Written by: Sage the Cosplaya
I am a sucker for a good indie game. A nice game that can have a wonderful impact on you, unlike many mainstream games. I’m looking at you, Call of Duty.
A few days ago, I stumbled upon The Final Station, an indie game from Tiny Build. This developer has made a good amount of solid games in the past.
So, what is this game about?
I’d love to tell you, but I don’t know myself! The story is actually the biggest issue. You are not given a prologue or any indication of what the world is like before you begin. You wake up and begin your journey to ride the worst Thomas The Tank Engine ever made.
Okay, it’s more that you travel and deliver cargo that is supposed to maybe save the world from another invasion? Along the way, you pick up rescuers, keep them alive, and drop them off. You also fight off mysterious blackened slimy creatures that were once human beings; that, too.
So what is the good in the game?
What story there is seems fascinating. It has a unique premise. One of the best levels is a mansion, which seems empty at first. You see a few hints of the story in this level. Then, once when you go underground, the real story of this house and its owner, begins. The music is beautiful; it adds the necessary ambiance that makes you feel as though this tragic world is at the end of its days.
The scenery in the train sections are great. It is pixelated art, but when you see it in terms of story for locations or events, it really leaves a impact. The mood and how it changes is done very well.
So what is so bad about it?
As I’ve said before: THE STORY. To me, any game, regardless of graphics, can be great as long as it has a compelling story to tell. So, lets break this down.
In each level, you get scraps of paper and messages about the people in that level. That is nice, but it rarely contributes to the overall story. You do get some story-driven dialogue from the passengers on the train. This story-driven dialogue would be great to hear… but you can’t because you have to rush to feed the passengers and give them first-aid kits to prevent them from dying. Also, you have to rush to keep and maintain this train from hurting the passengers. You can not listen to all of the dialogue, which is frustrating.
Also, when you can speak to people, you don’t say anything. Instead, the game just displays, “….” and they respond to it. But not like Groot and Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, where you do get what they are saying despite them not saying anything.
There is honestly a part to the climax of the game where you have to talk to people about changing plans in order to save everyone. The exchange is bascially:
“Hey, glad you made it!”
“Really? Well, go to this place.”
“I agree. I hope this plan works.”
What plan? What was wrong with the original plan? What made you want to come up with this new plan? How can we execute this plan? EXPLAIN, GAME!
The ending is another huge flaw (spoilers at the end). It feels rushed and, at parts, abandoned. Even after completing the game, I have watched others play and still have the same reaction. I have a lot of questions that do not get answered.
“Its the journey, not the destination,” you might say. NO! FALSE! When you spend hours getting involved in a game or in a series like LOST, you’re dedicated. The story has you. There are mysteries that you want resolved. You get to the ending and it is such a let down that it ruins the journey and you feel like you just wasted so much of your life. That is this game.
One final flaw: the money/craft system. Throughout the game, you raid bodies, lockers and bathrooms for loot and money. The loot allows you to craft ammo and first aid kits on the train, which you have to do when everyone is talking about the story. Also, if you keep the passengers alive, you get some cash or ammo as rewards. After every act, you get to a city where you can you buy food, meds, and ammo. At one point though, you go to a city and you can no longer buy anything. Ok? But afterwords you still need meds, and you still go to loot for money and crafts, which is pointless because you can not use them again, and there is not a New Game+ to use them on. It’s pointless.
Overall, I give The Final Station a 3/5 trains. It has so much potential for a good ride, but it derails and crashes.
Throughout the game, you are told The Guardian will be the hope to save the world. You transfer cargo to help it launch. Along the way, you are given orders to take alternative routes instead, have shady people tell you that you will be working for them instead. Because orders.
You also find out these creatures are not aliens. The government launched capsules that release a gas that will make people smarter and stronger and better… annnnd it turns them into creatures. Many though, do not turn from the gas. As you deliver, you suspect that something isn’t right, but you are never given enough detail to fully explain it. The climax is that you have your own plan to help the world because The Guardian won’t work? It’s vague.
The plan? You just travel. And along the way you meet a guy with a gun who is apparently THE G MAN from Half Life. Supposedly, he knows everything but won’t tell you a thing. Also, though you leave him behind, you meet him ahead of you multiple times. Somehow.
You go to a prison because… reasons? You see a man in in a maximum security chamber. He seems important right? Nope. You don’t get anything special and no story is explained. Just passing through.
Towards the end, you start coughing up the black slime. You are turning into one of those creatures… but, you have been exposed to this outside world for days. No symptoms until the last level. Ok? You travel all the way back to your house. You find out you had a daughter, Not that it matters in any way. Then you turn and the G Gunman kills you. The End.
You can see why this falls flat. No real explanations, and no payoff. The mansion level that I mentioned earlier? The owner kills a bunch of people/creatures and uses the blood to drink it. You meet the owner and all he says is, “It didn’t work.” You cant kill him, he just sits there. In another level, you are in an underground facility. Creatures are everywhere, but at one part there is just a man reading the paper. He looks like he is evil. He only says that he doesn’t need help and to run along. Ok? This game had potential, but it will end up being a forgotten game along with many others…