Developer: CtrlMovie / Wales Interactive
Publisher: Wales Interactive Ltd.
Category: Action, FMV, Crime Thriller
Release Date: 04.26.2018
Late shift is an interesting title that offers the player the ability to change the direction of the stories narrative. By answering multiple choice questions, to certain situations that present themselves, you seemingly weave the narrative to unfold as you see fit.
Or seemingly so.
Sometimes choices at completely different ends of the spectrum can lead to the same conclusion.
That is essentially the entirety of the users’ interaction with this game. Essentially you’re just watching a movie and occasionally giving the luckless lead a nudge in the right direction now and then.
However, due to some crippling frame rate issues here, the game can be quite the slog to sit through and watch for a solid hour or so.
The story of Late Shift essentially revolves around a student, who happens to be quite the genius, and his rapid decent into the criminal underworld. Seriously, thing move quickly. Without going into any kind of spoiler territory, the lead character has to be the most unfortunate individual imaginable. For the things to escalate the way they do, regardless of what direction you decide to take things, is very much an example of Hollywood story telling. To witness our hapless hero spiral so far into a life of crime in such a brief time is honestly staggering and goes beyond redemption.
The writing is quite excellent, a highlight in fact. This comes as no surprise given the calibre of Michael R. Johnson’s previous work on the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock movies as co writer.
This game is violent, bloody and deploys foul language with reckless abandon. F bombs are dropped from a very early stage, and frequently and I recall at least one use of a ‘James Blunt’.
The production of this game is excellent, the acting is solid and this genuinely feels that it could have been a Guy Richie film in the same vein as Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels , if not a little shorter. Depending on the choices that you make, this game will run for just under an hour, give or take a few minutes.
By the Way, if you haven’t seen either of these movies, watch them immediately, seriously, stop reading this review right now.
Go already, why are you still here?
You’re sticking around? Really? OK, in that case, I will continue.
The USP of Late Shift is that there is a total of 7 Different endings depending on the choices you make. I managed to unlock 4 of them during my numerous plays. This does offer a lot of re play value. However I did find re watching the same plot unfold in order to manipulate the ending did grow stale quite quickly.
Visually, the game consists entirely of FMVs, all running at native 1080p. However, as mentioned earlier the frame rate is sluggish at best. At times it doesn’t even feel as though it hits 30FPS, let alone 60FPS. It’s a shame that Late Shift doesn’t offer an option to amend the frame rate, at the expense of resolution. I would certainly have preferred to experience this game in 720p running at 60FPS.
Whether a game of this size would get a patch to amend this in the future seems doubtful. It would however, certainly give this self-effacing scribe some kind of incentive to try and unlock all the endings.
Regardless of the direction you decide to lead the narrative in, the game never slows. You have literally a few seconds to make your decision. Act too slowly and it will be decided for you, usually opting for the most negative outcome. That was certainly my experience anyway. Even so, the game flows perfectly, whether your next choice takes you to a hospital or into hiding. All the scenarios have been recorded and there is no respite in the action.
As a standalone piece of media, it is has the potential to be very good indeed. Attention to detail has been paid in all aspects of production, from possible outcomes and relevant scenes, to dialogue and interaction, all of which can fluctuate on a split second decision.
Some niggling technical issues let down the entire ambience and really make it incredibly uncomfortable to sit through at times.
Were it not for the horrible frame rate issues and the repetitiveness, I would certainly be inclined to rate Late Shift much more highly. I also struggle to call this a game as it more closely resembles the VHS board games of my childhood. And while the level of detail and budget is far superior, the outcome is still the same. Initial excitement, followed by sleep inducing boredom at times.
If you can forgive the technical failings then there is an enjoyable experience to be had. Unfortunately it can’t and not even all of the possible re play value can save it.
Better Late than never?
You know what, it probably would be beneficial for everybody to just shut up shop early afternoon and call it a day.
Buy Late Shift $12.99
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