After Us’ pitch sounds like the perfect blend of post-apocalyptic revivals. ah A classic story-driven 3D platformer in the vein of Terra Nil, and Psychonauts. In reality, this roaming beast is often a little disorienting for its own good, and is a savage creature to fill the time between tearful but brief reunions with the various spirits of the forest that need to be restored. Also, it relies heavily on awkward platforming and daunting combat. before reaching the credits. In theory, this kind of light, wordless storytelling is acceptable in a game like this, provided the platform is solid enough to make it happen. But in this case it’s seriously contradictory.
The premise of After Us is very simple. Players will play as a very powerful forest spirit named Gaia, but if you want to go a little more spectacular, play as the Spirit of Life. However, she doesn’t always cope well, and sometimes her standard platforming moves feel slippery (which was the case whenever I accidentally fired her air dash too early). and sometimes jump between sensations like rocks sinking to the bottom of a river. The glide button was supposed to work, but for some reason it didn’t. This issue has caused me to endure hundreds of needless deaths.
The most interesting thing about playing as Gaia is that she can use her Heart of the Forest ability to bring back one plant or animal to Earth at a time. She can be thrown like a boomerang with a quick tap of her left trigger, giving a satisfying little impact force feedback, but where it’s really used is in lackluster combat. And only in those rare moments when it is necessary to reach the switch from the attack. distance. The latter can cause unique irritation as Gaia automatically aims at distant objects that are about the same altitude as her. This means many additional jumps have to be made in places where you would normally not think you should jump.
Alternatively, hold and release the Left Trigger and Gaia will unleash a forest core within its surrounding radius, creating a cool effect of covering nearby surfaces with grass and flowers. Most of the time it’s just a visual facade with no lasting power, melting back into the earth after a few seconds. It finds him one of the eight forest spirits and uses that same power to Permanently Return them to Ark. The Ark is the central hub area that you can visit and acts as a petting zoo with all the ghostly animals you’ve collected throughout your journey. Yes, you can pet ghost dogs, but I prefer live dogs.
Anyway, that’s pretty much all there is to know about Gaia, or the paper-thin story that After Us is telling. Each forest spirit is connected by an open world filled with corridors that allow travel between each zone, and I use a convenient fast-travel system to help me navigate both visually and mechanically. I found myself running between each of the 8 different areas. Capricious.
At the same time, you have no real sense of direction because you can do anything in the order you choose. As a result, towards the end of the 12-hour story, I hit a point where the story no longer felt like it was leading me to an end. I spent a lot more time than I thought figuring out which path would take me to the final level. “Final level” here is subjective. Because between these open-ended zones there isn’t much of a difficulty increase to speak of, and mechanics are often replaced rather than built. And without spoiling anything, the campaign’s ending is exactly as anti-climactic as you’d expect from a game that has no dialogue and doesn’t even stick to a linear story.
The main villains you’ll be dealing with are the Devourers, basically the evil ghosts of humans who have ravaged the planet through rampant consumerism. Fighting them isn’t all that fun as you can only use the Boomerang Orb against them. The boomerang orb can’t do as much damage and you have to run back and forth when shooting and calling again and again. again. There are not many types of enemies, and if you are caught by an enemy, you can easily escape by tapping the X button, which is convenient. Combat mostly boils down to going in circles back and forth, and it always felt like After Us was just trying to make up for a quagmire story with unnecessary combat. It might have been more enjoyable without the combat.
At least the graphics are great. Visual design is the true star of the show in After Us, with a surprising amount of mechanical and visual diversity throughout the campaign. Many of its ideas are bold. For example, there’s a level where you have to avoid ghostly saw blades while racing through a desolate national park. Another level had you teleporting between TV screens and racing between utility poles in a rail-grinding mini-game similar to that of Ratchet & Clank. With his 2K performance mode on the PlayStation 5 he plays on a 4K TV and everything looks great. Aside from occasional stutters and stutters, I have to commend it for its near-consistent performance.
after us screenshot
However, these visual and storytelling ideas rarely blend naturally in action, and level design is so inconsistent in terms of platforming from moment to moment that this Getting through many of these sections with shaky controls often meant doing a lot of guess work. . More times than I can count, I almost died getting through a section, but somehow I was going to have to do it all the time, trying jumps that seemed unlikely. It’s not necessarily fun or satisfying, but it’s not particularly difficult given the prevalence of autosaves. I would sometimes die and miraculously respawn at a save point right past where I died.
Whether I enjoy it or not, I’ve always been exposed to great synth-driven music that conveys the instantly recognizable Blade Runner sound. Again, almost all synthetic, but its wide sawtooth pads and arpeggios are deeply mesmerizing and feel like a perfect fit for the often dark and gloomy post-apocalyptic world where After Us begins. The only thing missing is a man lamenting about C-. He shoots a beam and attacks the ship from Orion’s shoulder. At least there are scenes of tears and rain.