One of the mechanics in VR that I have always would hope would keep on improving is holding a weapon and actually making the swinging and contact seem more realistic than ever before. The ability to have a weapon in each hand to block an attack and hit with the other weapon in hand and have the movement be as smooth as possible without the feeling of something was missing. But did Developer Schell Games deliver on that hope? In a very short answer, yes they did. Let’s find out more with Until You Fall for the PlayStation VR.
Until You Fall is a sword fighting game where the civilization Rokar has fallen which now have been overrun by monsters and spirits that now wander these ruins. You play as the last remaining Rune Knight that will try and take back this land. But it’s not going to be easy as you will fall and have to rise again as you become stronger and smarter than your last attempt.
But before you go in and try to be the hero that we all know you can be, you might want to decide on a few things. For one, do you want to sit or stand? By standing, you will need to be quick and have some room to move around. If you would like to sit, the calibration is offset to account for the seated position and some mechanics will be tuned for a seated posture. After you decide on your playing experience, you will need to select your primary weapon hand and make sure both Move controllers are charged because you do not one or both to go out when that final strike is needed (trust me on this). Then when you are ready, start a new game and go through the tutorial just to get a basic understanding of how Until You Fall is played.
Once you have your warm-up in, it’s time to really start and try to get the different sections with enemies along with boss battles and try and survive. If you happen to die, you get up and try again, hence the name Until You Fall. But don’t look at it as a failure by any means, look at is an opportunity to know what you need to do, to have the right weapons to get the job done as well as working on your blocking and attacks to make sure the same errors are not made.
But when you do die, and you will, you are brought into a hub-like section where you can upgrade your weapons and essentially be able to purchase new ones. And I will say, that I am not going to show the highest level of weapons as that was part of the fun I found in Until You Fall. To be able to keep upgrading my weapons and when that didn’t’ work, I was able to purchase new ones just to see what they would do and some of these weapons had a much better impact and made me feel like I was immortal, that is until I met my match only to have to try again.
After each round, you do get rewarded with a choice of power-ups or upgrades. This can be from health to currency to even weapon upgrades. But you only get to pick one out of the three, so pick wisely. But in order to get through the round, it’s really important to pay attention to when you fight the enemies or you may just fall again. When an enemy is getting ready to attack, a highlighted area appears and this is where you put your weapon so you can block the attacks. Then when you can attack and get the enemy to their weaker point, an orange area appears in the direction you need to attack. As you get deeper into the battles, your hand-eye coordination really comes into play as the enemy’s attacks become more rapid and you will just need to pay attention to where to block. But just when you think you have it, additional enemies may come around. So when you enter an area, and before you go in and attack, plan your strategy so hopefully it’s not multiple enemies vs you at the same time.
But not only will you have to know when to attack, but you will also know when to dodge. Some of the tougher enemies will begin to attack and then you will have arrows appear showing you the direction you need to move. This can be left or right or down. I tried both sitting and standing and yes you can dodge while sitting, but others may feel it’s easier to dodge while standing. I was good either way, so as long as you have the room, you will be good. So make sure your timing, blocks, and attacks are on so you can damage their defense (which is represented by a bar that will go down as you defeat it) and their health (which is also represented by a bar) that when it gets to that breaking point and you hit that final strike, it does become a welcoming satisfaction. But I will say, the stronger…much stronger enemies are the ones that will be the toughest. There is no more just standing and swinging, you will need to move and I am not just talking about dodging, but actually dashing away from the attack so you do not get sent back to the hub and trying to rethink everything. But don’t think of the dash move as a defense, but as an offense as well as you can dash right in front of the enemy and telling them that you are the last Rune Knight and you will deserve respect.
One of the things I really like about the weapon structure here. As you fight, regardless of trial and error or you are really that good, your weapons will gain special abilities from items that can damage the enemies to increase defenses. I will say that this really comes in handy especially when you are in those tougher boss battles.
There are just a few minor things that I would love to see. For one the movement. This is in no way a fault of the game, but the limitations of the PlayStation Move controllers. There is only click turning here. I do know that on the PCVR side of things due to the controllers actually having thumbsticks, you can smooth turn. Click turning does work, but I just wish the Move controllers had thumbsticks. And second, I would love to be able to have some type of online multiplayer free for all combat. WIth as colorful as Until You Fall is, it would just be a blast to have a way to duel here.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. I am very glad that Schell Games decided to go with the neon color scheme. It just makes playing Until You Fall in VR very pleasant on the eyes and just pops with the action that is going on. The music is full of high energy and just keeps you engaged.
Until You Fall sets the standard for the sword fighting experience and gives us what we have hoped this genre would be like in VR. It shows us that no matter how many times we may get knocked down in life, to get back up and try again no matter how many times it may take.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more fighting to do.