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Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 5.9 hrs on record
Posted: Jul 6, 2017 @ 2:30am

The Final Station is an interesting game that keeps you busy while telling an interesting story that only slightly overstays it's welcome.

The game universe is dark and discouraging; there's monsters everywhere, almost nobody survives, and the people you save always seem on the edge of death. You and your train are the single shining beacon of encouragement in this dark world

The gameplay is generally fun and exciting. The combat and exploration mechanics are smooth, and the game does a good job of FEELING like you are on the edge of poverty while simultaneously giving you everything you need. If anything, the game gets to become a little too routine and could have ended about one station segment earlier without losing it's impact.

The downsides are few, but greatly impact the enjoyment of the game; the translation is bad bordering on atrocious, which can be very detrimental to the story, as it's very high concept and told to you through a series of unreliable narrators. The actual combat gets to be a bit monotonous, and the large maps can end up feeling spread out and sparse. While part of this can be explained by the universe the game exists in (you are, after all, stopping at empty cities and industrial complexes which would be huge), it causes the end of the game to drag out at just the moment it should be speeding up.

The biggest flaw, frankly, is the resource management portion of the game on the train. Having to maintain 3-5 devices (where lack of maintenance starts killing your passengers), and distributing two rare resource (medical packs and food), often keeps you running around not giving you a chance to listen to the worldbuilding discussions going on in the passenger compartment. More than once I had a passenger die at the very last minute due to lack of resources, or grabbing from the wrong dispenser at first, which can be very frustrating after you've spent 5 segments nursing their bleeding only to fail at the last second due to grabbing a food instead of health pack.

Spoiler Alert

The game is soul crushing and depressing, but once you see the credit and see how many Russian names there are it all makes a whole lot more sense. This is not an "AMERICA, EFF YEAH!" game where we save the day and kill all the bad guys. This is a dark race against the clock against an implacable foe with no clear motivations and a propensity to eat up all your resources. You are expected to fail, and surviving until the (somewhat unsatisfactory) ending is in no way guaranteed.

The Government has reverse engineered everything from The First Visitation, and hints are strong that they are personally responsible for the Second, and maybe even the First. Bureaucracy at first appears to have just been put in your way out of bureaucratic spite, but you start to feel more sinister overtones by the end. High falutin' names like The Blacksmith build a giant robot to fight against the Visitation, but many (in game, and out of the game) wonder what good a giant robot is to gas clouds that corrupt humans? The answer? It's all a scam. Something to distract the terrified masses and give them hope. The vaults in this game have more than one echo of the vaults in Fallout, where they appear to be experimental grounds for the Visitation "Medicine." You're told it's not a disease, but medicine. And medicine is designed to cure something. What could they be curing? When you reach Metropole at the end of the game, everyone is healthy and unconcerned about a plague that only affects the rural small towns and non-elites. The elites have built teleporters and now trains are no longer required, therefore, you yourself eventually succumb as an unnecessary appendage of an age gone by.

It's dark, and reminds me of the anime "Millennium Actress," in that it's less about telling a complete story, and more about opening up a universe for discussion and thought. It gets a bit tedious at the end, but the game itself is fun, and has lead to multiple hours of mulling and discussion about the world we experienced and what it can tell us about the human condition. Deep, for a game about driving trains and shootin' zombies.
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