Coming November 25th to PC, Afterfall: Insanity thrusts you into the bowels of a post-apocalyptic world overrun with mutants, but thankfully equally overrun with axes, crowbars, sledgehammers, shotguns, and other things to kill them with in a gory, visceral fashion.
There’s probably a mystery in all of this somewhere, such as where the zombie-mutants are coming from, or maybe it’s just how many whacks with an axe does it take to eviscerate a zombie-mutant?
Developed by Nicolas Games and Intoxicate Studios, Afterfall Insanity is built upon the Unreal 3 engine and plays from the 3rd person perspective. It’s generally very linear, at least based upon the preview copy, and generally plays similarly to games such as Dead Space 2, requiring a combination of puzzle solving, switch and key-hunting, and action-based combat.
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Welcome to 2035
Afterfall: Insanity is set in the year 2035 in the aftermath of a global nuclear apocalypse. Humanity has been forced to eke out an existence underground in high-tech, underground cities to protect themselves from the ravages of the world above. Unfortunately, living underground takes a toll on the human survivors, who deal with depression, anxiety, and living with the idea they may never see a blue sky again. You, as the shelter’s leading psychiatrist Dr. Albert Tokaj, help colonists deal with their day-to-day anxieties.
And then, something, or maybe someone, snaps—in a big way.
[Watch the Afterfall: Insanity gameplay video]
Before the Fall
Afterfall: Insanity begins with you as a dreary, bored psychiatrist listening to a patient drone on about her problems. The game begins with some brief introductory scenes and a somewhat clever tutorial (I won’t spoil it) that lets you explore the Shelter a little, talk to some of Dr. Tokai’s friends, and explore small sections of the city.
Afterfall: Insanity arguably takes a little longer than it should to get to the meat of the game, but eventually you learn that people are acting more out of sorts than is usual. At the behest of an antagonistic military officer in charge of the Shelter, you investigate. Suffice to say you quickly discover that citizens are going from addled psychiatric patients to staggering, blood-thirsty enraged zombie-mutants.
Things go awry quickly, and then you’re left to fend for yourself in the dark corridors below the Shelter. It’s just you, a lot of melee weapons and firearms, and dark, creepy, creature-filled corridors. At least your flashlight has infinite battery life.
Gameplay—heads will roll (explode, split, gush)
In between locating terminals, solving mini-games and rudimentary puzzles, you’ll find a vast arsenal of melee weapons (lead pipes, axes, and sledgehammers, just to name a few) and plenty of blood-thirsty mutants waiting for you to ‘axe’ them a question. There are firearms as well—the preview copy showcases firearms that are typical of the genre: shotgun, assault rifle, and an automatic pistol—you can only carry a single melee weapon, pistol, and 1 rifle at any time. (Trust me: take the shotgun).
Afterfall: Insanity offers multiple game mechanics—‘quicktime’ events (love ‘em or hate ‘em), a hacking mini game, and light puzzle solving—to break up its taut pacing and survival horror elements. Unlike its spiritual inspiration Dead Space 2, it doesn’t appear to have any type of upgrade or advancement system.
But Blood flows as fast and freely, as do the bullets. Whack an assailant with an axe (or shoot them in the head with a shotgun), and said head will explode as blood geysers out. (So much for ‘do no harm’ and the Hippocratic oath for our dear doctor.) There doesn’t appear to be any limb-severing, but heads certainly split, explode, and gush.
There is also a system called ‘Fearlock’ that kicks in when the good doctor is stressed or overwhelmed. Fearlock essentially kicks in when you’re in harried combat situations and makes you less accurate while increasing the damage you inflict. And years of medical school have also apparently given the doctor an array of ‘finishing moves’—a downed opponent isn’t always out, but you can make sure they stay out with a simple keystroke.
Based upon the preview copy, localization issues—translation and voice-acting—may hinder the game somewhat in its story telling, but otherwise Afterfall: Insanity is a very promising survival horror game in the spirit of games such as Dead Space 2 and Resident Evil.
Afterfall: Insanity launches November 25th for PC—and you can pre-order now directly from Nicolas Games for $1.