*** The Afterpulse for Apple TV Guide Coming Soon! ***
The Afterpulse for Apple TV Review
The Afterpulse was my number one shooter for the Apple TV and it’s also my number one game on the system itself. Third person action that is about as console-like as you’ll ever get. Absolutely fantastic. Here’s my review and if you’re into shooters and you have not tried The Afterpulse yet, quit reading this and start your download now! Then come back to read the rest of this. ;)
Ok, now that you’re download has started, let’s move on!
The Afterpulse, being an older game at this point, still looks amazing. The visuals are show-off worthy and give the Apple TV gamers an easy argument for console-quality gaming. The lighting, after the tvOS 11 update fixed the issues it previously had, looks beautiful to say the least.
The light stands throughout the maps brim with a “Thing-Like” quality lens flare/bloom and create an almost photorealistic look. The tracers when firing swivel and twist throughout their flight and help in scaring the $h!t out of your opponents as they fly dangerously close to their poorly protected heads leaving bullet damage in the container wall next to them. The small visual details that exist throughout The Afterpulse create a war-torn environment like no other on the Apple TV and though games like Modern Combat 5 are brilliant in their own right, then Apple TV version of The Afterpulse (v1.2.2) is the most realistic combat game on the platform.
The weapons come to life in amazing detail and when used, give the player a feeling of the power they wield. Depending on the star rating of the weapon, it will look different. Adding attachments like scopes and stocks and finally, in most cases, a nice camo that lets other players know you have one-upped them by getting the weapon to 7 stars. Jealous? Yeah, you are. ;)
The maps look very realistic, though the use of containers may be a bit overused in some places. From the ground textures to the bump mapping and mountainous terrains filling the background, Digital Legends did an excellent job of giving the player a realistic and connected environment to melt into.
The environment design is well done with only minor issues scattered throughout. The rain effect is well done and the morning and dusk lighting adds to the dirty, but pretty look of the game. The Afterpulse on the Apple TV looks as good as it plays.
War games such as the Afterpulse can, at times, be a mixed bag. To help give the illusion of war, The Afterpulse has some of the most realistic weapon and concussion sounds you will find this side of the virtual war zone. But it does have it’s issues also.
To get a true idea of what the audio design team at Digital Legends has thrown together, you’ll need a really good pair of bluetooth headphones or a nice theater sound system. With the right setup, the AKSG 12 has a bass aspect to it not caught on cheaper systems and the SMG’s pop individually even when the rate of fire is above 5000! The problem is that with a regular system or the TV speakers without a subwoofer, these things might go unnoticed and unappreciated.
A couple of the weapons appear, at first, to have somewhat muted sounds. This is not technically the case as the dynamic range of the sound itself is pretty high. Without a system that can grab every bit of this lovely frequency madness, it may sound somehow “off”. For example, the Assault Rifle, AC 30, when first heard, may sound weak and off kilter in some way. When listening to the sound how it was intended, you can feel the short but sweet bass kick that goes along with the higher pitched pop creating an all around nicely edited sound.
The explosion effects also may seem a bit underpowered without a good sound system. But when listened to in the right environment, you get the full effect and can even hear the dust and particles rain down in its immediate aftershock.
The score is well done also. From the time you first fire up the game, you know you’re about to play a war-time combat game. It’s very well done and while it technically does not add much to the actual gameplay during matches, it is commendable for sure.
There are some sound issues to report though. At times, weapon sounds can be cut off for some reason and the bullets hitting the metal container next to you is a bit too short and can sound unintentionally muted. This happens a few times per match if you are paying attention, but it does not ruin the experience in my opinion. All in all, the audio in The Afterpulse, while limited in its content, is absolutely superb.
Gameplay / Controls
Digital Legends has incorporated controls for the Siri Remote and Mfi controllers such as my favorite, the Steel Series Nimbus controller. Unfortunately, there are limitations with the Siri Remote, though it works amazingly well in The Afterpulse.
Mfi Controller Experience
This is where the control shines as would be expected. The control is tight and Digital Legends has included an aim-assist feature that is helpful for those players may be new to the genre or game itself. for those of us who have been playing The Afterpulse since it’s release, our aim should be better on it’s own. Strange thing though, you can’t turn off the aim-assist. Also, for an old gamer like myself, there is no “Invert Y-Axis” feature in the game and I will admit that I was not pleased when I first played the game. But it just took time to get used to it and I have become proficient in my gameplay without the option. All of the buttons are mapped for you, but they mapped very logically and there is not much to complain about here.
