Ever since 2009, the gaming industry hasn't seen a game that perfectly captures what made Valve's Left 4 Dead so special. However, with the official release of Earthfall, this changed. Smooth, creative, graphically impressive, and mechanically sound, Earthfall manages to recreate the greatness of Left 4 Dead while simultaneously avoiding feeling like a clone.
A diverse horde
In Earthfall, your goal is to survive an alien invasion that has wiped out the majority of humanity. Extraterrestrials can be and are everywhere, so the survivors must be on constant alert. Inevitably, you'll run into "hotspots" of alien activity, and as you progress further into levels, more aliens will begin to attack. Among the foes are a plethora of special aliens that have the power to immobilize you, suppress you, and more.
For example, the Whiplash (which looks like the offspring of a venus flytrap and a giraffe) sprints into the middle of the group, grabs an ally by the head, and then rushes them away from their team, only stopping and starting to kill them once it's several hundred meters away. Another one, the Blackout, is a boss unit that can shield itself, teleport around, and launch energy projectiles to force you into cover. The Enrager is a floating support alien that emits an energy wave at timed intervals, increasing the damage of its alien friends.
There are even more special aliens to fight, so you and your three friends will need to cooperate efficiently to survive the horde. Your tools of destruction consist of more than 20 unique guns that can be found or created from 3D printers, as well as fortification objects that are critical to crowd-controlling the horde, like fence walls and automated turrets.
What makes the fortification system so great is that you can customize the team's defensive line in any way you please. Every object is fully movable after being placed; this means you have the ability to rapidly change your setup. Every playthrough of a level is different thanks to Earthfall's dynamic spawning engine, so defenses that are highly customizable are fantastic.
Visually, Earthfall is gorgeous. Each alien type is creatively designed, and the quality of the textures and lighting is superb. The musical score is fantastic, as well, with both eerie tension-building tracks and intense bombastic compositions perfectly accompanying Earthfall's atmosphere. The voice acting is average, but this isn't too much of a problem.
Performance wise, the game runs excellently. During Earthfall's time in Early Access, the frame rate was choppy at times, but it's great to see that these issues were ironed out. You might still get a slight dip in frames when the alien hordes are thick, but it will never interfere with the gameplay.
Final thoughts on Earthfall for Xbox One
Aside from average voice acting, Earthfall is a gorgeous, innovative masterpiece that innovates on the Left 4 Dead formula. And it is well worth a look.
- Superb gameplay design.
- Excellent presentation.
- Great performance.
- Average voice acting.
Earthfall is available now on Xbox One. You can get the Deluxe Edition on Amazon, which is $39.98 and contains weapon and character skins, or the Standard Edition on the Microsoft Store, which is $29.99.