Last shutdown on PC
As an avid reader of fantastic books, I am a fan of a storytelling adventure that tells a story through multiple points of view. Novels like Game of Thrones allow you to view the ongoing events of the overall plot through the prism of multiple perspectives, changing the way you view them. So when Last Stop was revealed in 2019, its multi-character sci-fi lens immediately caught my eye.
The three Last Stop stars make an interesting bunch, as John, the overworked middle-aged dad, spaced high school girl Donna, and ruthlessly ambitious pro Meena just couldn’t be more different. Honestly, I loved the contrast of these characters right off the bat, as each experience allowed for a variety of themes and tones to be expressed.
With John, you have a story of fatherhood and hardship; through Donna there are many lessons on growth and confidence; and with Meena, work-life balance and family are central.
Whatever story you’re most interested in, Last Stop asks players to go through them in a chapter-by-chapter format. To progress through each stage, you will have to play through each of John, Donna and Meena’s experiences.
At first, I didn’t really play favorites in terms of which character I liked to play the most, as the gameplay loop was pretty much the same in each. For the most part, you simply walk along linear routes while speaking with an NPC via timed dialogue choices.
Although your choice of answer will vary the conversations slightly, it does not affect the outcome of the situation. It doesn’t matter if your response was sassy or kind, every event always ends the same.
And while each character has twists and turns in the gameplay, they don’t really add to the game as a whole. John’s unique gameplay is a simple button variation mini-game, where Donna had me do tasks like throw bottles or delete photos on her phone.
Meena is the only exception to this, as controlling her and investigating an area was fun and required a bit of skill. To navigate this section, I had to find notes, keys and passwords that could only be found by looking around.
Unfortunately, I was only able to do this once towards the end of the game. The rest of the sections in Meena were quite simplified, with the game just having me move the cursor to make her look at a particular area in order to get informations.
Fortunately, these shortcomings did not matter too much since the narrative more than makes up for it. As things progress, each story immerses you in a unique mystery, comprising a body swap, magical portals, and a strange man-angel.
Because of that, pretty much every chapter has put me on the edge of my seat for every character wanting to know more. In one section, I was eager to take on the role of Meena first, while another itched to know what was going on with Donna. If I had to pick a favorite it would be John.
Although it is a story of a body swap with a stranger, John and Jack’s odd couple situation is oddly relatable and wholesome. It has a lot to do with Molly, John’s daughter, stealing the scene every time she’s there with adorable jokes and hilarious opinions.
It’s also pretty comical to see John and Jack trying to make their way through each day trying to be the other person, the two even trying to plan each other’s day in a heist-type conversation. While it might sound like an odd scene, the result was so funny that it made me cringe.
Sadly, while I loved the story for the first part of things, Last Stop really starts to crumble in the second half. The characters begin to make decisions that seem silly or inconsistent with their personalities, and things happen that aren’t really well explained.
While interesting, Donna’s story progression ended up being the most disappointing, as little or nothing is explained about her situation or the antagonist she faces. What does the angel man want from him? What are his powers? It literally never can be explained.
And while Meena and John’s stories made a bit more sense, even their situations felt unnatural for the sole purpose of connecting each tale. As a result, when they all meet, it all feels forced and weird.
Without going into too many details, each character finds himself transported in a very strange setting, meeting by chance. The circumstances surrounding all of this are so out of left field that I felt like I was playing a completely different game as Chapter 7 progressed.
Eventually, they all return to London together, sailing never to talk about what happened to them. This is where the game completely loses me, as it gives an A or B decision for each character regardless of the choices you’ve made so far.
Of course, this is nothing new for choice-based narrative games. So what’s the big deal? Pretty much every ending is a full downer.
Seriously, there’s probably one of the six possible endings that wasn’t depressing, and even that leaves someone in a wheelchair. The whole thing is confusing, as the endings and the entirety of Chapter 7 completely negate all the fun I have felt for the game in my last six hours of playing.
Ultimately, Last Stop is an entertaining journey that goes completely off the rails in its final half, failing to execute on the interesting ideas it comes up with at the start. I know the endings shouldn’t hurt the rush, but when playing an almost entirely narrative, character-driven title, I couldn’t help but feel a disappointment when the credits rolled.
- Great story of multiple POV.
- John, Jack and Molly are all fascinating characters.
- Intriguing mystery.
- Trying to tie stories together doesn’t feel natural.
- Adjustment of chapter 7.
- Fine downer.