Upcoming: Angels Fall First

Finnish symphonic metal fans, stable those steeds. We're talking the imminent release of the other, long time coming science fiction shooter of the same name. But I'm sure Nightwish are equally enthused.

Starting life as a Homeworld 2 conversion, then migrating to Unreal Tournament, Angels Fall First is billed as the combined arms FPS we've always wanted, been teased by in concept and anaemia by other games, yet a notion set only to be realised in full by this tiny weekend team. And given the footage painfully drizzled out over the last seven-odd years, I'm inclined to agree. 

For starters, the name already puts it ahead of the pack. Lord knows why the industry branding apparatchik seems compelled to temper grandiosity with titles only beaten in the beige stakes by the Jack High tournament, but it's an argument for another day. Angels Fall First joins the likes of Emperor of the Fading Suns and Sins of a Solar Empire in planting a seed deep in one's imagination, loosing it to snarl around the organ of science-fiction appreciation.

Titles aside, Angels Fall First is set to do good on the promise of that multi-tiered sand-to-stars combat, or at least to offer an expansive playground both on the ground and in orbit. And yes, while there discrete ground combat as well as purely orbital sorties, devs do tell of missions that involve the entire spectrum of space to the planetary surface. Only one game to my knowledge has ever done that within the confines of a single match, and it has been a long time between drinks since the PSP's rough-but-ready Star Wars: Elite Squadron. The promise of loading up a dropship in space, breaking free of a blockade to hurtle down through the atmosphere is an enticing one, but it remains to be seen how well Angels Fall First will deliver all-aspects warfare. Fingers crossed. The talk of boarding actions against fleets has my attention. Everything is just cream.

The big draw, one that deflates interest in behemoth competition like the upcoming DICE-milled Star Wars: Battlefront III, is Angels Fall First's impeccable art direction. While it's not so direct on the ground, space combat looks torn from the Fosses and Elsons of yore, a delight drawn of airbrushed science-fiction. Big stuff. Gaudy bands of colour striping Goliath insurers teller superstructures, impossibly ornate stations channelling John Berkey. No wonder the team were originally drawn to Homeworld, itself a love letter to the art of the Terran Trade Authority. My hope is that the visual scope is done justice.

As it stands, Angels Fall First is the only shooter on my LIDAR.

It launches on Early Access October 1.