Siri Remote integration was mandatory at the time of The Afterpulse’ release. You can actually get around well and everything works a bit better than I was expecting. But this does not mean it’s better or even as good as using a controller. If you are serious about dominating matches in the Afterpulse, let there be no doubt that you’ll need a controller.
The gameplay itself is where things start to separate for The Afterpulse. Considering this game has not been updated since 2015, tvOS has matured a lot. Unfortunately, the game has not held up as well throughout those updates from Apple. While you can definitely play The Afterpulse comfortably with the Apple TV 4th Gen, the experience you need to have is on the Apple TV 4K. It is like night and day. The game barely hiccups on the Apple TV 4K with the A10 Fusion processor and the fluid movement can mean the difference between killing or being killed. It really is that big a deal. If you are still playing this on the Apple TV 4th Gen, do yourself a favor and upgrade to the Apple TV 4K. You’ll thank me for it later.
The animation is professionally done and the there is a bit of realism in every frame of gunplay that is palpable and surrealistic at the same time. No game is ever going to be like real war and for all of us who have not been on the front lines like many of my friends throughout the years and my Father, we should all be very thankful. What The Afterpulse does succeed in is giving the player a virtual battleground that feels realistic, tense and frantic.
Now, we come to the elephant in the room. Acquiring, upgrading and buying weapons and gear. Many mobile games have been perfecting the art of separating you from your money and Digital Legends has done a masterful job! Lol! In all seriousness, you can play this version of the game and you can be competitive without spending any money at all if you are willing to put the time in. A lot of time. A crapload of time! Spending money will net you the weapons and gear you want much quicker. I personally, think the gamers well worth your money. But again, that is upon to you.
One of the bigger issues in The Afterpulse, is the weapon upgrade system. Many who read this and play the game will not agree with my next statement, but I will say it any way. I actually enjoy the upgrade system. It’s almost like a game within the game. Gathering weapons of lesser stars to power up your higher star weapons is fine with me, but where I have a problem is that you can only add 6 weapons each time. The higher your weapons get, the more weapons it takes to upgrade them and it can be quite time consuming. Anyone who has evolved 7 star weapons will know this pain for sure. But I don’t think it is as bad as many have stated. There is definitely an argument against the fact that a lot of your time in the game is spent upgrading your weapons and not playing the actual game, but I actually enjoy this.
Early on, you will spend most of your time in the training portion of the game, trying to gather credits for 1-3 star weapons that you can use or evolve into higher star weapons. Gear acquired cannot be upgraded and will stay at the star level you obtained when opening the crate. For an average player who is motivated to play the game can quite easily evolve a 4-5 star weapon quickly. Money will net you higher star weapons much quicker and it may be something you might want to think about if you really want to be competitive. It doesn’t take much to get a 5 star weapon from a crate immediately if you are a bit lucky. Same with gear, though it’s a bit harder to get really good gear that suits the style of play you enjoy. Depending on your characters level, certain maps will become available for training. Once you reach level 15, all of the maps are open for play.
Multiplayer consists of Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes. Team Deathmatch consists of 4v4 and Deathmatch allows for up to 8 players. If there is no one available for multiplayer as you may find at times on the Apple TV version, bots will be included. Once you hit the 4 player threshold, you are good to go with no bots.
Unfortunately, there are no events available anymore for the Apple TV version. Support was halted at v1.2.2 and all events were cancelled, never to return.
The presentation here is a bit lacking to be honest. But it works fine for the majority of the game. Remember, this is a mobile game, upgraded for the Apple TV. At the time of release, the Apple TV version had a few enhancements graphically that were envious to its iOS counterpart. The iOS version is now miles ahead of the Apple TV version.
The simplicity of the presentation can be looked at as a positive though. Less cluttered screens and easily navigable menus keep you focus on the task at hand. Whether you are setting aside time for multiplayer matches or upgrading weapons, nothing really gets in the way.
Summary / Value
The Afterpulse for the Apple TV is a free-to-play (F2P) game and should appeal to most shooter fans. Taking the time to acquire weapons that will be competitive against good players is a must. The amount of time it takes is up to you and your wallet. I put a lot of money into this game. Period. I love this game and it is my hobby (read addiction). No matter what your feelings are on IAP’s and whether or not this kind of mobile gaming economy is a good or bad thing, I truly believe the game is worth a bit of your hard-earned cash.
Look, I am biased as I absolutely love this game. It was well worth my time and money and I want to collect every weapon and gear set I can get my hands on. The Afterpulse allows me to focus my addiction into one handy game! Lol! Thanks Digital Legends!
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