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Not So MMO: Earthfall Review - It Has Its Ups & Downs

By David Holmes on July 20, 2018 | Columns | Comments

Earthfall Review - It Has Its Ups & Downs

Earthfall has been in early access for a while now and has finally had a full release on Steam recently. It has aliens, guns aplenty and various things that go boom. But can Holospark make it more than what it appears to be at first glance? Left 4 Dead with Aliens? Let’s find out. Here is our Earthfall review.

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It is hard to look at Earthfall gameplay and not see all the uncanny resemblance it has to the Left 4 Dead series. You have four random people put together running through a scarred landscape fighting hordes of aliens to try to get to the end of the level, all while solving little problems like a generator with no gas along the way. You have various weapons you can pick up at certain points, like a shotgun that help ease the fight against the plethora of enemies. You have to be ever watchful for special Aliens with special moves. With an end level action that has the hordes rushing to you as you defend yourself and your teammates until you can escape.... it all sounds familiar doesn’t it? Let’s talk about what Earthfall tries to do to set itself apart.

First you have the Aliens. The general ones are easy enough to destroy, shot the glowy bit in the head to take them down. But you have a few variants amongst the rank and file that have armor or throw acid at you. Than you add the special enemies. For the most part no matter what their in-game name may be, it’s hard not thinking of them as the special zombies in the Left 4 Dead series. I caught myself calling out BOOMER without thinking, yet my team instantly knew what I was talking about. While there were a couple special aliens that are unique to Earthfall, it’s hard not to see just how similar the others are to their zombie counterparts. Add to this how often hordes rushed at you and it could get frustrating. It seemed at times the horde rushed at your group more frequently then was the norm even on normal mode. Which could result in excessive use of ammo and downed players. This wasn’t a matter of skill but more a matter of is this horde rush really needed now since nothing was done to trigger it?

The overall gunplay in Earthfall feels solid enough. Guns hit were you aim them, but there is the added deficit of friendly fire being on. It can make for some tough situations and easy griefing/trolling. The weapons themselves are decent but could use a rebalance on several of them. The basic infinite ammo pistol was solid and felt fun when you had two of them to go guns blazing. Replace that with what was basically a desert eagle and you could be underwhelmed. For a pistol that shots slower and has less shots, it should be dealing more damage; but it felt like it was doing less. There are a few odd choices in the game in regards to the weapons. It felt smarter to use the SMG over the AK because they both seemed to do the same damage, yet the SMG had more ammo. You could also opt for losing your pistol and using a melee weapon instead, but it felt like it did more damage to party members than aliens.

While Earthfall now has two solid campaigns with multiple levels to get through, something felt off. While the level design was good and everything looked great, the story that was trying to be told as you traversed that level felt uninspiring. It’s hard not to compare Earthfall to the Left 4 Dead series since it takes so much from it. I remembered feeling like a story was unfolding in most levels and that the characters helped to tell that story. In Earthfall the effect isn’t there, it simply feels like I’m going from marker to marker shooting things to get to the end.

While all this is said, it has to also be said Earthfall can be fun. It’s definitely a game that you want to play with friends preferably, but it’s easy enough to play with some randoms online. The bots should generally be avoided, they aren’t that great. But while dipping into the pool that is unknown, you will find trolls here and there. Overall Earthfall has its ups and downs, but it is a solid game to play with friends. Unfortunately, it is too similar to the Left 4 Dead series without doing anything new or innovating.


SCORE: 6.5


Pros

  • Can be fun with friends
  • Decent gunplay with a good choice of guns
  • Flamethrower
  • Decent variety of levels

Cons

  • Too similar to the Left 4 Dead series without doing anything different
  • Several of the weapons need to be rebalanced
  • Too easy for people to grief/troll with few ways to kick
  • Uninspiring characters and story
  • Music was ok
  • Hordes rushed too often even at a lower difficulty setting