Project Downfall (PC) (Early Access) Review
Action-packed, gory, lucid unique shooter
Shoot’em in the nuts (seriously it has headshot equivalent of shooting in the nuts)
Bugs, bugs, bugs (but again, this is Early Access)
Some questionable level designs
Hard to keep track of the non-linear narrative
Love the thrill but probably best to readjust the difficulty
Go berserk in this neon-punk themed first-person shooter where your character is basically John Wick (also looks like John Wick) with a blend of influence by the style of Hotline Miami, Falling Down starring Michael Douglas and Hardcore Henry and set in a dystopian world where government-mandated drugs are compulsory for anyone in working conditions to enhance workforce efficiency.
Developed by a small indie team called MGP studios, which consists of only one member and the brain behind Project Downfall. The lack of manpower in the studio explains why this game is still in Early Access since its first release in March 2019. It’s clear that the game still has a lot of things that need fixing after 2 years, like enemies abruptly going through walls and unfairly constructed level designs. Also, frame drops are quite problematic here. I don’t have the best PC in the world but I was expecting to be able the run this 2D pixelated art style design, neo cyberpunk small indie fps at a decent if not high consistent frame rate.
The unique neo-cyberpunk setting with rich fluorescent lights must be what makes it good and bad simultaneously. The original OST, trippy colors, and grainy camera effects brimmed with scintillating lights are the heart of the game that comes with a price to pay. Project Downfall surely doesn’t go easy on players. Even in normal mode, the bullets are very equally lethal for both you and your enemies. Maybe even more lethal for you. This means you have to rely on your agility and tactical mind to defeat the short but fast-paced levels and that is when character, animation, and environmental designs have to be questioned. Enemy character models are something out of Wolfenstein 3D game and make you feel like you’re shooting a bunch of cardboard cutouts and often you won’t be able to differentiate whether an enemy is just stunned or dead, which will probably make you want to punch the monitor because one melee hit is all it takes for game over.
Lighting is also somewhat inconveniencing aspect of the game. Frequently, enemies will pop out from the dark area or absolute gleaming brightness as a surprised-based tactic, but there are certain times I did fail to spot those sneaky fellows in the heated battles solely due to the messy character models and overdone neon lights. Normally, that is still forgivable but the punishment for dying is harsh for the player (no checkpoints, just straight back to the start of the level) and it really made me want to break my keyboard when I died not because of my own fault but for those questionable choices of game designs. In some levels, you will even accidentally fall into the abyss of darkness because the floor just abruptly ended where it shouldn’t.
It has to be said that how well cyberpunk theme is quite a fit with the gameplay. You can slow down the time and enter into focus mode by taking a pill, of which carrying capacity is five at max. The drugged-out filter with slow-mo shootings under colorful neon lights is aesthetically pleasing for anyone with a liking for this category. You can also choose scanline and camera effects from half a dozen worth of options, but I personally found them distracting even after I turned them off. Be wise with how you choose your combat style, you can either take the blue pill and transform into one-punch man or take the chain pill and make the best out of combo attacks. Depending on the situation and resources available, it’s up to you to choose how you approach your enemies. Bullet velocity, accuracy, and damage differ for each type of firearm and the same principles apply for melee weapons as well.
Project Downfall is a game where the execution can’t seem to keep up the great concept at its root. However, it’s still in the Early Access stage and we may see the best of it when the final version becomes available at a later date.