THE ALIEN BREED We play slick co-op shooter Earth­fall.

A co-op shooter that wears its in­flu­ences with pride

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - THE BIG 10 -

IT’S A GAME ABOUT SHOOT­ING THINGS IN THE FACE.

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There are few games we glance over at a ri­val con­sole and wish we had, but Left 4 Dead has al­ways been the one game PS4 could do with. While Evolve nudged its way into our li­brary, it failed to grab our at­ten­tion like Valve’s shooter. So with a healthy chu-chink of a shot­gun reload, we wel­come triple-A in­die dev Holospark to our hearts. The dev is open about its love for Left 4 Dead as Earth­fall, its co-op shooter, re­places zom­bies with aliens.

“It’s a game about shoot­ing things in the face with shotguns,” says Rus­sell Wil­liams, CEO of the Seat­tle-based de­vel­oper, as we set­tle down for an ex­clu­sive play of the R&D ‘ware­house’ mis­sion.

This is one of ten story mis­sions re­leas­ing day one for the game, and played in four-player co-op it comes early in the cam­paign. The aliens have landed, and we’re sent to a train yard to snatch a brief­case con­tain­ing vi­tal DNA data to take the fight to the slimy in­vaders.

“There’s re­ac­tive AI in the game,” com­ments Wil­liams, as he re­veals the alien horde will adapt to our ac­tions, with later mis­sions adding evolved crea­tures.

It’s hard to be­lieve Earth­fall is be­ing made by a team of 29. The map is large and maze-like; we run down dead ends, cor­ner­ing our­selves, but care­ful read­ing of the world re­veals hints at how to es­cape and dis­cover se­cret ar­eas.

GUN PLAY

The shot­gun, a base weapon, packs a punch. The com­bat is quick and twitchy, like a mar­riage of Call Of Duty and Valve’s not-on-PS4 sur­vival shooter. It’s when we dis­cover the M16, and later dual-wield pis­tols, that the ac­tion re­ally heats up and we get to surge freely through the alien horde. It’s also at this mo­ment we see the AI re­act, call­ing on a ‘Black­out’ boss that tele­ports into the map and de­mands we work with our team mates to de­feat it.

Like the AI, the ob­jec­tives evolve as we play, cul­mi­nat­ing in a ‘de­fend the po­si­tion’ setup as a cli­max to our mis­sion. Here we see two of Earth­fall’s big­gest ideas play out. First we find a 3D printer that can cre­ate ran­dom weapons to help our

cause – hand­ily, the first off the spool is an alien-tech-based can­non called the Valkyrie, which fires green, glow­ing ex­plo­sive shots that set the world alight (and tests this early build’s VFX ca­pa­bil­i­ties). Even with dozens of aliens on fire, elec­tri­cal sparks, and fire­balls light­ing the world in blue, green, and red hues, the fram­er­ate holds firm.

Then we dis­cover the place­able bar­ri­ers. Like a stream­lined Fort­nite, you can erect bar­ri­cades to hold back the horde, or use them to cre­ate choke points and kil­l­zones. At­tach­ing gas can­is­ters and arc grenades sets th­ese fences on fire or elec­tri­fies them. Th­ese ad­di­tions alone sug­gest Earth­fall could be more than a me-too Left 4 Dead. Wel­come to PS4.

Earth­fall is due for re­lease this Au­tumn. Tweet us with your thoughts @opm_uk.

Earth­fall will fea­ture 4K and HDR on PS4 Pro, 60fps is to be con­firmed.

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