Hello and welcome to my review of the game Late Shift. Despite the official TA review of the game, which is much more technical and in-depth, I’d just like to explain my experience with the game and why I think it’s really a fantastic throwback. For achievement-hunting purposes, the guide by Alf Ganikiller is very in-depth and helpful.
The game uses Full Motion Video to tell its’ story, in the same vein as The Bunker recently. Primarily, FMV was widely used in the 90’s in great games such as Wing Commander, Dark Forces II, Rebel Assault, there was a terrible X-Files game for Playstation, etc., the list goes on. Luckily for us, technology has improved to the point where it also makes for a nearly seamless experience.
Basically, you play the game from the perspective of Matt, a young Londoner who is preoccupied with probability, as he is studying to become some sort of Mathematician. At night, however, he’s the attendant for an affluent apartment building’s garage, where he pines for vehicles that would keep him “in school for a decade.”
The plot thickens when he’s kidnapped by a car thief who was on his way to a larger heist. At one point, Matt alludes to a shadier past, which I suppose gives you an excuse as to why Matt can so easily cooperate with the plan, if you chose to. As someone who has played the game and completed it, I can tell you that sometimes the choices that make the most sense are the least helpful or productive.
I freely admit that I’m biased in favor of this game, so my objectivity is slightly skewed. If I had to step back and critique it though, I would say on the technical side that the video occasionally freezes, and then moves at an accelerated speed to catch up. This is small, but it takes me out of the moment. Story wise, the game is a little bit on rails at times, with some predetermined outcomes, no matter how you’re acting. It’s just odd when in one scene you’re joking with someone, and in the next they want to kill you. Also, the game doesn’t give you much time to make your dialogue choices.
It’s hard to chart the plot because there are so many variables. The game is tailored to how you play it, like the TellTale games. However, it is also reminiscent of Mass Effect. You reap what you sow. You could be a goodie-2-shoes and subvert the plan or run to the cops. You can play it middling, where you’re pragmatic enough to go along with the heist, but you have some lines that you simply won’t cross. Lastly, you can play it full-on Renegade Shepard, where you’re the alpha.
Being a dick to everyone is always good for a laugh, but I found that the game leads you to the ideal playthrough. Some courses of action simply make more sense than others. For example, there’s a point where you must make a choice entering a security code. There is an achievement tied to this, but aside from that, if you’re going along with the plan, why would you purposely enter the wrong code? There should be some logic to your behavior.
In conclusion, the best part is that you can complete the game in under 40 minutes. Not only is it entertaining and suspenseful, but it’s fast enough to warrant multiple playthroughs, and as a completionist, I usually hate to retrace my steps. Each playthrough I pick up on something I missed the previous time through. This is not a game where you run around shooting monsters. This is a story-driven experience with a lot of dialogue. An experience, I might add, that is well-worth your time.