Discovering alien life that contradicts everything we believe is a possibility people have wondered about for years and years, and The Station takes that idea and uses it as the primary force for its narrative. The game's story foundation and premise are excellent, but The Station unfortunately fails to capitalize on these things and the result is an unsatisfying experience that feels unfinished.
Story: Extra-terrestrials on the radar
In the near future, humanity discovers a new planet, and on it, another sentient species. However, this species is engaged in a civil war, and in order to remain undetected, humanity sends a cloaked space station to orbit the planet and observe the conflict. However, something goes terribly wrong, and the station's cloaking device fails. Shortly after, communications are lost.
In an effort to understand what happened, a single recon expert is sent to the station in order to understand what happened. That recon expert is you, and on the station you will discover details about the aliens, the crew's fate, and more.
The story of The Station is thought-provoking and impactful. Without spoiling, many of the themes in the game have stuck with me days after completing it. In addition, the characters in the story are interesting as well, and even though they were mostly expressed through things found around the station, they still felt compelling.
This sounds great, but the huge problem with The Station is that the story ends right as it starts to get really good. It's hard to enjoy good writing and characters when there's no room to do so, and as the credits rolled, I couldn't help but feel that much of what was making the story good got wasted.
Gameplay: First person exploration
Like many other narrative adventure games, The Station is played through as a walking simulator in which most of the enjoyment revolves around interacting with the environment. Each room offers interesting information about something, whether it be the alien species, what happened to the crew, or the type of people that the crew are. Anything from a handwritten letter to a spilled cup of coffee can be found, and trying to figure out what happened is a fun time.
There are a few puzzles, but they are few and far between. However, they are incredibly clever, and fans of good puzzles will love the kinds found in The Station.
Presentation: Looks just like sci-fi
The Station features a colorful and vibrant type of art direction that makes the environment feel incredibly science fiction. The visuals look clean and crisp, and the detailed sound effects that you can hear whilst doing things in the game world are much appreciated details that add to the immersion.
Sadly, for all the good the visuals and sound effects do, the incredibly lackluster voice acting from the characters makes it hard to like them, which is disappointing because of how well-written they are. The voice actors sound like they couldn't care less about the role they're playing, and that has a large negative impact on a story and character heavy game like The Station.
The Station for Xbox One conclusion
Though the story itself and the characters are relatively well written, the game's shortness and poor voice acting take a lot away from the experience. Good visuals and sound can only do so much.
- Intriguing premise.
- Fun gameplay.
- Great visuals and sound.
- Game is way too short.
- Incredibly poor voice acting.
The Station is available on Xbox One for $14.99.
This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a copy provided by the publisher.