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Developed by Do My Best Games and published by tinyBuild, The Final Station is a side-scrolling horror shooter video game. Released in 2016, for the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Windows, this thriller was free for Xbox Gold members. Let’s take a look at The Final Station. Almost didn’t reach my final destination but I made it and wrote this Final Station Review!
The Final Station Plot:
There’s not much dialogue in The Final Station but there’s enough of it and few clues scattered around to give the player an idea of what’s going on. You are a train conductor in a world on the verge of a pandemic disaster. According to a few letters and one very old man, this pandemic occurred 106 years ago and was dubbed “The First Visitation”. During the First Visitation, large capsules about the size of cars fell from the sky and admitted a mysterious gas. The gas infected the humans and turned them into infected beings, covered in black slime that made them aggressive. I wouldn’t call them zombies, but they’d be very similar. The infection wiped out much of the civilization but humans were able to recover after the capsules stopped admitting gas.
Now, in the present-day capsules are falling from the sky again, turning humans into infected black slimes. The government has scientists and researchers working on a cure but they can’t even identify what the capsules are made of or what the gas is. Cities are starting to fall as the number of infected continues to rise. You are ordered to conduct one of the last operational trains in the region taking precious cargo from station to station so the government can build a giant robot called “the Guardian”. How a giant robot can defeat the outbreak, who knows but that seems to be the plan.
After making your way all around the region, facing deserted towns filled with infected, pockets of civilization, and dark tunnels, you deliver the final parts of the Guardian making it operational. During your missions, you keep trying to reach someone via the phone with no luck.
In the end, the Guardian is launched but is shown lying in the ground in a mess outside a large city. During the game, you can rescue civilians from towns and bring them to safety. The last person you rescue is a mysterious figure dressed like a hunter complete with a shotgun. Reading letters through the game, others have dreamed of this figure. He knows much more about the capsules and gas than anyone else you’ve encountered. He says the gas is medicine and that not all humans can handle it. He also seems to know a lot about you, without having met you before. The hunter informs you that you were protected from the gas by your train’s radiation but that you are still infected. The train breaks down and you start walking on foot toward your hometown slowly succumbing to your sickness.
You see the hunter in various places as he speaks to you about what is happening. When you reach your house it’s revealed that you were trying to reach your young daughter. The conductor succumbs to the disease and turns into one of the black slimes in his home before he can speak to his daughter. The hunter appears and lets you know that he’ll watch over your daughter before taking out his shotgun and killing the conductor.
There are a few interpretations of the story but my theory is that these capsules are not manmade or from the government since they don’t know what the material is. If they knew, they would have been able to come up with a cure. During a few missions you are meeting with the military and they keep saying “they” will be here soon. I think they are referring not only to the black slimes but possibly to an alien race. When you leave one of the stations, you travel through the night around mountains. The skyline is lit up with explosions and sounds of bombs and gunfire from perhaps an invasion. I still get goosebumps from my experience of this scene. Writing this Final Station review makes me want to start all over again.
The Guardian is pointless against the gas unless he is a secret vacuum cleaner. I bet the government assembled this giant robot in hopes of fighting the aliens back. The hunter, in my opinion, is an alien, knowing what the gas does and claiming it’s a “medicine” for humans. He seems to have the power of teleportation appearing before the conductor when he was just a few buildings behind. This is just my interpretation but I like it!
The Final Station Gameplay:
The Final Station takes about five hours to beat if you are exploring every room and floor of each station which I highly recommend. Some might not consider it a “horror” game but I would. Each station is filled “zombie” like humans waiting to attack you, hiding behind doors, in the dark or bathroom stalls. The graphics would be right at home on the Super Nintendo, but I found my favorite portions were the train sections where the environment would scroll behind you. It was a little preview of what you’d be facing in a few moments and on more than one occasion the atmosphere was perfectly eerie. The best scene was when the train was silently navigating through the mountains in the night with some type of “invasion” or battle going on just over the hills filled with loud explosions and lighting up the hills. That moment was perfect and it captured the uneasy feeling of the game perfectly. You never are too far from danger. Every door and floor will be holding secrets and danger. Tread carefully.
The game is split into two different gameplays, one is the side-scrolling shooter where the conductor explores cities and train stations uncovering the truth about the “visitation”, pillaging for food, medicine, and ammunition. You’re equipped with a pistol, shotgun, and rifle. At first, you may feel inclined to shoot everything sight but during my Final Station review I learned there is more than one way to kill the black slimes with other forces. Exploring every building was crucial to finding survivors who you could take on the train and receive rewards from when delivering them to safety. Each exploration level ended when you found the four-digit code for the train to continue onto the next track.
If you weren’t searching train stations and cities, you were conducting the train. These levels were short, lasting one to two minutes max but there was a lot to do with small mini-games. Each time the train was running, something would go wrong, some gadget or gear would need tuning to keep the train rolling. If you neglected it or didn’t fix the issue, the train would halt.
During the train rides, you would have to tend to your passengers who were constantly hungry or succumbing to injuries. You need to divide your time wisely between tuning the train, making supplies, and feeding/treating your passengers in the span of a few minutes. It was a fun portion of The Final Station but strategy came into play. A few times I got lazy on checking my passengers and two of them ended up dying. I was pissed! Each passenger that survives will reward you like money or ammunition.
I loved the Final Station, it’s a spooky game that you can beat over the weekend but I will leave you with a warning. My Final Station review score will drop considerably because of one issue. During the second-to-last level, I ran into a game-breaking glitch. When you interact with an object it will glow with a white line around it. It’s how you pick up objects, open doors and read letters. I was required to visit an office but whenever I went to the door it wouldn’t glow. I was having issues on this level with other objects and constantly had to walk back-and-forth for them to light up even if it was for a split second. Doors that were once easy to open took 20 seconds for the game to light them up. The office door didn’t light up at all. I restarted the level multiple times, shut off the console a few times but nothing worked. I thought the game was broken and I was very upset because I was at the end and loved the game up until that point.
I didn’t believe I’d be able to continue with the game. I even looked it up on forums seeing if it was a common glitch but I didn’t find anything. Finally, after running back-and-forth through the door a hundred times it started to glow for a split second. It took me another few minutes to mash the button for it to work. It’s too bad that such a great game was ruined because of that near game-breaking glitch and I feel like I had to discuss it in my Final Station review.
This game was free with Xbox Gold and I had no idea what it was. I took a chance playing it and couldn’t put it down. I loved it from start to finish except for that stupid glitch which almost killed it.
The Final Station Review Score:
A retro game crafted with a mysterious story, great platforming, spooky enemies and a great atmosphere make for a fun playthrough.
The Final Station scores a 7 out of 10. If the glitch didn’t occur you’re looking at a score closer to 8.5… but I take glitches serious!
What would you write in your Final Station review? What did you think of The Final Station? What’s your interpretation of the story? Was it spooky for you and did you run into any glitches? Let me know your thoughts and memories, I’d love to read them!
If you want to own The Final Station you can download it on various consoles for $15.