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Game Info:

Prevent the Fall
Developed By: D.W.S.
Published By: D.W.S.
Released: Jul 31, 2017
Available On: Windows (supports VR headsets)
Genre: Action, RPG
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single-player, multiplayer through online or LAN
Price: $9.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you D.W.S. for sending us this game to review.

Note: This review of Prevent the Fall is the non-VR version.

The urge for adventure; the dangers of the unknown can get anyone’s heart beating. The chance of finding fame and riches is enough for most people, while others are tempted by knowledge or power. Whatever it might be, there is one thing that’s for certain — not everyone comes out alive.

Prevent the Fall is a dungeon crawler RPG that is reminiscent of hack-and-slash games (the Diablo kind), but with an over-the-shoulder view as opposed to the top-down view. Prevent the Fall starts off with a simple tutorial explaining the controls and the mechanics. On the keyboard is the standard WASD movement, LMB to attack with your right hand, RMB to attack with your left hand. The Q and E keys are to swap your left-handed and right-handed weapons, while the number keys 1-6 are to use the specific weapon’s abilities. The controls can feel a bit clunky as there is a buffer between actions that occurs when performing an attack. If you strike, and then press another attack before the previous animation is over, your character will do the next action. Because of this, it’s not a good idea to spam actions in case trouble comes your way as you will be stuck doing the next action or two before you can move. The game supports controller options, but the controller feels weird due to special attacks being used by a combination of the trigger buttons and one of the three face buttons. I personally prefer the keyboard and mouse.

After the tutorial is complete, you are sent to a small tavern where you have the following options: talk to the owner to spend talent points, accept missions, change settings such as resolution and brightness, or talk to Johnny the Merchant to buy and sell goods. Before a mission is selected, there is the option to re-roll the mission (as missions are actually chosen at random), decrease the mission’s level by three from your current level, or increase the mission's level by five from your current level. Higher leveled missions yield better rewards, but also stronger enemies. The increased levels are also fairly imbalanced as there are certain enemy types that will heal faster that your damage output, even when you reach max level.

Prevent the Fall
Highlights:

Strong Points: Captures the dungeon-crawling setting well; simple and to the point in its execution; you can re-buy any items you’ve previously sold to the merchant at any point
Weak Points: Can get repetitive due to enemy types feeling samey and lack of missions; magic is blatantly overpowered compared to melee; no “end-game”
Moral Warnings: Lots of magic usage by both the player and the enemies; dark magic specifically is implied to be powered by Satan through flavor text; undead enemies such as zombies and skeleton warriors; some instances of blood

You can buy or sell items from Johnny the Merchant with the gold obtained through doing the missions. He’ll sell you weapons such as swords, axes, maces, war hammers, daggers and elemental staves. He also sells armor pieces such as helmets, armor plates, and rings. Most of the items he sells can be obtained through drops in the dungeons. What I really like about Johnny is that when you sell him a weapon or armor piece, he will hold on to it forever. That is a really nice concept as I’ve re-bought certain items that I have previously sold to him.

The rather simplistic talent tree option is where you get to allocate your talent points. You gain talent points every time you level up, but also from certain drops such as tomes. The max level is level twenty and from levels one through twenty are around 300 talent points. As this is not enough points to level up all of the paths, it is in your best interest to focus on one or two trees. It is theoretically possible to max out your character through the use of tomes, but tomes are random drops from enemies. As your abilities are assigned to the various weapons, the talent tree acts more like stat buffs. The three talent trees are defensive, melee and magic and each tree contains things such as increased health, stamina, or mana regeneration, or chances of special effects such as bleed, stun or critical chance.

In combat, your character can wield weapons in his left or right hand. Some weapons can only be used in the left hand, such as shields and healing staves, and some weapons can only be used in the right hand, such as war hammers. There is some strategic placement in attacking (even more so in the VR function as you can purposely aim for headshots), and some enemies may block melee attacks from the front, but once you get good enough weapons, armors, and stats, you can brute force your way through most situations. Unfortunately, a lot of weapons are really only different from the skills that they give you. All melee weapons swing the same with their basic attacks, and most of the melee based abilities don’t seem to have (notable) additional effects. Even though you can equip one of each melee weapon, it comes down to what melee weapon deals the most damage.

