Afterfall: InSanity Review
Ambition is probably the most notable trait of Afterfall: InSanity. The Polish, indie, third-person survival horror game wants to be huge affair. It wants to grab you and bury you in its story, thrill you with its close-range melee fights, build a world around you that can drive a franchise and make you question what’s real and what isn’t. Not all these things get accomplished, but for my experience with the game, I’ve found myself erring on the side of optimism. Afterfall could use more polish and and is at times a little undercooked, but it scores points for the effort.
Afterfall: InSanity: PC (Reviewed)
Developer: Intoxicate Studios
Publisher: Nikolas Games
Released: November 25, 2011
It’s the end of the world. Nuclear bombs have laid waste to the world in a scenario that would make Dr. Strangelove proud. In the interim, people have been living in underground vaults called Shelters, set up by the Polish government, since the disaster happened 20 or so years earlier, and life is boring. It’s also a little dangerous, since people locked up in these underground vaults without sunlight often suffer from a form of severe cabin fever known as Confinement Syndrome. That’s where our protagonist, psychiatrist and pharmacologist Dr. Albert Tokaj, comes in. He’s the resident shrink at Glory Shelter, and he’s having some issues of his own.
Almost immediately, weird stuff starts happening to Tokaj. He’s having bad dreams, falling asleep at work, and getting into trouble in general. He’s dispatched on a mission by his Shelter’s resident fascist leader to figure out why some people on the lower levels are acting strangely. Turns out the “behavior problems” being reported are actually “murderous zombie-like rages” and no one notified him ahead of time. Also there are mutants.
Welcome to Afterfall’s survival horror aspects. Tokaj moves quite a bit like Dead Space’s Isaac Clark, only he can make use of melee weapons and attacks as well as firearms (most of which aren’t available in the early portions of the game). Swings are wide and feel like they have a lot of weight behind them, but leave Tokaj open and vulnerable most of the time. He moves slowly and deliberately — there’s a sprinting option, but you trade a clear view of your surroundings for swaying, hazy panic, demonstrating that the sprint is really meant to feel more like fleeing than anything. Melee attacks and running are governed by a stamina bar that depletes to keep you from swinging away wildly.
Just about everything that’s long and blunt in Afterfall is a viable melee weapon, although the best seems to be the game’s signature fire ax. Melee weapons are available in abundance; ammunition, notably less so. For the most part, you’ll need a handy melee weapon that will allow you to block attacks and counter with some decapitation. The melee fighting is passable, but suffers from some setbacks — notably, that despite having stats similar to those of Dead Island, melee weapons all feel and handle pretty much the same. Once you have an ax, you basically can keep it for the duration, or find another one, as they’re basically everywhere.
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