I Want to Play Cinema With You. Late Shift Review

The renaissance of the FMV genre, which likely began with spontaneous success. Her Story, slowly bears fruit. Although live video never became a widespread trend in the industry, independent developers are now using it much more actively in their work, and that’s wonderful. They have in their hands a tool to achieve the long-standing dream of our ancestors – merging games and movies.

Chinese-themed Late Shift

The authors of Late Shift, however, perceive this dream too one-sidedly. Their project is a natural full-length film, albeit non-linear. At the end of last year, it was shown in cinemas, where anyone could press buttons on their phone and determine the fate of the screen characters. The film industry did not turn upside down because of this, but at least it received an interesting experiment, in which participants got to try something new.

But for us, the spoiled tribe of interactive enthusiasts, Late Shift turned out to be an ordinary bird. We have already seen Heavy Rain, played… Until Dawn And they got tired of Telltale series, so this is just another adventure game in a long list of similar ones. And unfortunately, it is not located at the top.

At the center of the story is a student named Matt, who involuntarily becomes involved in a grand robbery. Starting his night with a shift at the parking lot, he soon finds himself hiding from the police, confronting criminal gangs, and personally unraveling the tangle of mysteries surrounding the unfortunate case. Of course, with our help.

Critical decision-making

Narrative can be changed by choosing the actions of the hero in certain scenes. Try to sabotage the operation or act according to the plan? Negotiate with the informant nicely – or threaten him with punishment? Situations vary from the classic “criminal threatens with a gun” to more delicate cases, where you can easily become the bad guy. You have only a few seconds to make a decision, so you need to think about the consequences quickly.

That’s basically all the player’s participation: they simply choose what to watch. The mechanics blend perfectly with the contemplative side of the question, providing a seamless and impressive spectacle, but the game lacks… um… gameplay. There are no point-and-click elements that FMV games have always been friends with, no exploration, not even primitive QTE inserts – there is no problem that would justify your presence. Moreover, the film can continue on its own, you just need to start it. If they plan to push this concept into the gaming masses, the level of interaction will definitely need to be improved.

Auction event in Forza Horizon 4

However, even with the discount on its “cinematic” roots, the interactive part is not very impressive. There are many branching paths, but most of the time they come down to choosing between “doing as told” and “rebelling, but ultimately doing as told”. The decision made usually changes the next 10-15 seconds of action, after which the script gently leads to a unified outcome for all options.

Only key moments are accompanied by clearly defined dilemmas that truly affect the story. With a single action, the player-viewer can unlock an additional scene, while another action can lead to a disastrous and abrupt ending, of which there are seven in total.

The variety of endings, by the way, highlights a major drawback – the absence of an episode menu. In order to see other possible developments, one would have to rewatch about an hour of video without the ability to fast forward or pause a scene, and it’s unlikely that one would want to do that after the first playthrough. The plot, although decent, is not compelling enough to go through it half a dozen times.

No matter how much the developers boast about the involvement of famous people in the story, revisiting it only exposes numerous plot holes. Starting off as a decent thriller, Late Shift quickly descends into predictable twists and deus ex machina moments that support the swift conclusion of the story. Furthermore, in the hypothetical hour and a half, the main character fails to develop any personality, remaining a soulless puppet for our actions – which is why it becomes difficult to empathize with him on the second round.

Hospital scenes in Late Shift

The undeniable advantage of the project lies in its technical execution. Compared to other FMV indies, this film looks like a Hollywood blockbuster next to “Real Guys”. Well-composed shots, professional editing, high-quality color correction, and strong electronic music on the soundtrack create an extremely worthy atmosphere and delight throughout the entire movie.

However, CtrlMovie’s creation suffers greatly from the fact that its polygonal counterparts in the genre have long raised the bar to the sky. Now interactive cinema must go above and beyond to impress us: introduce original elements of interaction, play with the format, captivate us with the plot… In short, do everything that Late Shift does not do. Yes, real actors are trying for us here – but why are they playing, and not us?

Late Shift
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Wales Interactive
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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