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New Review: The Final Journey on WGB

GamesNew Review: The Final Journey on WGB

**The Last Train Home: A Historical Gaming Experience**
The game Last Train Home combines real-time tactics and management in a captivating manner, delving into the lesser-known history of the Czechoslovak Legion’s journey through Russia. It offers an engaging narrative, complex moral choices, and resource management, making it a compelling gaming experience.

**Historical Accuracy and Complex Narrative**
Last Train Home, developed by Ashborne Games and published by THQ Nordic, is inspired by historical events. While the game takes certain artistic liberties, it does acknowledge the complexity and the harrowing reality of the historical events. The narrative focuses on the Czech Legion’s quest to return home, set against the volatile backdrop of Russia amidst a civil war. The game does not depict the Legion as grand heroes but rather portrays the challenges they faced in their journey.

**The Narrator and Character Development**
Captain František Langer, a real-life historical figure, adds depth to the narrative with his expertise as a poet, playwright, and doctor. Alongside him, the game features named characters with unique traits that influence the gameplay. As players progress, they develop attachments to these characters, enhancing the immersive quality of the game.

**Life Aboard the Armored Train**
The game captures the gritty reality of life on an armored train in a hostile country. It emphasizes the challenges of managing resources such as fuel, food, and upgrade materials. Players are tasked with sending out squads to scavenge for resources, trade with villages, and undertake side missions while considering the fatigue, danger, and injuries that the squads may encounter.

**Complex Moral Choices**
Last Train Home incorporates moral choices that shape the journey across Russia. Players are confronted with dilemmas, forcing them to consider the consequences of their decisions. The game’s moral quandaries resemble those found in city-building games like Frostpunk, underscoring the importance of survival and tough decision-making.

**Upgrades and Resource Management**
Scavenged resources can be used to upgrade and enhance the armored train, which is crucial for survival. Basic upgrades, such as armor plating and improved living quarters, are vital for the journey. However, these upgrades can only be executed when the train is stationary, posing a risk of being targeted by enemy forces.

**Personnel Management**
In addition to resource management, players must manage the personnel on board the train. Each character fulfills specific roles and can level up, providing a strategic element to the game. Balancing combat roles, train duties, morale, and stamina becomes integral to the gameplay, adding layers of complexity.

The Last Train Home is a game that thrives on its strategic gameplay, masterful resource management, and thrilling RTS sections. With every decision holding weight, and every mission presenting new challenges and opportunities, it’s a game that demands your attention and rewards your efforts.

**Managing Your Crew**

As the train continues its journey, the importance of managing your crew becomes increasingly evident. The satisfaction of ensuring your best fighters get the rest they need is palpable, as is the decision-making process of resource allocation. Should you improve the heating situation or save the resources for later? Every side mission and location presents an opportunity to acquire more supplies, better weaponry, or additional soldiers, but at the cost of exhausting your troops and immobilizing the train for an extended period.

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The management layer brings a lot of fun to the gameplay, although it is slightly hindered by a fiddly and small user interface. While it does not detract significantly from the experience, the lack of quality-of-life features and the interface’s intuitiveness could be improved through updates. Nevertheless, delving into the world of resource management and crew allocation offers an engrossing experience.

**Exploring the RTS Sections**

The RTS segments of Last Train Home require you to take direct command of your chosen soldiers in partially scripted missions, often pitting you against formidable enemies. The ability to pause the action provides a strategic edge, allowing you to plan and execute smart ambushes and utilize overlapping fields of fire to gain the upper hand. This approach is crucial, as your soldiers are notably vulnerable and can succumb to enemy attacks swiftly, emphasizing the importance of cover and strategic positioning.

Utilizing special skills and abilities in combat adds a layer of micromanagement, with considerations for resource allocation, ammunition conservation, and choosing between stealth and direct confrontation. The game encourages a balanced approach, prompting players to avoid unnecessary firefights and opt for stealth tactics where feasible, a reflection of the real-life challenges faced by the Czech Legion.

**Challenges and Quirks**

Amidst the compelling gameplay, certain quirks and challenges emerge. The bayonet option, for instance, targets an area rather than individual enemies, prompting multiple riflemen to charge the same target, which can be tactically disadvantageous. Similarly, scouts feel underpowered in the mix of other unit types, with their effectiveness seemingly limited to specific abilities rather than diverse combat skills. Additionally, the enemy AI at times falls short of providing a truly engaging challenge, lacking in strategic maneuvers and often failing to exhibit intelligent behaviors.

