you have a limited amount of space to defend from increasingly difficult waves of enemies. With checkpoints along the way allowing you to either try and progress further and risk your loot, or cash out with what you have, this is where a lot of the end-game time and fun will be found.

As far as weapons go, I found myself incredibly impressed by the level of care and detail that went into each one, and that admiration was only heightened by the haptic feedback in the PS VR2 controllers. Each weapon feels drastically different, both in how the fire and the reload feedback. I had fun with each and every weapon, and they are all useful. Nothing feels like an afterthought or like it can?t keep up with the others. Each will have its own pros and cons, but overall the balance is really great.

Visually, After the Fall is fantastic. The frozen wasteland and zombies alike are wonderfully designed, and the environment has a surprising amount of interactivity to it. From environmental kills to just interactive items and lockers, nothing feels quite like meaningless ?background? which you find in a lot of visually intense VR games. This furthers the feel of a real, lived-in world and makes After the Fall even more engrossing.

The highlight here is playing with friends. Sure, you can play online with random people in the lobbies, and the proximity voice feature works as expected, but getting a group of friends together and playing all together in VR is an experience that I don?t think I will ever get tired of. ?Seeing? each other is so much fun, and the level of expression you are able to convey to one another with body language in addition to verbal communication is, again, another level of immersion.

After the Fall plays great on the PS5, I have no complaints about the performance or visuals at all. It is thoroughly engaging, addicting, and a blast to play from start to finish. And ?finish? isn?t even the right word, as the horde mode and additional difficulties available make this a game you could potentially stick with forever. With an incredibly strong line-up of launch titles on the PS VR2, After the Fall earns itself a spot in your library.

Vertigo Games provided us with an After the Fall PS VR2 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+