While these games are now ten years removed from their first launch and co-op games have fallen a bit out of favor with the development of the conflict royale genre and more online-focused aggressive experiences, programmer Holosparks is trying to reignite that love of difficult, co-op-centric encounters with their forthcoming title, Earthfall.
Throughout PAX East 2018, we had the chance to check out a preview of Earthfall about the show floor (using the game currently available on PC via Steam Early accessibility), and to see what the coming shooter has to offer ahead of its entire PC launch and its impending introduction on PS4 along with Xbox One this spring.
The players, as a group of human survivors attempting to make their way through the Pacific Northwest to security, has to complete objectives and ward off waves of aliens by so required by weapons, obstacles, barricades, and more to prevent certain death and fend off the waves of alien invaders.
In the short time that we had with the game, the most noteworthy part of Earthfall is the fact that the game is chiefly attempting to be a spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead series, which’s easily apparent from across the board. In the four-player co-op staff into the construction of its assignments and objectives, and down to its alien enemy types, everything from Earthfall should feel quite familiar to fans of their beloved Left 4 Dead games, but with a bit more of a contemporary signature equaling today’s graphic criteria and capacities.
The game starts out with the objective of trying to get into the conclusion of each map, where the ultimate goal is to complete a goal unique and call in to an evac. Naturally, that goal becomes all the more difficult as many choke points and obstacles can dissuade the players along the way, while the inevitable hordes of drives will require that players become strategic of where and if they battle. That also ties into teamwork and the coordination that players might have to use to get out alive.
Earthfall at a great deal of ways felt like putting on a familiar pair of gloves or shoes, and it’s certainly the type of experience that I’m sure many who have been expecting for Left 4 Dead 3 to arrive (which it might never will) will surely love what it is offering. The 1 downside to the fact that Earthfall maybe pays a bit too much of a loving tribute to that which Left 4 Dead got right using co-op shot gameplay, there aren’t a ton of differentiating elements from this title to what inspired it. To some that might not always be a bad thing because it’s been a while since Left 4 Dead 2 introduced — at this point nearly ten years — but in different ways it seems like a missed chance for Earthfall to have made its mark and bring some unique flair into the notion of a co-op survival shot.
That said, there are a few components that Earthfall integrates to keep the experience just a bit fresher past that. Among the most notable features is various equipment and gear that players may use to aid against the waves of alien critters in their defenses. Throughout the environments, players can find and deploy equipment such as barricade walls, sentry turrets, along with other parts of equipment offering a few strategy for players seeking to bunker down while waves of alien hordes come by, which reminded me into some amount of these tower-defense-like components that Gears of War‘s Horde Mode offered.
While it’s small change compared to the overall gameplay that’s still more or less Left 4 Dead-like, the deployable gear added a finer level of strategy than just carrying out in a specific place against waves of alien hordes. In one instance during our demo, 1 player of our team was using a turret gun to pin down as many enemies as possible within a makeshift farmhouse bunker, while the rest of our team had to watch his sides and back to stop him from getting jaded by alien hordes.
It’s’s here I think Earthfall may differentiate itself somewhat by allowing players choose particular roles in their party. Even though there still isn’t even a particular class system set up, it was intriguing to see some players take on sort of “specialized” roles on the staff even though most of characters have exactly the exact abilities, such as building up guards, healing teammates, or utilizing heavy weaponry to extract mass hordes of aliens.
Likewise, aside from the player characters and their skills, the alien forces have their own tricks. These unique alien types include enemies like the Whiplash, and it is really a fast-moving, horse-like creature using an appendage that could grab a player and scamper off leaving the remainder. The Thresher may dive and pin down onto team members and begin ripping them to shreds fast, even though a third enemy type will explode and leave spots of contaminated gunk in the environment that would be deadly to anybody who touched it.
From my time using Earthfall it’s clear the game is unquestionably what some might believe “Left 4 Dead, but with aliens. ” That’s not always a terrible thing: whether the game itself lacks a little bit of its own individuality, technically speaking the game excels thanks to exceptional graphical functionality and shooting mechanics which feels a lot more in-line with that which players might expect from modern day shooters. While I expect that Earthfall can expand on its ideas a bit more and craft its own unique take on co-op shooting, so shooting on hordes of aliens rather than zombies still feels just as satisfying and thrilling.
Earthfall is now accessible through Steam Early Access on PC, and are also coming to PS4 and Xbox One such spring.