The Final Station (PC) Review

By Chris Leebody 14.09.2016

Review for The Final Station on PC

Developed by Do My Best Games, this indie title arrived on the platform at the end of August for consoles and the PC via Steam. The Final Station presents a dystopian world overrun by a scourge of mysterious creatures. While they are never explicitly laid out as zombies in the traditional sense, just one look at these infected beings is all the evidence that is required. Though there is never a shortage of zombie titles on Steam, few games throw in the mechanic of a high speed transport train as the mode of travel and an active gameplay loop. Cubed3 hops on board to see what lies ahead.

The Final Station suffers from what has ailed many other indie titles; more style over substance. Dystopian fiction has never been bigger and developers are always looking for the next big thing. A common mistake that developers make is failing to realise that it is not the act of survival that is so intriguing, rather the world that is built around the characters.

This is where The Final Station gets slightly stuck in the tracks. It is just not that interesting or anything that is particularly original. Indeed, the interesting scenes before the actual outbreak of catastrophe promises more enticing lore than the collapse of normal society that happens quickly thereafter. The anonymous train driver, who acts as the main protagonist, lives in a world that seems to be run by a militaristic authoritarian government, with paramilitary storms troopers stationed at every stop. This backdrop could've been explored further in order to be far more unique.

Screenshot for The Final Station on PC

The style of storytelling is a minimalistic approach with segments of lore such as computer notes, pieces of paper and conversations with train passengers about the events of the world. Things are left vague and it depends on the interest in collecting and disseminating these bits of information to get the most out of this world that is falling apart and the wider conspiracy involved.

The overall gameplay loop is split into two segments. There is an on-foot side scrolling style in the vein of 'Metroid', in which the train driver explores the largely abandoned train stations and towns. Said towns are not entirely abandoned, though; rather they are infested with gangs of monsters lurking in every hidden cabinet or sewer.

There are a limited number of weapons available to fight them off, including a pistol, shotgun and rifle. Ultimately the real problem with these sections is that, beyond the challenge of dispatching the enemy in a way that minimalises danger, these stations are entirely lacking in context. The gunplay is at least handled rather well, and the reward for headshots, as well as the differing enemy types, allow for skilled plays to be undertaken with a feeling of satisfaction in saving ammo.

Screenshot for The Final Station on PC

Though they have a slightly different aesthetic, there is not enough to make any more than 30 or so altered versions of the same weapons. Ammo is scarce throughout, so there is at least some incentive to explore in order to uncover more. However, this is not enough of a challenge. Go to the station and get the code in order to leave, that's all there is to it.

That leads on to the other half of the gameplay, which takes place on board the transport train. Having rescued some willing passengers that are fleeing to safety, it is the job of our trusty train driver to get them to the safe stations in one piece. Don't get excited, though, as this doesn't involve an exhilarating journey, but merely a few clicking exercises as the train regularly breaks down and some power manifold needs to be clicked in order to stop the poor travellers from suffocating.

There is nothing particularly wrong with it, but it could have used an additional challenge in order to make it feel more rewarding than simply getting paid for the safe delivery of passengers, which is then spent on food or health kits to help the next wave of passengers. It would have been cool if enemies attacked the train during the journey between stations, involving an on-board battle or something along those lines. As it is, it simply feels repetitive.

Screenshot for The Final Station on PC

Where The Final Station excels the most is in the visual presentation. It is a world that suits the grey-scale colour palette. A downtrodden industrial world that is on the verge of collapse in the cities, is contrasted against the picturesque countryside scenes before everything has gone to hell. There are a lot of great touches of detail in the backgrounds of the train journey which actually do more to set the context and lore for the world than the vague, abandoned notes do.

This is likewise true of the sound and music (or lack of). Music is used sparingly but is suitably sombre and subdued. There is no spoken dialogue of any kind, but background noises help with the world-building, such as the heavy train dully chugging along the track or the birds chirping before the society has collapsed.

Screenshot for The Final Station on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

The Final Station is a short and ultimately unsatisfying, uncreative journey. It is a short trip, sitting at around four hours to completion, with no incentive for additional exploration or replays. It is priced a reasonably modest rate, to reflect this playtime and that is possibly what turns what may have been a sour experience into a forgettable one. The gunplay on show is fairly entertaining and the game looks interesting enough, but each of the stations do not present enough challenge or lore to make them rewarding or memorable.

Developer

Oleg Sergeev, Andrey Rumak, Do My Best

Publisher

tinybuild

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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