Countless aliens, aggressive and deadly, have invaded Earth. A swarm of these monstrosities rushes my three fellow survivors and I, unearthly screeches tearing through the air. We hold our ground, feverishly emptying clip after clip into the beasts. One glitches into a death animation that looks very much like it’s in the middle of performing La Macarena. Welcome to Earthfall. If you’re familiar with PC’s Left 4 Dead – which Holospark proudly names as an inspiration – you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from this. If you’re not, the mere phrase ‘fourplayer co-op shooter’ covers a lot of ground. Human, AI, or a mix of the two, there are always four characters working together in this FPS adventure. You’ll have to turn the occasional valve or fetch the occasional mission item, but this is almost entirely all about the shooting, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Well, actually, there sort of is something wrong with that. Something you’ll quickly learn is that most of the weapons sound and feel more like cap guns than military hardware. There’s a huge flamethrower called the Reaper that’s extremely satisfying to use, and the rare – though extremely desirable – energy gun the Valkyrie is fun to fire. Generally speaking, everything else on offer is functional… but not much more than that. Earthfall could do with a gun-beefing update.
Speaking of updates, while current and future cosmetic items are available for microtransactions, all postlaunch gameplay content will be completely free, something we very much approve of. As it stands at time of writing, there’s a total of ten stages split into two campaigns. Despite the multiplayer focus, there’s a strong story presence. Each stage begins with a brief cutscene, and the three chaps and one lady constantly natter on like apocalyptic gossips during play. As you might expect of a shooter, the story’s nothing special, but there’s a very real benefit to having such vocal characters.
Everybody starts off with a pistol… and that’s it. You have to find and collect healing items, and any other weapons, as you explore the level. Now, here comes the science bit: every time somebody, human or AI, comes across a pickup they’ll automatically call out to the others. “Combat rifle here!”, “Medkit!”; that sort of thing. It’s an excellent addition that works in conjunction with the restrictions on what you can carry (only one of each healing item, primary weapon, and grenade type) to ensure that everybody has a chance of half-decent gear. Okay, so you could limp up to find that the medkit you’re so desperate for
“THE THREE CHAPS AND ONE LADY CONSTANTLY NATTER ON DURING PLAY.”
This is not good. Your health depletes rapidly, and only a teammate can save you.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB HOLOSPARK DEV HOLOSPARK