Behind this game is a very well known and cultivative franchise that doesn’t just contain some of most breathtaking visual imagery of the last decade but a methodical social commentary partially carrying the franchise to be a future classic and with the existing age of interactivity in a virtual medium, whether it be through dialogue or our own physical movement, it often comes to no surprise that audiences are eager for every new game to either break new barriers or innovate on old ones. Can Imaginati Studios new game be a part of that?
The Dawn of the Last Frontier
Based in 2027, the player is brought into two character stories; Bryn, an evolved Chimpanzee who is a part of a tribe of apes somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and Jess, a mother who has just been appointed the leader of a populated human town after the death of her husband. The power struggle between these two characters is ultimately what feeds the conflict both between the humans and apes and within their own communities. After a hunting patrol of apes, which included Bryn, ambushes a cattle pack owned by Jess’s town, there sparks the war between these two worlds and thus, we have the Last Frontier.
In terms of these two main characters, it’s unfortunate to say that they are pretty one dimensional. There wasn’t really anything about them that made me care a whole lot about the characters themselves or their wellbeings. It was their responsibilities over certain people and apes that I did care about more. Whilst I was playing as Bryn, all I could think of his as is a Caesar that isn’t in command.
Like I said, it was the side characters I took interest in the most. Besides the fact that at the beginning, there’s literally no nice human, male characters and it’s all the human, female characters that are seen with decent morals. That does change throughout especially with one character but in terms of story and character, nothing really drew me in. It wasn’t necessarily a bad story with bad characters but I couldn’t help but just think of it has a carbon copy of the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Reeves, 2014) narrative with a few differences here and there.
Do choices matter?
The billion dollar question for any interactive medium! The answer to it would be 30% yes and 70% no at least for the majority of the game. With this game roughly lasting at the length of a very long film at roughly 4 hours and with 5 Chapters, it would be difficult to say whether or not that would be a good length for a players choice to have everlasting effects on the story. I can safely say that throughout chapters 1 – 3, choices do matter. I played throughout a second time with the complete opposite choices I made and I saw a very low amount of differences. There were only a couple different cutscenes and dialogue but that was it. It’s near the ending of the game where predictably, this can turn out entirely different and the trend of choices only having an impact at the end of the game is extended with this game.
Without going too in depth, you only get three possible endings; The Apes win, the Humans win or they both win and live in peace. It would’ve been interesting to play around with a fourth choice of no one winning, I think that would’ve been complex but intriguing to consider. Regardless, with the endings we do get, it’s the same thing. They aren’t bad and I did find them entertaining but they were nothing new, there was no twist or hook, it just seemed to be predictable but most of what happens does depend on what you choose in the ending which I like.
The choices of dialogue in this game were weird. Before every major choice, there would often be an option to just say “Option A is right” or “Option B is right” where you would hear other characters options on that and say if you chose “Option B is right” and you heard the debate and then you went with Option A after that, it did seem to flow well at all, it made the character sound dumb and indecisive and that was a really annoying aspect of the game that is common throughout.
The Pro and the Con
The Pro to this game was definitely the score. If anything kept me emotionally engaged in the feelings and themes the game was trying to portray, it would be the official musical score. When I bought this game and I saw it came with the soundtrack, I wasn’t expecting to like it or listen to it as much as I did. It both expanded and added to the score heard in the Planet of the Apes film franchise and it was such a relief to have it in there as something that drove me to get more into this game. Another additional pro is the ability to play this game with a friend on PlayLink. The game advises you on how to do this but playing this game with up to 4 friends and all of you having a say in the choices and actions is really fun and ironically immersive. With a genre like this, a feature of this kind is such a brilliant alternative to getting players together. Players. Together. Strong. (I had to).
The Con is weird one because it was the most occurring problem but it was completely understandable as to why it was there. The textures. Graphically, this game is good…not great but definitely not bad, it’s very good but with every single scene transition, you saw the world load and textures not even being loaded in properly yet and with this game not being a high budget title, I could understand why this problem was evident. Although, it did sometimes make me laugh, there were also times where it would stay in a single frame for a minute or two as the next scene loaded and it was an aspect of the game that did get old after a short time.
As an interactive game, I would say it is a welcomed addition to the genre. Even though nothing at all blew me away about the game and with a couple problems that were a common occurrence, I would still say this would be a good recommendation but only if you’re either into the Planet of the Apes or into interactive games. If both of those aspects aren’t on your radar then I wouldn’t say that this game would be worth playing. However, if you are into either one or even both (like me) then I’m confident that you will maybe enjoy your time with this game and for £15.99 and a little bit of replay value, I would recon it’s worth it.
7/10 = Very good but nothing special.