Ahh… Nothing reminds me of Christmas more than a blood soaked prison cell. That seems to be the subversive approach behind YOUOCO’s untimely release of Fallen EP-1. Intended as the pilot episode to a much longer story, Fallen EP-1 is a third-person slasher title that prides itself on horror and gore. Designed in the vein of the Silent Hill or Resident Evil series, players assume the role of a inmate who finds his cell door unlocked and his fellow inmates dead. Despite the promising premise, the title unfortunately lands on uneven ground due to dated gameplay design.
Mise-en-scene- Ambiance means so much in any horror title, and it is certainly title’s strong suit. The look of the game is great. Combined with an ominous industrial score, disgusting cut scenes, and off-putting game sounds (i.e. clanky metal doors, broken glass over tile) and gamers will find a legitimately horrific mystery.
Puzzles- While walking through rooms, players will find the occasional arrow that leads into a first-person perspective. Once in this perspective, gamers will need to manipulate inventory and props to unlock doors, get cameras working etc… These mini-puzzles aren’t difficult, but they are a clever way to lengthen the game’s playing time.
Controls- The approach to gameplay feels about ten-years old. As in early Resident Evil games, players will often find the simple act of walking through a room cumbersome. (Some may find this a nice retro feature; I am not one of those people). Controls are dictated by a virtual D-pad that seems clunky and unforgiving while combat, although easy, lacks any sort of finesse whatsoever. Rooms seem to be designed more for aesthetic effect rather than game functionality. One has to wonder whether or not it would’ve been a wiser choice to simply abandon the D-pad all together.
Why this publisher decided to release this title at Christmas time is beyond me, but one does have to admire the gaul of counter-marketing against the year’s most reverent holiday. Even though Fallen EP-1 does have some nice, creepy overtones, the scariest part of the game is its dated approach to movement. If players are willing to forgive the lazy control scheme, they’ll find a dark diversion from this otherwise saccharine sweet holiday season.