I saw an intriguing game around a month ago, while looking through my list of recommended people to follow on Twitter. What I found was a game called The Last Time, which appeared to mix two of my favourite things – crime stories and point and click adventures. Having the game be based in England made it doubly as enticing as well, and so I was extremely happy when I saw that it had been released earlier this month.
The Last Time boasts a story that is entirely controlled by your decisions, which isn’t entirely true, as there is a definite route through the game, but every single one of your decisions will have an affect on the journey you take. Big Cow, the developer, definitely took a leaf out of Telltale Games’ book with the “actions have consequences” mechanic, but implemented it much better. Every single thing I did or said had an effect on what happened in the game, which is always the Telltale promise, but even a small conversation with someone can change the course of what happens, and so each time I said something, I immediately wished I’d said something else so I could’ve seen a different outcome! This opens up so much story to play and I don’t think I’ve played a game with such replay value in a very long time. It’s not like you can find your way through the story and be done with it. As soon as you finish it, you’ll wonder what would’ve happened if you had chosen to do something slightly differently, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be spending hours going through each action.
To follow on from that point, the story is incredibly well written. Considering you could approach it from several different angles, it absolutely has to be, and I can’t imagine the work that went into it, but full kudos to the writer as it just flows so well. It all comes together perfectly as well, there isn’t any section of it where I thought it was being unrealistic, and there are so many aspects along the way that came out of nowhere and shocked me. I even consider myself pretty good at seeing things coming, but time after time, the game led me down one direction only to be left completely dumbstruck by the events that followed.
I’m a sucker for pixel art, I know some people see pixel art as a returning to a cruder era, but that is definitely not an opinion I share. Pixel art is amazing when it’s done well, and I absolutely love how The Last Time looks. Bright, vibrant colours are used throughout, and although it’s pixellated, the artist nails everything. If something is there to scare you, then it will scare you. There are a few scenes in there that are brilliantly designed, and walking through them is an absolute delight.
There are a couple of negatives that I found when I played it though – minor things really, but still things that impacted my enjoyment of the game. First of which was there was a lot of silence in the game, which isn’t always a bad thing, but atmosphere in a point and click adventure is everything, and a good song – be it an upbeat little tune or a more atmospheric theme – can emphasise everything that is going on in the scene. Without it, it can make the moment fall a little flat. Despite Big Cow’s best attempts at retaining some atmosphere, there are still a few scenes that were lacking a little character.
The only other thing I could think of that was a bit of a detriment to the game was the fact there was a few inconsistencies in there. I’ll readily admit these are very minor issues, but after I noticed them, I couldn’t un-notice them, so it was a little distracting. Firstly, in the car at the very start of the game, when you’re sat with Darren, you’ll notice he is wearing an ear-ring. I have two issues with this: firstly, police in the United Kingdom aren’t allowed to wear earrings, and secondly, it appears on his left ear in the car, but on his right ear in the little ‘talking head’, which was a little strange. The other little oversight I found was that when you see the inside of a prison, it looks a lot like one you’d see on TV – that is, it’s very American. It’s difficult to describe it without going into too much detail, but it just seemed a little out of place to have such American setting inside what is supposed to be England.
If it’s not obvious, I was scraping the bottom of the barrel when it came to negatives. The Last Time is a decent game, you probably don’t have as much control over the story as advertised, but all of your decisions count, and once you’ve done them, there is no going back. I must have played it through a dozen times or so, because there were so many decisions that I wanted to see other outcomes to, because, typically, I’d picked one that probably wasn’t the best one for the situation. There’s so much replayability, and it’s such a good looking game as well, so definitely worth buying it, especially as it’ll cost you less than a pint of beer!