It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.
The Late Shift is a single-player interactive story game that is little short of a masterpiece. Eschewing using 3D models or pixel art, the entire game is live action and filmed in crisp HD. This definitely works greatly in its favor as is enhances the cinematic experience of the entire game, allowing for the dramatic moments to have more kick to them that can’t be accomplished with standard animation.
You play as Matt, a mathematics student who works as a valet/security guard for a parking garage. All seems normal until Matt finds himself face to face with a with an injured man with a gun. The man abducts Matt and brings him back to his hideout where the rest of his team is waiting. All seems bleak until they force him to assist them with their heist or else they’ll kill him. What happens next is all up to the player’s decision.
The game is filled with many decisions that each have their own impact on the story, both large and small. You could be forced to make a decision as minor as getting on the train or assisting someone with directions, or as large as determining the way you die. There are so many different options that it definitely makes it feel like the player is controlling the strings in this crime thriller adventure. The game has seven unique endings and over 180 decisions that can be made. Speaking of the story, it is definitely one that is full of drama and suspense that almost never leaves the player feeling bored or uninterested in the situation at hand.
Each decision must be made rapidly. Most of the time when you’re prompted with a decision, you have two options to pick from and a very limited timeframe to pick from. If you don’t make a decision, the more conflict-causing decision will be picked for you. An interesting aspect of the game is that there is no save feature, so you can’t save before making any decisions unless you restart, further solidifying the fact that every decision you make matters.
The only minor problem is that the game lacks a method to fast forward through segments that you’ve already been through, causing some unfortunate downtime spent watching the same clips before you get to the spot you wanted to make a different decision. However, this could be because the developers were attempting to bridge the line between film and game that they deemed the addition of a fast forward or skip feature would be counterproductive to the project as a whole and would remove the attachment the player has to the situations that they/Matt are thrown into.
The Late Shift is an experience definitely worth checking out, as the FMV style makes the wide variety of decisions and dilemmas more fun and interesting to sift through. If you’re seeking to blend the world of live-action film and video games, this is a great game to watch and play.