Until You Fall Review

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Ever since the hugely unexpected, but well deserved success of Dark Souls way back in 2011, games that market themselves on the fact that they will kick your behind (a lot) have gathered huge fan bases all over the world. With this thought in mind it seemed only a matter of time before someone unveiled a game that simply gave you the chance to fight Until You Fall.  And that’s what we have right here in the shape of Until You Fall, developed by Schell Games, the people who brought us the highly acclaimed I Expect You To Die.

As I said in my intro, the premise of Until You Fall is fiendishly simple; this is an arcade inspired hack and slash adventure with the endless replayability of a dungeon crawler thrown into the mix.  In Until You Fall you fight, die, respawn, upgrade and fight again. Wash and repeat ad infinitum.  As this is a PSVR offering, you’ll be using both of your motion controllers as swords and shields and can either choose to walk around the virtual world or teleport. Coincidentally, Schell Games chose to give players the option to play Until You Fall standing or while sitting down. An inexplicable decision that brought a smile to my face.  The fact that you’ll be spending most of your time swinging your sword, dagger or mace and, with the other hand blocking with your shield as you duck and weave, would make the game only harder to play while sitting.  I, however, am happy to be corrected on this point.

Despite my earlier reference to Dark Souls, Until You Fall is just slightly more forgiving.  When in combat you’ll be given a quick sword graphic that will tell you which direction a blow is coming from and how to hold your controller to block it.  This is essential as, while you progress through Until You Fall, you’ll often find yourself being ganged up against by several enemies at a time.  Speaking of progression, Until You Fall sees you wading a blood soaked path through several tiers of enemies.  Initially they start off as zombie-like fiends that are no more than target practice for your sword.  Eventually you’ll progress through to huge, hulking great demons with shields the size of a car and then, in the last levels you’ll be facing off against fast and powerful demon knights and wraiths.  All in all, each tier has around ten areas to fight through and many of them have anywhere between four to eight different types of enemies.

Should you survive the wave of enemies, you’ll be rewarded with a boss battle which will test every skill and ability you’ve learnt along the way.  After the boss battle – and that’s assuming you’re still standing – you’ll be able to upgrade your weapons and abilities or even hoard some cash (in the game it’s called Aether) for buying future upgrades.

Graphically, Until You Fall is nothing short of a visual feast.  Each tier has its own distinctive colour palette – from green all the way to the ominous crimson of the last tier.  Enemies are incredibly well detailed and each is instantly recognisable at a distance.  And, despite the PSVR’s humble processing power, Until You Fall plays smoothly without any noticeable drop in frame rate, no matter how many enemies are on screen at a time.

Oh, and the fact that each enemy has its own unique fighting style means you’ll always have an idea of what to expect at every encounter.  Knowing what to expect and beating the challenge, however, are two totally different things. Until You Fall will beat you so bad that your name will bleed.  Nope, there’s no avoiding the fact that you will die a lot in Until You Fall.  But each time you respawn you’ll have the chance to try out new strategies and tactics.  The emphasis of Until You Fall is to fight hard, fast and smart. That is Until You Fall.   It’s worth noting that Until You Fall gives you the option to choose your difficulty level and weapon types to suit your fighting style.  And if you master the game’s hardest settings you’ll unlock a fourth difficulty level.  Sadly, I’m yet to test this level out as Until You Fall is so damned tough.

Schell Games have also managed to integrate positional audio into the game which does a great job of immersing you in the combat.  With a good set of headphones on, you’ll be able to hear enemies coming at you from different directions well before you seen them. A huge bonus when facing off against multiple fiends.  Until You Fall also boasts an exhilarating synth wave soundtrack that pumps throughout the game as you hack and slash, thrust and parry your way to the exit of each tier.  Excellent.

If I had any quibbles with the game its with the very noticeable absence of a leader board of sorts.  Some way of tracking your performance against your mates, checking who cleared a level the fastest and got the best scores would have been the icing on a blood drenched cake.  This is something we hope the developers will consider in future patches.

This minor gripe aside, it has to be said that for anyone familiar with visceral combat games, Until You Fall is a no brainer.  For gamers new to the genre, there can be no better introduction.  Highly recommended.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to press@4gn.co.uk.

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Until You Fall Review
  • Gameplay - 8/10
  • Graphics - 8/10
  • Sound - 8/10
  • Replay Value - 8/10
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It has to be said that for anyone familiar with visceral combat games, Until You Fall is a no brainer.  For gamers new to the genre, there can be no better introduction.

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