The toggle between silent and loud modes, meant to facilitate a shift between stealth and combat, grapples with occasional inconsistencies, affecting the overall fluidity of gameplay. Despite these imperfections, Last Train Home succeeds in integrating resource management and tactical combat, offering an engaging and thought-provoking experience for players.

When delving into the intricacies of Last Train Home, it becomes evident that the game encompasses a multifaceted experience, incorporating both management and combat components. As players navigate through the missions, they are required to employ strategic tactics, making decisions that can significantly impact the outcome. However, while the management aspect of the game exudes a compelling and immersive quality, the combat layer may leave something to be desired.

**Navigating the Management Layer**

The management element within Last Train Home proves to be the cornerstone of the game’s appeal. Players are tasked with meticulously managing various resources, monitoring the health of their soldiers, and contemplating the implementation of upgrades. The severity of the setting and the somber tone permeate through this layer, culminating in an experience that captures the essence of navigating a hostile environment. The game succeeds in immersing players in the oppressive atmosphere, prompting them to contemplate the risks associated with dispatching troops to scavenge abandoned villages. However, despite the daunting backdrop, the game’s normal difficulty setting often mitigates the intensity, as players seldom encounter imminent failure.

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**Unraveling the Combat Sections**

In stark contrast to the management layer, the combat segments of Last Train Home tread on a less impressive path. While these sections proficiently serve their purpose, they lack the innovative flair and distinctiveness found in the management aspect. The missions, albeit a few well-designed ones, fail to evoke a sense of uniqueness and excitement. Executing ambushes may offer brief moments of satisfaction, yet the overall combat experience falls short of delivering a truly exceptional or memorable engagement.

**Dissecting the Systemic Flaws**

Throughout the gameplay, the inadequacies of the combat system become apparent, as players encounter moments of incongruity and inconsistency. The mechanisms dictating visibility and concealment often appear to lack coherence, leading to unforeseen circumstances where soldiers are exposed despite being seemingly shielded by obstructive objects. This lack of clarity regarding visibility can introduce an element of unpredictability, giving rise to instances of surprise and frustration.

**The Complex Interplay of Covert Actions and Unintended Outcomes**

The necessity to toggle between subtle and overt actions within Last Train Home is a compelling aspect that adds depth to the gameplay. However, the execution of this mechanic can sometimes lead to inadvertent and chaotic outcomes. Instances arise where commanding a soldier to assume a more audacious approach results in impulsive actions, such as prematurely firing at targets instead of adhering to stealth tactics. These unpredictable turn of events can lead to catastrophic consequences, plunging players into a disarray of carnage and misfortune.

**Navigating the Ambiguous Terrain of Combat**

The combat layer’s reliance on stealth and overt actions introduces a level of intricacy that demands strategic acumen from players. Maneuvering through the terrain while weighing the implications of covert or overt approaches adds a layer of complexity to the gameplay. However, the apparent lack of polish and mechanical refinement within this aspect diminishes the overall allure of the combat component.

**Unveiling the Hidden Gem**

Despite its imperfections, Last Train Home possesses the allure of a hidden gem within the gaming landscape. Nestled away from the glare of mainstream releases, the game offers a unique blend of strategy and management, underscored by a compelling narrative intertwined with historical connotations. For enthusiasts of strategy and management games seeking authenticity and a hint of grit, Last Train Home stands as an intriguing prospect.

**In Conclusion**

The dichotomy between Last Train Home’s management and combat layers paints a picture of an experience that teeters between moments of immersive depth and instances of mechanical inadequacy. The management aspect captivates with its portrayal of an oppressive setting intertwined with the demands of resource management and decision-making. Conversely, the combat component, while serviceable, lacks the finesse and distinctiveness that the game’s premise warrants. The interplay between these diverse layers showcases a blend of commendable ambition and suboptimal execution. Ultimately, Last Train Home stands as a testament to the untapped potential within the realm of historical strategy games, offering a niche experience that beckons to those seeking a departure from mainstream releases.

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