The surreal visual experience of The Station is matched with a unique form of heavy storytelling that allows the player to discover, explore and realize events on their own.
Set years ahead, a crew was sent to a space station to study an alien civilization but something goes array and endangers the life of those on board. A team sends you, a recon specialist, to find and rescue the crew members and unravel the mystery behind the alien lifeforms, as well as uncover what really happened inside.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: The Station
Publisher: The Station
Release Date: February 20, 2018
This review is based on a review code provided by The Station.
BROKEN LIKE THE STATION ITSELF
Despite the experience and the outstanding visual glory and beautiful art, the story was bland, boring, and it simply did not captivate me as much as I had hoped. For someone like me who loves to read and enjoys heavy storytelling, The Station misses a mark somewhere down the road and has ended with more holes in the plot than the mess inside the station itself.
Unraveling the stories through finding audio logs, papers, notes, and emails in computer-like devices are, true enough, a unique and an interesting experience. However, it can also contribute to how it can immediately lose the player’s interest since that’s the only way you’ll get to know the characters and the setting. And because it is the only way, the story can’t create a full enough picture to make it impactful.
As you are trying to find the crew of three scientists, you find that the aliens are still inside the station. You can hear them and see their shadows as you move forward and solve puzzles to get to the other rooms. And I can admit that I loved the thrill and the creepiness of the experience; I was assuming that it could chase me at any time. But towards the middle, even that experience hits a miss as you start to ignore the thing altogether.
The entire game is roughly 2-3 hours of playtime, perhaps if it went for a little longer, then there could have been enough to fill the plot holes. True enough, however, that the twist ending was a pleasant surprise, but it still wasn’t enough to patch anything afterward or encourage another round. I played it twice to hopefully understand and immerse myself further but even that wasn’t enough.
Meanwhile, the puzzles that require solving to unlock rooms were simple and easy. It’s mostly matching symbols and finding objects, which doesn’t give that full “escape the room” experience either. There aren’t a lot of puzzles in each room as well, so other places are just for the aesthetic appeal and to give the Station a “complete” look and slightly help with the development of the story. For example, the Science lab is one of the places you need to unlock, however, once inside, there is little to no interaction with the room itself but becomes just small hint to what the alien life form is as well as bits of character information.
To put things briefly, the exploration and art are definitely great and the main highlight of the entire game. If you’re someone who enjoys a completely visual experience with little puzzles here and there, then don’t go for it because it truly is beautiful and I would love to play more games with that much thought into small details.
However, if you’re someone who enjoys the story more than anything else and prefers an immersive experience that captivates you and entices your curiosity in the character and setting, then this might not be the game for you.