After Us

Posted:  May 31, 2023
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Full StarFull StarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Cloud Saves

Review

After Us was provided by Private Division for review. Thank you!

After Us is a adventure-platform set in a decimated world. The last animals have died out and, in a last ditch effort to save them, you must venture out into a wasteland to search for the vessels harboring their souls. As Gaia, the Spirit of Life, you will glide, jump, and traverse a vast and surrealistic world as you see the impact of a world destroyed by humans. Learn the fate of the devours, guide Gaia's light, and save all the animals that you possibly can.

After Us is a very artistic piece that focuses on spreading a very obvious pollution, Humans + Pollution = Bad. Piccolo, the developers behind the game, took a lot of care to abstractly show the disastrous aftermath of human nature, creating a beautiful showcase of a destroyed world. The story has a nice tone, which involves saving the spirits of the animals that were saved, but I found investigating what happened through the environment to be a bit more interesting. Coupled with the soundtrack, I loved looking around the world and just taking in the sights.

The traversal in the game is the main focus in terms of gameplay and, while it has some good mechanics, there isn't much else to do other than go from point A to point B. There is some collectibles to get, but they don't feel as rewarding to get, and the little bouts of fights with Devourers feel thrown in as an afterthought.

Overall, After Us feels like it should have been more of an interactive video over a full video game. As a surrealist piece, this is an incredible piece of work. The visuals and artistry put into the game is astounding and really makes me wish a photo mode was added. While jumping and platforming is alright, the rest of the game feels a bit empty, not leaving me with much to do or feel obligated to check around. If you're looking for a visually-appealing interactive experience, After Us is perfect for you, but you may not be able to easily enjoy it on the Steam Deck.

After Us - Steam Deck Performance

Playing After Us on the Steam Deck is a bit hard to do, considering how GPU heavy the game is. At default settings, cutscenes can slow to 18 - 20 FPS and while some areas can handle 30, it drops much more often and becomes very hard to enjoy. Even when sticking to 1280x720 resolution and changing everything to low, the game still struggles to perform in certain areas, though I would never recommend doing this as the game will look terrible.

AfterUsLowest

The biggest help to performance overall was actually a resolution reduction. Forcing 800x500 through Steam and utilizing FSR, the game could stay on higher quality settings while sticking closer to a stable 30 FPS. There were still drops when running around the world fast or using your ability to make the area around you green with nature, but that happens regardless of the settings. With this though, you will get around 15W - 18W battery drain for 2 - 2.5 hours before it dies.

The game doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, but it does have full controller support as well as cloud saves! This could be nice as playing the game at higher resolutions and graphical settings will definitely be more enjoyable, but this is still a way to play! I did also test setting the UMA to 4gb and using CryoUtilities, but neither of these helped performance or battery life, so I didn't find it necessary.

Conclusion

After Us is a surrealist's dream with visuals that look like they belong in a museum filled with visionary art pieces. I can't get enough of some of these gorgeous scenes, it drove me to keep playing just to see what else the developers came up with. Platforming is okay at times, but getting collectibles and fighting feel uninspired and thrown in. I do wish the game performed a bit better on the Steam Deck, especially since you have to reduce quality to really play, but it is playable and doesn't look horrifying like it did on low settings. This wouldn't be my ideal way to enjoy, but it's possible to experience the game fully this way.


Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

After Us is a surrealist dream showing the effects of human devastation, though it has some issues in other aspects and the Steam Deck performance.

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Current Price: 
$14.99
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