A meteor strike has brought an alien invasion to Earth and it's up to you and three allies to fight off the alien swarms. This is the premise behind Holospark's Earthfall, a co-op shooter reminiscent of Valve's popular Left 4 Dead games that's been available in early access since April 2017 and released in full on Friday the 13th of July 2018. The full version features 10 missions split across two campaigns.
Like Left 4 Dead, Earthfall sees players step into the shoes of everyday people forced to pickup arms and complete objectives in a variety of selectable maps that follow a similar structure and mission design as the game its inspired by. Everything about Earthfall is actually similar to Left 4 Dead, for better or worse.
Earthfall feels and plays like Left 4 Dead too, with similar mission designs, weapons and weapon mechanics, and even enemy types. There are enemies that pin players down, enemies that take a player and run away, giant brutes, and even the fat ones that explode into acid - sound familiar? Take the zombies from Valve's franchise and special boss zombies, and convert them to aliens and it's the same thing. It even looks and plays the same.
There's no denying the fun for four-player co-op play against hordes of raging enemies, and even without friends, your squad is played by the AI who can not only hold their own in a skirmish but can help heal and revive players - but it gets repetitive quickly and certainly isn't very replayable.
From a gameplay mechanics perspective, Earthfall doesn't take advantage of of the years of evolution in these sorts of games, and shooters on the whole, to innovate in any way. From how healing and primary versus secondary weapons works, to the main enemy types and very basic combat and mission structures - this is a case of been there done that for any fan of shooters. You'll be firing a incredible amount of ammunition and frequently 3D printing new weapons just to get full ammo again.
Each of the game's missions take place on unique maps that embrace different environments and aesthetics and offer different sorts of objectives, and little pieces of lore along with them. These mostly involving running from point A to point B, or back and forth between a few to press some buttons or carry a mission object. The added layer here is that the game also features a few portable gear options, like automated or manned gun turrets or barricades that can be deployed to help fend of waves of attackers. There are invisible walls and doors that cannot be opened that make the partially open map areas feel too enclosed at times, and the game is linear.
Players can drop-in and drop-out at anytime in Earthfall which adds to how easy it is to pick up and play for players of any skill. Earthfall could have come out a decade ago going by its gunplay, mission design, and dialogue, but it proves that there's a lack of dedicated co-op shooters. This is what you get when Valve refuses to finish a trilogy, and there are players hungry for this style of game.
Earthfall can be fun on first playthrough, it's just too generic and familiar. It feels dated and is easily forgettable, but runs well after a series of early access updates and community feedback. If you're looking for an evening with a few friends for online co-op, there is something here.
Earthfall is available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Screen Rant was provided a code for review.
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