When I first got the chance to play Undertale on PC, I was blown away. I had an RPG that reminded me so much of titles like Earthbound, but with some new mechanics that forced me to rethink the way I approach games and what kind of experience I had—both for better and worse. After a good two years, the game has finally been ported to console and was released last week on the PlayStation 4. But does this version of Toby Fox’s retro masterpiece hold up to the previous incarnation?
Undertale at its core is an old-school RPG with a different style and storyline mechanic. You play a young kid who fell through a hole and has landed in an underworld where monsters call home. You find out the story of how they came to live there and how they regard humans, as well as coming across an ancient prophecy and the discovery that all of the monsters are trying to leave and get back to the surface. Along the way, you’ll meet a colorful cast of characters who will help you figure out how to get home in one way or another, which all depends on your interactions.
While there are various ways to play the game, there are two primary versions: fighting and showing mercy. You can choose to kill everything in your path and clear the way to safety, or take a pacifist path and find a way to make everyone happy as you spare their lives in combat. One of the unique items is that the game always remembers, even when you don’t want it to. A good example is that if you kill a specific character in one run-through of the game, and then choose to reload from a specific save point, the game remembers what you did the last time you played and will act accordingly. In a sense, your first run is the ultimate decider of your fate.
When you’re in combat you have options to interact with the enemies from time to time, which can affect the battles and swing them in your favor. But most of the time you’ll be moving your heart around a square-shaped board to dodge attacks while either attacking back or showing mercy. There’s a lot to explore in Undertale and playing through the game just once is not enough as different actions bring about different choices. In theory, you could get about eight different games in with no two experiences being the same, ranging from never hurting a fly to killing everything in sight. And that’s the real draw to the game—you have control over the outcome as opposed to just following a pre-destined path.
So what really changed from the PC version and the PS4 version? Not too much. The game does feel like it runs a lot smoother, and unlike the PC version, I didn’t have a single game crash. Since Undertale runs in the old-school 4:3 format, you’re given border options in the 16:9 HD format. There are a ton of achievements to unlock ranging from the challenging to the just plain silly. A bunch of the trophies are dedicated to simply donating money to a shrine throughout the game, so easy to do for fun but they don’t really accomplish anything. Overall, it is the same game with some new little additions that make it feel at home.
I didn’t have a single problem with Undertale on PS4, and in fact, it only solidified my feelings toward the game as I had the same personal connection to the characters and their plight as I did the first time around a couple years ago. I cannot recommend this enough for RPG fans, especially if you’ve never played it before. I understand there’s a lot of hype around the game and people may be overselling it to you, but just trust me—play it once and see how you feel about it, at least to experience it. I have a good feeling you’ll be back for more.
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