Platform: PC, Xbox 360 (TBA)
Price: Around £16+
Buy/Miss/Rent: Buy
Reviewed by: Phill Oliver

It’s not a rare occasion where games come out set in a post-apocalyptic world. Arguably, it’s just a cheap over used method of creating a sense of solitude and fear in the atmosphere of any game, take Metro 2033, The Fallout series and S.T.A.L.K.E.R for example. Also by a mere coincidence, the way the earth came to its doom in all these games is by a nuclear explosion. Afterfall Insanity falls right into the model, taking the tried and tested model and wrapping a fairly tight narrative around it. The human element however and emotions play a more significant role in this game’s version of the post nuclear apocalypse, and this is not just because the character you play as is a shrink.

With such a game, it is perhaps in the backstory that most of the framework for the actual story comes into play. The year is 2035 and the out-lash of the obscurely named Entropy Bomb many decades before still keeps the inhabitants of the once lustrous planet underground. The Entropy bomb, shown as the most devastating nuclear explosion that was detonated after WWII, was fired by an unknown force and it’s still not clear years later if it was an accident or a hostile attack during the cold war. Life underground isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either. You certainly won’t be seeing any pip-boys being gifted to young children here. In fact, a mental disorder caused by the time they’ve been confined underground for has caused many survivors to descend into madness. Your character, Albert Tokaj specialises in dealing with sufferers of the disorder and before long sees how it causes them to gradually descend into Insanity.

Of course, those of you who have played the standard version of the game would already know this. In fact Afterfall has been out for a while now but with this extended edition, the developers have aimed to make the game much more user friendly with an overhauled combat mechanic and many more weapons to utilise in combat with whatever you may find in the dark. In fact the combat mechanic is quite good. Weapons in the most part are rare so to kill your foes you need to get up close and personal. Guns despite packing a lot of power feel relatively unpunchy. The sound of the shotgun for instance couldn’t be flatter if they tried. Perhaps annoyingly, it actually suits the game quite well. After all, you are meant to feel weak and vulnerable against the hordes of enemies you will face as that perfectly suits the narrative of the game.

For the hours I was playing Afterfall Insanity, I couldn’t shake the feeling of something being familiar. The whole time I was playing it, I felt like I had experienced this before and I was right. The camera is straight ripped out of Mass Effect 3 as well as the predominantly white colour palette at the start of the game. After that you descend into something akin to Dead Space. Certainly some of the more feral enemies remind me of things you’d be tackling with Isaac Clark. The combat and also the atmosphere of the game also seems to be similar to Dead Space also except (in my eyes anyway) what Dead Space should have been like as opposed to what it was. Tension and the feeling of being watched is inescapable and this is what really makes this perhaps a Diamond in the rough. If it wasn’t for terrible advertising and more dedication from its publishers, this could become a mammoth title perhaps with this edition or maybe in the future if a sequel was to be released. Although this may sound like me giving the game more praise than it deserves, it reminds me of Bioshock in a way. Misunderstood, brilliant and an experience you have got to try.

Now for what I do not like about Afterfall Insanity, it’s the laziness. What the hell developers? You cut more corners here than I even thought was humanly possible. The cut-scenes in terms of acting are bland, your character must have spent years practising the art of ventriloquism as whenever he talks outside of cut-scenes, his mouth stays perfectly still. Futhermore, the sound is pitiful. You should feel like you are in the middle of the action, that you are the character. Utilise surround sound more. Have pieces of metal hit the ground behind you, the sound of laughs faintly in the coming from a room you haven’t explored yet. Why not? It would have made the game bearable to play with a headset on at least.

It certainly is a diamond in the rough.