The Last Stop is a new narrative adventure game, similar to Telltale’s output back in their heyday. It’s a distinctly British story, set in London, with three intertwining narratives. There’s six episodes in each narrative, each 20 minutes long. The format is not unlike a TV series, with cliffhangers at the end of each episode, and if you’re so inclined, it’s also featured as part of Xbox’s Game Pass.
The developers of The Last Stop, Variable State, also made the narrative adventure Virginia. I loved this game for the things that it did that you really don’t see in other games, like smash cuts from one scene to another; a very impressive technical achievement on PS4. There were two things about Virginia that I didn’t love though: the lack of dialogue and that I wasn’t ready for it to end when it did. The Last Stop remedies both of those issues, giving us a fantastic voice cast and a much longer game.
The three stories of The Last Stop are quite tonally different. One is a body swap buddy comedy, one is a delinquent teen relationship/sci-fi drama, and the other is a more serious story about a woman cheating on her husband with the backdrop of her work for an intelligence agency. All three stories are enjoyable, but I found the protagonist of the last one, Meena, to be the least likeable. I assume that was either down to my personal choices or by design from the devs, but I suppose I’ll never know!
The best story was the teen delinquent one, starring Donna, her family, and her fellow teen friends. In this story Donna’s best friend Vivek sees a strange man doing something suspicious, and the teens decide to follow him. As you might expect there is something weird going on, and the teens end up confronting the stranger. Everything sort of spirals from here, but Variable State is able to balance the relationship drama of the group of teens and the issues Donna’s family is going through together very well with the sci-fi story.
I think that the story of The Last Stop falls down a little in its final chapter. While the ending was well written and enjoyable, it felt like none of the main characters got a chance to shine in their final outing. I won’t spoil anything here, but I was mildly disappointed as it felt like they took the least interesting path to finish up and it was a little predictable. Also the different tones of each story don’t really vibe well with each other, which makes the final chapter that closes all three feel a little disjointed.
Gameplay-wise you actually have a lot of control of your characters, which surprised me for a game with such a strong and linear narrative. Most conversations in the game take place while walking somewhere too, which meant that I was always paying attention to the screen. A smart idea in a world where even the shortest loading screen can prompt you to check Twitter!
The Last Stop takes a little from Telltale in having some quick time events as well. In order to run faster while out for a jog with a friend I had to tap LB and RB in sequence to mimic my feet hitting the ground. When I had breakfast with my daughter I had to rotate the left stick to sip my morning coffee. There are some less mundane actions to perform as well, like sneaking into a building by holding down a specific chain of buttons – forcing you into a sort of claw grip on the controller. There’s also a rhythm game section where you play the piano in the pub (which I nailed 100% so it wasn’t that difficult). I didn’t fail any of these gameplay sections, so they’re fairly easy, but I found them to be a fun diversion from the main gameplay of walking around or having conversations.
I played the game via Game Pass on the Xbox Series S, and I had no performance issues aside from a little choppiness during the piano playing section. I would imagine you’d see none of that on a Series X, PS5 or a capable gaming PC. Visually the game has a really nice but simple style to it, which really compliments the stories being told very well. While it doesn’t look like the characters were motion-captured I think they were really expressive and not too over the top. I thought the voice acting across the board was really strong too.
As you can probably tell from reading this I had a great time playing The Last Stop. While I don’t think the end of the story comes together as well as I would have wanted it to, I would still recommend playing it. If you’ve liked Telltale’s brand of narrative adventure games in the past then I am sure you would really like this. It’s especially good as part of Xbox Game Pass, if you’re curious then why not play the first chapter of each story there as it should only take roughly an hour. I know I was instantly hooked, and I can’t wait to see what Variable State makes next!