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Since the beginning of the ‘modern era’ within the video-game industry, people always went out of their way in order to make as many comparisons to the film industry as possible. Titles such as LA Noire, or Heavy Rain, were always at the forefront of such debates, as both titles relied heavily on their narrative rather than the action, which many usually associate with video-games. However, now the sheer definition of the term video-game has expanded so much, that many projects that could be described as applications just as long as five years ago, have now earned a status as fully fledged video-games. Walking simulators such as Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and full motion video games like Her Story, have shed the façade of a ‘classic video game’, and started creating new genres, or like in the case of Her Story, revived ones that many would deem as long gone.

Full motion video games have been around since the mid 80’s, and just like Her Story, titles such as Mad Dog McCree have combined the art of cinematography with the core of video-games in order to create an experience of its own. However, now 30 years later, game developers have gone a step further and have stripped the FMV titles of their archaic video-game mechanics and created interactive, choose your own adventure films, such as the recently released Late Shift.

Late Shift, unlike the previously mentioned Her Story, is stripped completely from any video-game related mechanics. Yes, the title in question revolves in its entirety around a simple selection system, but it’s far removed from the complex mechanics that many associate with current-gen games. And in the long run, such an approach is beneficial to the title, as it doesn’t create an immersion breaking dissonance between the player and the story that the game is trying to convey. However, despite the visible effort that developers have exerted over the entirety of this project, the immersion which is impeccable throughout the initial hour long playthrough, ultimately shatters as soon as ten minutes into the second run.

When experiencing the Late Shift for the first time, all that matters is the story, which the player is directly experiencing. And throughout, the player’s attention is completely focused on what may happen next, and what choice should be applied to the arisen circumstance. But once the player gets accustomed with all the ins-and-outs of the plot, all the following playthroughs become an absolute mess.

Despite being a thriller, Late Shift, is not nearly as well written, or structured as the films of the very same genre, such as the critically acclaimed North by Northwest. And that’s okay, because unlike Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Late Shift is a compound entity, which consists of numerous scenes which revolve around each other depending on the choices made by the player. However, during one playthrough it takes the protagonist an entire night to get from location A to location Z by simply heading directly to it, then inn the other playthrough, the very same protagonist can get kidnapped, interrogated and tortured, and he then has enough time to leave, get into an altercation with a group of drunks, head to a hospital, intimidate a patient, and still get to the location Z within the same time frame.

Structural issues such as the one listed above are problematic and appear throughout the title. But they are nothing in comparison to the lapses in logic and the mental gymnastics which are applied throughout the title. Very early in the game, the protagonist refers to Maserati Gran Turismo as ‘’£200,000 sports car’’, where in reality, the very same car, costs only as much as £100,000, and even that is stretching it.

The issue related to the price of the Maserati is minor, however, it is problematic just like all the other inconsistencies which persist throughout the story of Late Shift. At one point, one of the side characters is concerned with the fact, that one of the heist members might have left some DNA traces when bleeding on the floor of an underground car park. However, the very same person doesn’t find anything wrong with robbing a multi-million antique auction with no gloves on. Even after another member of the group nearly kills one of the employees, with his bare hands, nobody is concerned with the fingerprints left on the staff-only elevator, the keypad, or even the body itself.

The logical flaws are a major issue when combined together, and once the player experiences enough of them, the joy which came from the initial playthrough of the title completely disappears. And the above example is still not as big as other problems, which arise from further examination of the plot. And it’s truly a shame, because the first hour which many will spend with the game is great, but it’s only an hour. And considering that it will cost you nearly £10, you may be better off looking for enjoyment elsewhere, as it would be cheaper to watch a Hollywood standard film in a cinema, than it is to purchase the rather average Late Shift.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.