UNDERTALE 2 – ASRIEL RETURNS?
- Developer: Toby Fox
- Publisher: Toby Fox
- Genre: Role-Playing Video Game
- Release Date: October 31, 2018
- Platforms: Windows, Mac
- Reviewed on: Asus Laptop
— If you haven’t played Delta Rune yet PLEASE go and play this Chapter before spoiling it for yourself! —
In 2015 we were treated to one of the best games of the recent decade, Undertale. Surrounded by AAA titles it stood tall as the game that set the bar for storytelling and consequences based from decision making. This game was simply, beautiful. An indie love letter from Toby Fox to all that played.
On 30 October something strange happened to the Undertale official twitter. It got taken over by a dark being. Someone who we have apparently been looking for, and has been looking for us. Someone who has been waiting to connect with us and wants to create a new future with us. This being has created something familiar and yet chilling at the same time. Delta Rune. The anagram equivalent of Undertale. A program that is free to download from a website, but not after reading some pretty serious warnings. We are told there may be moving or flashing imagery, that we may have to override security protocols to use the program and that we are not allowed to discuss anything in relation to the program for 24 hours (something that certain media outlets have decided to overlook). The most disturbing warning is simple “You will accept everything that will happen from now on.”
When clicking download I was told to download an executable file called SURVEY_PROGRAM. After downloading the program and having to override not only google chromes protective software but my anti-virus too, against all better judgement, I clicked “install”. And there it was again, a stern warning to me within the license agreement of the game “You will accept everything that will happen from now on”.
To say I was terrified is an understatement, it felt like this installation software was actively warning me against downloading it. It felt like I wasn’t downloading a piece of software, I was downloading a “being” onto my computer. A sentient entity that would wriggle its way into my digital files and learn everything about me just to strangle me in my sleep. With tingles running up and down my spine a bass line boomed through my speakers and a familiar text font appeared on my screen. “Are we connected?” it asked. With screen showing me an icon I had waited 3 years to see again, my soul appeared in front of me as a red heart. And then, without warning was stripped away from me.
I was then asked to create a vessel. Something that would hold my soul and transport it into this universe that I was now connected to. Almost as if I was creating an avatar I chose the head, the torso and the legs for my new vessel and was asked if I accepted “it”. Already, this being was forcing me to see myself as a separate entity from the avatar I was creating, which is something that is rarely done in gaming terms.
We’re then moved on to select its personality traits, simple things like, what’s its favourite food? What is your favourite blood type? Give your creation a gift. Also, how do you feel about your creation? And then a simple yes or no question…
You acknowledge the possibility of pain and seizure.
Nope! I’m out! There is no way I’m risking my neck for a vessel of my soul in a game which I have been waiting 3 years for! So, naturally, I clicked yes.
We are then told to name our vessel (I chose Emily), and then provide our own name (Kelly). Then, hoping for some epic reveal of our avatar in the new world of Undertale, we are told that our choices don’t matter. And that our vessels name is not the one we have chosen, but instead our name is….
And then we are whisked away into the world! With Toriel yelling out “Kris!” and trying to wake our sleepyheads up. We are able to move and interact with everything just as if all of that had never happened! Are you kidding me Toby?! That is the most insane introduction to a game I have ever experienced and you’re not even going to explain it? Cool, that’s fine, because I know you have something else hidden up your sleeve.
The game begins with more questions, Toriel and the rest of the monsters all appear to be living above the surface with no other humans in sight. We are driven to school, where I assume Toriel teaches, and arrive late to class. When we enter the classroom we are greeted by another familiar face, Alphys! The socially anxious nerd is teaching children and clearly enjoys it. Be still my aching heart. We are told to find a lab partner and end up being paired with a monster named Susie, who seems to have some unresolved anger management issues. So much so that when she thinks you’re going to rat her out and get her expelled she threatens to literally eat your face off. Making friends, wherever I go I’m just making friends.
The game moves onto your vessel and Susie then falling into a deep dark hole and ending up in a cave of some kind. You scramble about trying to find each other and are then confronted with a castle, and a prince who needs your help.
And that is where my playthrough has ended thus far. I am aware that this game is coming in episodes so I want to draw out my playthrough as long as possible and enjoy each little thing as it progresses through the story. I want to interact with each item and speak to each character as many times as I can before they get sick of me.
As with undertale, the writing in this game is just second to none. The humour and small “in-jokes” it cracks every once in a while is just brilliant. For example, when you’ve finished talking to one character your ally says “You’re still here? I would’ve thought you would have run off to the right by now.” Which is a great joke for all 2d platformer gamers because that is exactly what NPC characters do when running away.
I have saved the best till last. The music, the sounds, the ambience of the game thus far is just magnificent, for a 2d game the atmosphere it creates it gorgeous. Simple things such as echoing footsteps after you’ve fallen down a deep hole. The rustle of a bush when you see something moving just on the outside edge of the screen. The battle music is, as always, amazing. I didn’t expect any less from Toby and the Delta Rune team, but oh my god I have already downloaded the soundtrack to this game.
If you have played undertale and you have not yet heard about this, seriously get on it. It is everything we’ve been waiting for and more. If you haven’t yet played Undertale then what are you waiting for?! Get on any platform you own, computer, PlayStation, Switch, Linux, mac, you name it. Get playing, fall in love with the characters and move onto this gem of a sequel. Toby, I cannot wait to see what you have in store for us in chapter 2 and the full game.