Staves thankfully have a bit more variety and effects than the melee weapons. Some of the staves’ basic attacks are projectile-based, while others are hitscan. Most have an area of effect (AoE) attack and some have special moves like the wind staff, which can use fog to disorient enemies. Magic is also hilariously overpowered as many magic skills have AoE effects, auto aim, and low cooldowns so particularly tough enemies can simply be kited endlessly as your character is faster than the slow-moving mobs. Enemies are also unable to block magic of any sort and also have special effects such as roots and damage over time.

Prevent the Fall
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 58%
Gameplay - 11/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

With the large variety of weapons, I would have thought that enemies would have strengths and weaknesses, but the only enemy I noticed this for was for the phoenix-type enemies as they are immune to fire attacks. Prevent the Fall features a lot of enemies, and enemies get replaced the higher leveled you are, but most of them feel very samey. 90% of the enemies in the game simply rush at you and attack with claws, weapons or teeth with no additional effect. There are a few enemies that use damage over time (DoT) effects at their disposal, some that use magic, and certain enemies that root you in place, but that’s pretty much it. Even the bosses simply feel like bigger standard enemies with bloated stats.

Missions are displayed in various objectives such as “defeat this creature,” “retrieve item,” or “scout the area” in randomly generated areas. The "scout the area" mission in some layouts seems bugged as I’ve had the quest complete even when I didn’t explore the entire area. This is basically the entire game, doing these missions through areas such as castles, sewers, caves, and towns. There seems to be no end game either as I thought there would be. I assumed that once your character reaches level 20, there would be some kind of climatic final boss to await you, but that is not the case. The only thing changed is that the end game enemies will show up such as bloodskins, dragons, and draks, and it just cycles through the same eight or so areas, indefinitely. Once you get all the achievements, there really isn’t much more of an incentive to play.

The graphics at first seem pretty good, but that was when the brightness (gamma) settings were at default. When I turned up the brightness so that I could see certain items, it occurred to me that the graphics aren’t good, but they do their job. There is one very annoying visual glitch when a chimera is attacked with fire magic. Prevent the Fall honestly looks like something that could have come out in 2005, and even so, if too many effects happen on screen (like when using magic), slowdown can occur. The music is nothing to write home about; it fits the setting, something you would expect to hear from a fantasy-type game. There are only a few tracks in the game so it can get quite repetitive. The music for the tavern is rather nice as I am a sucker for the piano.

In terms of morality, Prevent the Fall has lots of magic usage, used by both the player and the enemies. Some staves use the power of necromancy to summon zombies. In flavor text for one of the necromancer staves it is heavily implied that the staff "is powered by Satan… maybe.” There is also more flavor text that states that one of the weapons “uses the power of Hell itself.” As it is a fantasy game, skeletons, mummies and zombies are common enemy types. Blood is also shown in the game through attacking and being attacked. The blood is not all that noticeable, at least to me.

Prevent the Fall manages to be an okay game, in fact one of the most okay games that I’ve played all this year. Even with its repetitiveness, simplicity and jank in some areas, I had some mindless fun with it. I haven’t played a game in quite some time where I could just turn off my brain and go through the motions of mowing down enemies while listening to a podcast or video. Prevent the Fall is rather cheap, and seems to go on sale quite often. If you’re looking for an in-depth experience, go look elsewhere as Prevent the Fall is not that type of game. If you want some cheap simple entertainment with friends for a few hours at a time and don’t mind the usage of magic and supernatural enemies, you may want to slide this into your wish list so you’d get notified when it does go on sale. It might be worth a shot if you have a VR headset on hand, but from what I've seen in videos, most of the issues present in the game will still be present in the VR mode.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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