Title: The Station
Developer: The Station
Publisher: The Station
Genre: Narrative Adventure, Science Fiction
Available On: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: https://thestationgame.com/
Release Date: February 19, 2018
Where to Buy it: Steam, Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store
Inside The Station, three researchers have gone silent during a mission investigating a sentient alien civilization on the brink of civil war. You’re a recon specialist sent to the space station to find out what happened, unaware of the troubling events that have taken place aboard. As you unravel the mystery, things become painstakingly clear: nothing is as it seems.
Considering this indie game is more of a cinematic experience meant to be enjoyed in one sitting, with the lights off and your headphones on, I feel obliged to rate it on how the developers immersed you into their story. The Station, the developer and publisher of the same name as the game, took an intriguing premise that could’ve been turned into a movie and made a chilling game about humanity’s biggest downfall: themselves. The story as a whole is tight, to the point. And the ending provides you food for thought, all while pushing characters to their limits in an unexpected fashion.
The Station is a video game, though. You get a front seat to the action as it unfolds before your character, and that’s one of the most exhilarating aspects of this title. There are moments when it’s as jumpy as a similar horror game, Conarium, and times where slightly difficult puzzles block your path. Whatever the obstacle, whatever the scene that’s unraveling in front of you… Having the control to move the story’s main character and investigate the situation first hand evokes a sense of dread. And that’s exactly the thing which will keep you guessing until the final act.
I’ve read reviews claiming The Station is too short, that there’s not enough gameplay to make it a great game. As I said above, I don’t think it’s meant to be too long. The developers want you to be immersed in the two hours you’ll spend on their title without interruption. It’s like watching a great film; turn off your cell phones and let the journey take you away. Popcorn optional. I can understand the want for more, though, as much as it isn’t needed in the case of The Station.
The writers spread a bunch of little clues throughout the space station for you to find. All of these, by the end of the game, help you in comprehending what the creators had planned. For example, the research team’s varying personalities are explored without ever seeing them physically (in a certain sense), to the point where you understand them better than the character you’re controlling. Knowing more about the research team helps you connect with their humanity, almost to the point where you’ll be thinking: They feel almost too human. I’m going for a spoiler-less review here, so that’s all you nerf herders are getting out of me.
I kid, I kid. Here’s a little bit more.
I didn’t experience a single issue during my two hours on The Station. It’s a technically sound title made by developers that clearly know what they’re doing. One thing I’d like to have had would’ve been a destructive environment. Understandably, there’s no real need for this feature, but I think it would add to the overall experience. For example, if I dropped a fragile item, then it’d break. I was already spooked by some parts. Having the items I accidentally knocked over or dropped shatter would’ve spooked me even more.
Still, the fact I had been scared is impressive enough. A lot of what makes The Station so amazing has to do with how unexpected everything that’s happening around you is. You’re left scratching your head in disbelief; confused, yet enlightened, by the game’s final events. Is what makes us human also what fuels our inhumanity?
Verdict: The Station cannot be misunderstood as a video game wanting to compete with “video games,” for it reaches much further than that. There’s a tight narrative packed in a 2-hour long package for you to immerse yourself in, like going to the movies to see the latest science fiction thriller set in space. But better. Characters are developed without even really seeing them, while the underlying message sheds a light on humanity and the flaws that plague us.
- Overall, an unnerving experience
- A story that keeps you guessing
- Perfect length for the type of game it sets out to be
- Excellent character development
- Technically sound
- Underlying message
- A more destructive environment would've added to the experience