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A.R.I.D. returns — The Fall Part 2: Unbound review

When The Fall came out in 2014, players were drawn into a dark, depressing science fiction world that centered around the nature of artificial intelligence and synthetic life. Now indie publisher Over the Moon Games looks to give players a chance to return to A.R.I.D.’s bleak, dystopian world and dive even deeper into the complicated and morally questionable topics that they began playing with in the first entry.

In The Fall Part 2: Unbound, you once again take control of A.R.I.D., an artificial intelligence controlling a suit of protective armor that is meant to hold a human. Without going into spoilers, the story of The Fall Part 2: Unbound picks up right where its predecessor left off, following a cliffhanger that left the hero without a functioning chassis. In order to survive, ARID must abandon her old body temporarily and take control of a variety of new hosts until she defeats the one opposing her and fixes her body. As with the first game in the planned-trilogy, the subject matter is complex and chock-full of abstract concepts, but manages to remain accessible thanks to excellent writing and voice actor performances.

The game features three new robotic characters with drastically different personalities afforded to them by virtue of their programming. As with the first game, the player’s goal is to manipulate their programming criteria and solve puzzles to accomplish the task at hand. Each character’s unique perspective and set of programming rules are unique and create a variety of entertaining and unexpected obstacles. The Fall Part 2: Unbound is a point-and-click adventure game, so most of the time you’ll be exploring the area, reading item descriptions, and trying to interact with various objects in the environment to solve puzzles. Sometimes these tasks can be a bit obtuse and frustrating to figure out, but like any adventure game you’ll get through it with a little trial-and-error and think yourself quite clever after each new obstacle is solved.

In between the classic point-and-click sections, The Fall Part 2: Unbound also adds combat sections in greater numbers than its predecessor. These include rhythm-based melee sections and metroidvania-style shooting sequences. Neither of these encounters ever becomes challenging and each possesses little in the way of variety, but help to break up prolonged sections of exploration and dialogue with some short action sequences. While these elements are a slight improvement over the first game’s combat, they still feel shoehorned in and don’t play to the game’s strengths. And while they provide a fresh gameplay experience to break up the game’s puzzles, they add remarkably few memorable moments to a game that is packed with them in other areas.

As with the first game, The Fall Part 2: Unbound is all about the story, and the sequel succeeds in telling a compelling and unique story much as the first entry did. It’s hard to discuss specifics without going into spoilers, but suffice it to say that the game manages to tell a story that is often bleak and sometimes inspirational, and covers the daunting topic of the nature of synthetic life. The story is packed with difficult, emotional moments, grim concepts, and a good amount of humor, all of which are expertly done. For those who are largely interested in the series for its story, this sequel certainly doesn’t disappoint, and sets up the trilogy for its final, presumably-epic chapter.

Visually, The Fall Part 2: Unbound is an improvement over its predecessor, but only negligibly so. The game largely retains its simplistic two-dimensional design, with dialogue boxes doing most of the heavy-lifting for the game’s art. Character models are more greatly improved over the first game, but character animation remains clunky and superficial. The sound design, on the other hand, is very solid. Music and ambience for the game’s various areas and characters is memorable and emotional, and the voice actor performances help the excellent writing shine through in a game where the success of these aspects are key.

85

Great

The Fall Part 2: Unbound

Review Guidelines

The Fall Part 2: Unbound is a solid follow-up to its predecessor with a moving story and interesting puzzles. It is held back somewhat by occasionally obtuse solutions and bland action sequences, but is well-worth the price of admission for players eager to continue ARID’s story.

You know that jerk online that relentlessly trash talks you after every kill? That guy was probably Travis "Tie Guy" Northup. Competitive, snarky, and constantly wearing a tie--he's like the Barney Stinson of nerdy stuff. He has been writing his opinions about electronic media since he was a teenager, and is pretty much the only person to hold his opinions in high regard. When he isn't busy heckling video games, he is working as the operations manager for a technology media conglomerate or partaking in various comedic pursuits.
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