A New Trilogy
2014’s The Fall happened to be a cult hit when it came out. However, developer Over the Moon decided that they were going to turn its story into a trilogy. Little did fans know that it would take around four years to get the second installment. In all that time, it’s important that the developers not only deliver on the story that captivated their audience in the first place, but improve on the criticisms that prevented it from being outstanding.
Objective: Save Myself
The Fall Part 2 picks up where the first game left off and, for those who are new to the series, you get a brief crash course on what already happened. You begin this story in the shoes of an AI named Arid who is being attacked by a deadly virus and cannot control her real body as a result.
The only way she can travel is through a virtual reality in which she can inhabit other robots across the real world. In that sense, The Fall Part 2 excels at this motif. Instead of just focusing on Arid and her arc, there are three other characters that we get to know along the way, each of them diverse and interesting as the last.
I won’t spoil who these characters are, but it’s how they’re implemented that really stands out. They all have programmed behavior that Arid has to manipulate in order to save herself from the virus. Along the way, she realizes that she cannot do this without permanently damaging them, which touches on philosophical implications about Machiavellian ethics. It’s quite fascinating when you dig beneath the surface.
While The Fall Part 2 has a lot of interesting points in its story, I’m sad to say that its gameplay isn’t treated with same weight. At its core, the game is a point and click adventure. You’ll briskly walk around three different areas in the bodies of three different robots, but you’ll essentially be doing the same thing. Click on objects, collect items, and use them to discover solutions to your problem.
In terms of the point and click style of the game, The Fall Part 2 doesn’t implement it smartly. There’s a separate button to push to aim a glowing visor that you must then aim with the joystick to go over objects and select them. It’s quite a clunky process. It’s also very possible to get too close to an object, so you have to back up and readjust your visor’s aim.
The second aspect of gameplay implemented in The Fall Part 2 is puzzle solving. Going hand in hand with the point and click nature of the game, you have to collect items and use them to solve puzzles. The problem is that it doesn’t always click where you’re supposed to go next, which often led me to aimlessly selecting everything in my path until I found the answer. It doesn’t help that the lighting in the game is very dark, which makes many objects indistinguishable from one another.
The third part of the gameplay involves combat. One of the robots Arid possesses happens to be a martial arts expert. Some sequences will see enemy AI rush at you, and you must push a button in reaction to fend them off. The strange part is that, despite the simplicity of the combat, it was one of the best parts of the gameplay that I wished was in the game more often.
When you’re not controlling autonomous robots for personal gain, The Fall Part 2 will have you control Arid herself in the digital world. Unlike her real world hosts, Arid will progress through the game in a very shallow Metroidvania-style world (you’ll backtrack and shoot doors open). On top of that, there is an element of combat that sees you taking on some viruses with your trusty gun.
Along the way, you’ll gain upgrades to fight more enemies within short-burst sequences. While they provide a nice break from the slow walking and clicking, it doesn’t do much else. The upgrades don’t feel like they add anything to the game because those segments aren’t the focus. It’s like getting a commercial break right in the middle of your favorite show. There was a story you were invested in that you now have to forcibly wait to continue.
They’re not the worst things in the world, but I would’ve appreciated some more integration with those sequences and the rest of the game. The two just don’t mix well.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for The Fall Part 2: Unbound was provided by Plan of Attack.