I’m a gigantic fan of point and click adventure games, growing up with the likes of Maniac Mansion, King’s Quest, and countless others. I also love Metroid-like adventure games and sci-fi. The Fall Part 2: Unbound smashes all of that together into one game, so I had hoped this would be a killer game. While the story and underlying themes kept my attention, the game’s lackluster gameplay and awkward controls left me disappointed.
I’m always a little apprehensive jumping into a sequel having not played the original, especially if the stories are connected as they are here. Luckily The Fall 2 gives you an option to watch a synopsis of the first game, which fills in some of the blanks, but I can’t help but feel it glossed over many others. Still, I didn’t feel completely in the dark beginning this quasi-adventure game.
The premise is quite simple, you control a female A.I. named A.R.I.D. who has lost her host body and is under attack in the virtual world by an unknown assailant. Your immediate goal is to hack into the network to find out who is behind this aggression, and in order to piece the puzzle together you’ll have to inhabit other bodies to solve the mystery.
While in the artificial world the game plays more like Metroid, a sidescrolling labyrinth of corridors with enemies that must be killed with a laser gun. As you walk about you can scan different pieces of the environment to learn more about them or to interact with terminals and whatnot. This VR world looks like it’s been ripped straight out of Tron, with distinct blue neon flair to the environment. The problem here is that the shooting mechanics are very stiff, as are the jumping elements. In fact, the entire control scheme seems convoluted just for the sake of being difficult and the enemies you encounter are hardly fun or exciting (early in the game they are simply clouds of gas). These sections quickly became the least fun parts of the game due to poor controls and very little story progression.
The other part of the game takes place in the real world, where A.R.I.D. inhabits other machines. What’s interesting here is that she’s not alone in these bodies – the original host is still in charge and so she must often convince them to do her bidding. This is where the puzzle solving really kicks in and the game takes on a more point and click adventure style. You’ll have to learn about the world in which this entity operates and to do so you’ll be able to scan various objects and even pick up items to use at specific points to progress the story. I liked these sections of the game much better than the VR ones, but there are problems here as well. While the storytelling was enthralling and I liked the interactions between the different hosts, the puzzles were either way too easy and straightforward or really obscure where I’d have to just try everything to see what would happen. I never felt they were clever or innovative, and I was just going through the motions to hear more of the story.
From an audiovisual point the game is adequate but nothing fancy or special. The voice acting is usually very stilted, but I believe that’s on purpose as they’re supposed to sound robotic. I do, however, have to give props to one of the early characters you meet – the butler – I liked his cheeky personality and laughed a few times at some of the stuff he said and did.
The Fall 2’s best attribute is its story, as I found it truly interesting and wanted to find out what was going to happen next. The problem is that the gameplay that was tacked on to progress the story just wasn’t that fun. Control problems were part of the problem. But, even in the point and click sections of the game there were way too many spots that you could try and interact with where nothing would happen. At least put some interesting prose to describe the object or something instead of telling me I can’t do anything with it. The puzzles were pretty easy, but some are really out there and it feels like there’s not always logic involved in solving them. The game had much promise, but at the end of the day it will probably only appeal to fans of the point and click adventure genre that are desperate for something new on the Switch. Everyone else can take a hard pass.
The Fall Part 2: Unbound was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.