Oleg Sergeev and Andrey Rumak bring us the Final Station, a game about a man, his train, and the apocalypse. Apocalypse, you say? Hasn’t this been done time and time again? Yes, but not in the way The Final Station does it.
In the Final Station, we assume the role of a normal train operator. From the start, we know that something is up. Areas in the map go silent with no communication. Suddenly, we are thrust in a perilous position. Drive our train between stations, carrying unknown cargo. In the meantime, mankind is assaulted by some kind of zombie like monsters, who have apparently visited before. It is our job to go from station to station, rescuing survivors and trying to stay alive.
The game is split into two parts. The first is the 2D action part. Whenever we reach a new station, we can’t just leave for the next one immediately. Before we are able to do that, we need to find a code in each station, which lets us proceed. To do that, we must venture out from the station, through hordes of undead. While we are armed with guns and we do get to improve them, in The Final Station fighting is not the only way. Many times we will encounter too many enemies to fight, in which case we’ll need to find a way around them. On the other hand, if we manage to persevere, we usually get rewarded. With this in mind, wandering around stations becomes a strategy game, where we have to decide which path to follow in order not only to survive, but to not run out of bullets as well.
The second part of the game is less fun. When going from station to station, we will need to make repairs on our train. Doing this requires nothing more that a few clicks, but it is not a one-off thing. Rather, a specific part of the train continues to break down no matter how many times we fix it, for the entirety of the trip. This gets really old really fast, especially if you consider that it is during the train sequences where the story moves forward, either through speaking with the people on board your train or through talking to other train operatives and the higher-ups through the train’s console.
One mechanic that makes the 2D action part of the game even more fun and the train one less tedious is the survivors. While wandering the stations, there are times when we mind happen upon people who are still alive. By taking these guys on our train, we put ourselves in danger, as we do not know what they might do. However, by taking the survivors to the hub city at the end of each act (where we can also purchase upgrades, consumables and weapons) we get rewards. Keeping a survivor alive while on the train requires two things: Medicine and food. We find both of these while in stations, looting. This adds another layer of strategy to the game, as we get to decide whether a survivor’s life is more important than conserving bullets.
Coming to the story, this is what might end up splitting most people. While the rest of the game’s good and bad parts are (at least I feel they are) pretty objective, the story is more of a grey area. While I do not want to spoil anything, I will say that after you finish the game, you will be left with many, many questions. Now, depending on how you aproach lore in games, this is either good or bad. Personally, I enjoy reading theories about games and trying to craft my own, so The Final Station is right up my alley. For others, however, it might be different. If you don’t like being puzzled and confused by a game, this might not be for you.
Regarding the game’s look and sound, they are both very well done. The art for the game, especially the backgrounds, are beautiful and detailed, while the animations are top notch. Moreover, despite the fact that the enemies we face are basically black sludge with no details apart from the eyes, they game’s creators have managed to make them scary, mainly through their look. Moreover, while they all look the same, there are some great details which distingush one type of enemy from the next very easily. Top props should go to the music, however. While unobtrusive, it manages to create a very creepy and unsettling atmosphere, keeping us on the edge of our seats.
And that is The Final Station. A game with a very fun action part and story that is more than meets the eye, that sadly is not as good as it could be, on account of the train sequences. However, that’s not to say the game is bad or unplayable by any stretch of the imagination. If you love a compelling story or some 2D action, this is definitely a game you should check out.
You can find The Final Station on Steam for 15 euros.
The Final Station offers an immersive apocalyptic experience, only slightly marred by its train travel scenes. Its superb music will completely absorb you into the game. Although the apocalypse theme has been overdone in gaming, The Final Station manages to stay fresh and exciting.
+ The game’s music and story
+ The Action part
+ The survivor system
– The train sequences
-Philip “Snowchill” Alexandris