Short Story – Battle of the Bay

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The ground shook once again, causing rock and debris to fall from the cave ceiling.

“How long have we been down here,” a voice questioned in the dark.

“About a week now,” a man nearby responded.

Time passed and the ground shook again, and again, and again. People cried out as rocks hit them causing mass injuries.

“I’m not sure how much more of this we can take,” a woman sobbed as she held her now dead son.

The shaking soon stopped with a horrific final, “Boom!”

Silence.

As the dust settled in the cave, flashlights began to turn on. What had once been a large group of survivors was now just four people.

One of them suggested venturing outside to see why the rumbling had stopped. What had happened to their hometown?

Emerging from the cave, Lisa Langford exclaimed, “Oh my!”

The Road

The town that was St. Troy’s Bay was no more. Snapped power lines, crushed houses, and burned out vehicles littered the landscape. In the center of the town, lay a gigantic monster… and it was still breathing.

Sentinel 451, a robotic armored defender of the Megaton Navy, towered in the distance, watching over the town. The robot’s sword was drawn and ready for action.

“Harry, we need to get those systems back online,” Captain Jackson barked.

“Sir, shielding is down to 25%. If that beast gets back up, I’m not sure we can handle another blast from it’s mouth.”

Captain Jackson took a deep breath. The battle he and his crew had just waged had been brutal. Stroking his beard thoughtfully, he answered the crewman calmly.

“Lieutenant Rawlings, divert all power from the forward thrusters to the shields. Gentlemen, let’s send this beast back across the seas.”

The Final Station

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The Final Station embraces the storytelling confidence of The Last of Us. The world has gone to hell with hope riding on a single train of salvation.

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This train just keeps a rollin’

It’s rolling down the track

I am the silent conductor

And I can’t look back

Because I am outrunnin’

Death

Biological warfare waged by an alien race. The first invasion, which released gas-filled pods, has already occurred. Humanity invaded from within. Survival gone genetically awry.

The bomb lives

Notes of clarity rise above the government conspiracy-laden setting. The Oregon Trail-like train simulator portions allow you, the player, to make a difference. People you find, while out scavenging, become your passengers. You can feed them; you can provide medicine to help keep them alive. Life is your choice. But the train must keep rolling. No matter who dies.

The Final Station falls into a rhythm that sings on repeat:

  • Explore buildings
  • Scavenge for supplies
  • Rescue those you come across
  • Find the slip of paper with the keypad code (this unlocks the Blocker that keeps the train from moving)
  • Survive and eliminate those who have succumbed to the gas
  • Maintain individual train systems
  • Monitor the passengers

Gameplay loop excellence soon overstays its welcome like Steve Urkel. Enemy types and encounters become rote. Individual station stops become less about survival-filled exploration and more of a slog. Even the constant “what’s in the next room” tension eventually gives way by the fourth hour of gameplay. Text size issues further complicate the matter and make reading anything story related hard.

But the train just keeps a movin’. And by then you’ll want to stick it out to the end of the track.

Perhaps there is hope?

Are we there yet?

I loved The Final Station. The level design reminded me of the army bases I used to draw as a kid. Tunnels, secret bunkers, pathways into the darkness. Imagination allowed to run wild.

The Final Station is a fantastic effort with just enough neat ideas to keep me onboard. Good job, ya’ll!

wavesplinter5/5 – The Final Station fails to complete the warm The Last of Us hug it is trying to give. Despite that huggable failure, I love the game. Just keep this nightmare generator away from your kids, okay?

Wave SplinterTitle: The Final Station
Developer: Do My Best, Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $14.99

*The Final Station was reviewed using a code provided by Tinybuild.

Podcast Spotlight: The Geekbox

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The Geek Box LogoThe Geekbox reminds me of  dinner table conversations I’d often overhear while attending a small engineering college in Texas. Robots, Star Wars, and even dirigibles used as floating combat platforms were common topics of conversation. Sometimes I would find myself cringing at the depths of nerdiness being discussed; other times I would join these conversations and contribute to no end.

Much like those overheard conversations in college, The Geekbox often veers off course into morally questionable material due to different guests. I find this to be unfortunate as the rest of the podcast is of high (nerdy) quality. However, just as I would in college, sometimes it is best to leave the dinner table (ie: fast-forward) if things sink too low.

At the end of the day, The Geekbox is like coming home to a group of old friends you know and love, flaws and all.

Not perfect but highly recommended

 

Give them a listen (link will open iTunes).