The original The Fall on Wii U and other platforms was an atmospheric sci-fi tale featuring a combat suit’s AI pilot, designated ARID. Now ARID is back in The Fall Part 2: Unbound, a sequel that promises to be “bigger in every way.” But is bigger always better? Read our review below to find out.
The game begins with a quick recap of Part 1. It’s quite spoilery so I won’t delve into details. But the gameplay and puzzles of Part 1 were based around a set of rules and protocols ARID was required to follow. Now at the start of Part 2, ARID finds herself free of these rules. Unfortunately, her body has been disassembled and she is being infected with a malicious software virus. However, since she is now free of rules, ARID is able to choose her own rule: “Save myself.” Taking advantage of a security fault in the network, ARID begins to trace the “User” who is violating her.
And so the course of the story is set and the gameplay begins. Along the way ARID will encounter three unique AI robots: a butler, a soldier named One, and a sex bot. Their personalities are almost certainly the highlight of the game. Butler is obsessed with routine, performing daily tasks for his Master and Mistress, despite the fact that they’re definitely dead and decomposing. The One is obsessed with himself and his individuality, despite the fact that he’s part of a hive-like army of bots exactly like him. And the Companion is a cheery and upbeat robotic prostitute, subservient to a fault. ARID, in her effort to save herself, must hijack and control each of these three eccentric bots, and work within their rules and limits to reach her goals.
This is done by exploring their environment and speaking to the hosts in order to learn more about them. This information can then be used to manipulate the hosts and solve puzzles. It has a very point-and-click feel to it, except instead of items, your “inventory” is full of pieces of information. You’re never “carrying” too much at a time, though, and the solutions to puzzles are fairly intuitive. Even when you get stumped, you can use trial and error to find the right solution easily.
To travel between her hosts, ARID travels on the information superhighway known as the Global Network. Essentially functioning as the game’s overworld, this part of the game is clearly a nod to the 2D Metroid games. Everything from the way you shoot blue doors to open them, to the way certain areas are inaccessible until powers are obtained later on, is reminiscent of Samus’s adventures. The map is not nearly the size of Metroid games, nor is there as much combat, but it’s a fun inclusion.
Speaking of combat, there are actually two combat systems in the game. The first is used by ARID in the global network, and the other is used by the One in fighting off hordes of hostile bots. The combat in Unbound is one of the game’s weak points. The One simply punches left and right as enemies run straight towards him, making his battles a bit too repetitive. ARID’s combat has a bit more depth to it, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed when there are more than a few enemies on screen. The combat is functional, but not particularly groundbreaking.
Fortunately, this does not apply to the rest of the game. For a game with a focus on story, the writing is absolutely critical. And The Fall Part 2: Unbound manages to hit all the right notes. The four main characters (ARID and her three hosts) are all well written, and some of the most creative AI characters in gaming, period. Each of their eccentricities and obsessions can be related to the human experience, and there are some genuinely emotional moments to be had.
The Fall Part 2: Unbound is a great game, and a fascinating experience from start to end. Being Part 2 of a series, it’s easy to recommend to anyone who enjoyed The Fall. It is plenty accessible to newcomers, but you may want to be patient; Over The Moon is looking at bringing Part 1 to the Switch. The setting and tone are different, but the story is bigger and the themes are more ambitious. By the end of the game, ARID’s simple goal to save herself leads to something even bigger, leaving me wanting more. Fortunately, a Part 3 is already planned.
- Amazing oddball AI characters
- Compelling story
- Dystopian sci-fi atmosphere
- Combat is a bit clunky
Soup Verdict: This second course of a three-course meal is delicious, but leaves you wanting more.
A review code was provided by Over the Moon Games for this review.