The Final Station, and its new paired DLC The Only Traitor present a bleak scenario for humanity. 106 years after “The First Visitation” humanity is once again under attack by a mysterious enemy force. Referred to as “They” and “Them” many times throughout the game, the true face of the invaders is never seen. Instead you’ll be travelling from station to station on the Belus-07, an experimental train that requires constant maintenance from you as it’s multi-talented Conductor. The stations are full of transformed humans, ooze coated figures with gleaming eyes that shamble listlessly and attack on sight. On orders from the government, you do your best to rescue everyone you can and transport precious cargo to the major cities. While the DLC changes this formula slightly, it is told just after the events of the main story.
Honestly, the game isn’t what I was expecting going into it. At first glance I thought it would be a semi-random FTL style game, but with trains. The Final Station is closer to a guided adventure/exploration, with the train as a centerpiece for narration. Between each level you’ll be tending to the needs of your survivors and learning a whole bunch about the world via their conversations. The train requires an odd bit of maintenance in each of these travelling sections, but for the most part these repairs are momentary distractions from the story. Delivering passengers alive gives you a bonus in cash and items at each of the games major cities. Which can help you get food and medicine to help the next set of passengers, or weapon upgrades to make the infected stations easier to manage. Either way you will find yourself tight on every resource throughout the whole game.
Taking cues from successful survival horror games, you’ll always be scrambling to conserve health and ammo. I quickly learned to melee enemies to death whenever possible, and every chair, box and barrel becomes a valuable weapon in taking out the shambling infected enemies without using any precious bullets. The levels are handcrafted, and you will often find ammo or throwables right when you need them. If you find an exploding barrel, a crowded room is probably right around the corner. This leads to levels feeling a bit like a puzzle, each fight a challenge in dispatching your enemies efficiently.
From the first level, the games music and emotional ambiance are fantastic. The story is doled out to you in little scraps, from notes and emails and conversations you learn about things like The First Visitation as well as the ruling government and the preparations for the current attack. Most often the places you come across are ruined or overrun, the people you save believe that all hope is lost. Everywhere you turn are contingencies for this disaster, but most of the characters are acting as if it’s futile. Fallout style vaults are destroyed or under-prepared and it seems like everything is riding on your malfunctioning train (har har). If you played and enjoyed Limbo or Inside, I got a familiar feeling from The Final Station’s grim imagery. The story leaves much to the imagination, and when I finished the base game I quickly tore into The Only Traitor DLC to see if it answered any of my lingering questions.
The Only Traitor finds you in the shoes of a leather clad punk named Peter. While the Conductor was concerned with rescuing people and carrying out his orders, Peter very quickly makes it clear that he’s in it for himself. Your only goal is survival and that means you can’t save everyone, especially not with your two-seated muscle car. There are a number of survivors throughout the DLChowever, each with a slightly different skill set. Each time you find someone new you must make the decision of ditching your previous passenger or leaving a survivor to die. Peter only needs enough food, water and gas to make it to the next stop, so each level is a search for these while stumbling across cultists and survivors, and the ever-present infected. With a few new enemies, and some much larger levels the DLC adds a good amount gameplay wise while expanding the lore of the world considerably.
Both the base game and the DLC are entirely static, leaving little replay value beyond the many survivor dialogues the DLC boasts if you choose to pursue the achievements for rescuing all of them. With The Final Station clocking in at 4 hours, and the DLC sitting at just around 3 you’ll find a unique world with a great aesthetic, especially if you appreciate the retro pixel style. The game has been localized to English and a handful of other languages and I noticed a few translation slip-ups, but none serious enough to detract terribly from a fascinating story.
The publisher provided us with a copy of The Final Station for review purposes.