After Us review | The latest game from developer Piccolo raises the question if the astonishing visual design is enough reason to play a game. The Spanish studio is known for Arise: A Simple Story, a game we scored 84% and was met with a worldwide positive response. For After Us they have partnered up with publisher Private division. I had high expectations for this brand-new IP but I’m left with a feeling that is hard to explain. After Us has so many beautiful moments in its core but the shell around it is extremely dull and boring. As a player that’s not a good combination but for review coverage it is an excellent game to write about! Even more so because it brings up a hugely important topic, one that now more than ever needs to be discussed urgently…. climate change.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Developer Piccolo has a gift for making incredible visual experiences | After Us confirms the talent of the developer that was already visible in their previous game, Arise. Moments comparable to Hollywood’s most impressive film setpieces. The visual power is incredible, with gripping scenes and dream-like environments. It’s hard to compare to any other game, which is a huge compliment. After Us managed to touch me environment after environment, also because you always clearly saw human guilt in the destruction of the world. The alternation of the dark depressing world and bringing it back to life, with beautiful colors and nature is an emotional spectacle that lasts until the end of the game.
- Clumsy gameplay | Almost immediately you notice that the controls are a bit stiff. Gaia, your playable character can do an energy attack remotely. With this you can stun enemies or make animal spirits back to level. These are well hidden in the environments and you, as Gaia, will have to use this ability far too often than desired to hit them. It is not so easy because sometimes these spirits are at one height so you have to make several attempts to find the right attack height. Dashing forward, another ability of hers could also work better than it does now. Jumping and then sliding to cover further distances does not always trigger causing you to fall into the abyss…. when a game has so many platform elements and they don’t work properly it becomes frustrating.
What we Disliked
- A sort of bible story | You will probably be familiar with the Biblical story of Noah. Or seen the movie with Emma Watson and Russell Crowe. Also in After Us, you collect all possible animals in the form of spirits to save the spiritual world from evil. Called Devourers, sometimes you have to fight it but exploration is what the game is really about. You don’t have a ship in the game but you do have a safe place where the spirits gather, The Ark. In the environments, you will also find memories of people that tell more about the story but that is very limited. It is here where the game completely misses out, there is so much potential to tell an emotional story with an important message but there is nothing at all to be found. A wafer-thin story pairs some levels together while the basics are there to blow players off their socks.
- Performance | There are two performance options when you start the game. One for stability and one for better graphics, both have the same problem. When the game does an auto-save it sometimes dares to limp. Also annoying is that Gaia can get stuck between two objects, which in turn requires a restart. I also noticed that a few times while playing I was suddenly taken back to the Xbox dashboard, in other words, a game crash.
How long to beat the story | 12 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 20 hours (finding all spirits)
You’ll love this game if you like these | Arise
You won’t be disappointed if you go play After Us for its visual splendor and atmosphere. Gameplay is not so great and is a missed opportunity, as is the story
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