I wasn’t sure what to expect when starting up The Fall Part 2: Unbound. The main reason being missing out on the first instalment. Luckily, the game recaps the events of the first game as you start. You play as an A.I., Arid, that has become sentient, deciding to protect herself on a journey of self-discovery.
Firstly, the game is visually brilliant. With a unique art style, it brings the side scrollers a well-deserved update. The neon lit, dystopian future gives the game a charming and enticing entry point to build its story. Whilst overly saturated in media today, it still makes for a charming and enticing world to want to know more about.
Upon starting the game, it offers a choice – ‘standard’ or ‘minimal’. Standard is described as the default experience with standard combat and minimal to have less for the story/puzzle centered players out there. I chose standard, naturally. This was a futile gesture. The combat I experienced in the game was about as challenging as selecting the standard experience in the menu was. The first enemies you’re introduced to are clouds with some form of ooze tentacles that slowly shoot gas at you… yeah. The gun Arid is equipped with is charged by energy, meaning not shooting for two seconds gives her a full clip in case you somehow managed to miss. Missing the enemy became trickier than not, with a lock on function that puts Robocop to shame, Arid will twist her arms in all sorts of unholy manners, ensuring a bullseye. These enemies will shoot their ‘gas clouds’ to slowly float towards Arid and in doing so become vulnerable to her infinite clip and die with about three hits. Jokes aside, it was just a poor introduction to the combat system within the game as it will get more challenging as the game progresses, even with the lacklustre combat.
What the game lacks in combat, it makes up for in story. From the recap of the first game to the first puzzle, you are invested in the fate of Arid, and deep within the world that the developers have created. This combines the puzzles with a sense of detective, giving a rich history of the world and lore at the players own volition. The gameplay is focussed on the puzzles and story to immerse players.
The game takes a no-nonsense approach to its gameplay style. You’re on your own from the first puzzle. That being said, you hack into a house through the robotic butler on site and whilst you can control him, you are unable to stop him from breaking his loop. And so, as a player you must work out how to convince the butler to perform various tasks to your benefit. At first, I’ll admit it was somewhat stressful and repetitive. It was around what felt like my 20th cycle of the butler’s routine that a friend suggested looking up a tutorial. It was the offer of having the answer that only made me more determined to solve the puzzle. I think that the game benefits from not revealing too much or holding the player’s hand. It gives you, the player, a sense of pride and accomplishment upon solving it. Whilst this may scare off a large group of players, it will also pull in those who enjoy it most.
Overall the game is essentially an interactive story. If you enjoy action, this game is not for you. This game is more for the passive yet invested gamer. You may not play games much, but you enjoy sitting down and investing yourself in a game’s world, character and story opposed to fast paced online action, for example. The game would probably benefit from the removal of combat altogether and investment in more interesting game mechanics that would lend itself to the style and story of the game. All being said, this game is not my personal cup of tea, however I see the corner of players it is developed for and appreciate the goals of the developer.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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