(Review) The Final Station W/ The Only Traitor DLC

The Final Station is set in a world where weird pill-looking things fell out of the sky and now there are weird zombie creatures hanging around that will try to attack you. Coincidence? I think not! It’s a side-scrolling metroidvania-lite melee/shooter with a creepy atmosphere. You’ll be worrying about what’s behind every door and even more so when you dig into the DLC when they add more crazy zombie types. How well does it all play out? Does it continue to be interesting or get dull as it comes to a conclusion? Does it Dark Souls me in the face and make me quit? Let’s break it down.

Sometimes it’s not the stories fault for losing the audience, but the writing. I do find it funky how this got through, but the game wasn’t bogged down with them.

The Final Station is eerie and stressful. It’s not very scary, but there is tension abounding here. You’ll work your way through train station after train station to get codes to unlock your train from a dock. Unless this is some sort of security measure to make sure people don’t steal the trains, this is a horrendous system to put in place since it depends on people. These codes are, of course, inconveniently placed because people can’t be troubled to be where their work station is during normal working hours. I understand that people have lives, but do all of them have to be taking a break or dealing with something when I get there. Talk about rude. Unless they were all simply avoiding me… The train already has enough issues including passengers that require aid and parts that break on you, this whole system needs an upgrade!

Some of these people seem like they enjoy bleeding out; it can be rather frustrating. Just apply some freak’n pressure man! There’s six of you on this train, can’t one of you help?!?

You’ll work your way through towns and offices to try to find the person who had the code all the while trying not to die to these zombie-esque baddies. You learn, as you go, that these monsters are actually just people who were changed by the gas coming out of the big capsules that came from the sky. On one hand it’s cool to know, on the other hand it doesn’t matter where they came from because they are trying to kill you so they need to go. You can find a pistol, a shotgun and boxes to throw along the way to defend yourself, but I took most things out with my fists because I was worried about running out of ammo (even though I learned most of the way through the game that you can craft more from the things you loot).

At some point, I guess, there was a conspiracy to take my train… not while I’ve got my trusty shotgun! (Actually, I think that’s the rifle in the picture, but whatever.)

The main goal, as you’ll learn as you progress, isn’t simply to get to the final station, but you’re just trying to get to your final stop: home. On your way home, you are simply doing your job and trying to get as many people to safety as you can. You don’t seem to be in much of a hurry in as much as one wouldn’t want to hang out in monster infested areas. The tone throughout The Final Station, was very somber and that helped when the times got a little tough. The atmospheric music created an “it’s not that bad, it could be worse” feeling in me as I went, so in as much as I took my time, I didn’t feel like I was in much of a threat, but I couldn’t rest easy or I’d get my butt handed to me.

If you’re not careful, some situations can end really poorly for you. Luckily, there is no life system in The Final Station.

The story is fairly interesting, but the interaction is kind of weird. Your character is less involved in the story and more walking through the world while the story is happening to the world around him. You play an active role only in as much as you get people to safety as they talk about conspiracy theories and wonder if you’re going to do something terrible to them. You get to see the world try to take the fight to whatever the threat is and how that pans out.

It may not be a Gundam, but it’s still pretty sweet looking for a giant defender robot… even if I’m not sure what they are defending us from.

Contrast that with The Only Traitor DLC. The music kept the same atmospheric feel, but combat was different. You came off as a stronger person. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill train operator (no offense to run of the mill train operators of course). You start with a bat and a sweet ride and you’ve got to get to a shelter because… well the world is kind of coming to an end around you. Unlike the train your drive in the previous version, your car only has one other seat since throwing someone in the boot to transport them would be theoretically uncool. You’ve got to be a bit pragmatic in your approach here because each person has certain qualities that make them worth it. Are they better at conversation so as to not drive you nuts or maybe they are better at making ammo or applying first aid (my personal choice)? You can bring only one, and that means you leave everyone else there. No worries, you won’t be guilted here with dialogue, your character knows the situation and tells it like it is.

“Well Harry, you’re terrible with a hammer, but you can use a band-aid… that earns you a spot in my car.” Also, I love the pixel art here.

Baddies die a bit easier with the bat, but you’ll get your trusty pistol and shotgun back as well. Once again, I mainly used the bat as I didn’t want to run low on ammo (which came off as less of a danger here). There are a few different zombie types to watch out for here like some that enrage and others that don’t die like they should the first time. The bat is all fun and cool, but sometimes you’ll realize that hanging out with some of these enemies isn’t the best when in hugging distance.

Heh, tell that to the guy in the trunk…

The story is happening in the background of the original story. It doesn’t quite overlap overtly, but you’ll learn more about the goings on in one of the bunkers and with the local gang/cult that’s rounding people up for nefarious reasons. Here in lies my issue with the story or both. They do share a few characters and their importance is lost on me with all of the gameplay. I almost feel like should have been taking notes. In as much as the story was neat and political (in their world, thankfully not ours) I did miss out on why certain things happened and was really confused on the crap what going on at the end of the DLC. This is one where I’ll have to play both over again to hopefully get it. I did enjoy it even if I didn’t fully understand it. I would be doing that now, but I’ve got other games to play, but I’ll be back.

So near the end of the game you get a shirt that is black while you run and maroon when you stand still: The Ultimate Upgrade!
The Final Station and it’s DLC is a fantastic experience and way deeper than I anticipated. There is more story here than the game lets on. The gameplay is fluid and fun and tense through both adventures. It has some tough parts for those of us who like to mainly focus on melee because we’re masochists and most could be solved with a few bullets. The toughest battle would be the passengers on the train needing help and deciding if the next stop is close enough to not feed a person to save supplies. Thankfully the DLC replaced the train with a bat that never broke down on me. The story seems lost on some and I’ll give you that because you really have to be paying attention to be able to pull some out, but I’ve loved movies I didn’t get the first I watched them. Not that it needs it, but an HD remake of this (still as a platformer) would probably help get this a bit more love, but as it stands, it will probably be one of those games that a good chunk of us will talk about being amazing and others not knowing what we’re talking about.

Further Reading on The Final Station: FacebookOfficial Page / Steam / Twitter

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