The Last Express: Part 2: The Dragonborn Comes…To Destroy My Computer

I know you’re expecting the next exciting installment of The Last Express, but my vintage PC had other ideas. Parts of my rig are held together with twisty-ties (seriously), so it’s not surprising Skyrim melted it. So I was unable to play The Last Express. Instead, here are some random thoughts inspired by it.

There is a metric fuckton of WW2 shooters. I’ve killed more Nazis than the entire Greatest Generation (sorry Pap). Why aren’t there any World War 1 shooters? I know the tactics were basically sit-in-that-trench-and-wait-to-go-over-the-top-or-get-gassed, but I think there’s some latitude here. You have a built-in cover-system (trenches) and the makings of an interesting gauntlet to run when leading the trench charge (thinking something akin to many Uncharted sequences). WW1 had plenty of hand-to-hand combat and the emergence of weaponized aircraft and tanks. There’s a lot to mine here and yet it’s ignored for yet another D-day sim.

Question: Which battle have you relived through video games more, D-day or Hoth?

I love that you can ignore the entire murder plot in The Last Express and just eavesdrop on characters and get a complete story. It’s like Downton Abbey: the Game, and I mean that in a good way (I hadn’t heard of that show two weeks ago but when Mrs. Stylist caught wind of it we powered through the whole thing in a weekend). The game will prod you in one direction or another, but really it doesn’t care if you play it. It’s kind of refreshing, because it’s different from games like Skyrim. In Skyrim, you can ignore the main plot and watch emergent weirdness happen. But this is more handcrafted. It’s nice to know someone took the time to write a full story about a fat boy blowing a whistle in the hallway.

This game desperately needs a remake. 3D would do it wonders with navigation and gameplay. Imagine this game in the Heavy Rain engine. A built-in map wouldn’t hurt either.

Seems to be a bit of theme developing around here. Game mechanics and ideas were as rich as ever. It’s really only user interfaces that have evolved over the years.

It’s kind of surprising Jordan Mechner made this game considering he’s widely known for the Prince of Persia series, a platforming series. I just want to know what the thought process was here going from running, jumping, and fighting sand demons to a soap opera set on a train on the eve of World War 1. Then he went back to making Prince of Persia games. It’s like of George Lucas made American Graffiti between Empire Strikes Back  and Return of the Jedi. Not bad, just a little strange.

As for the ending of The Last Exit, believe me, I’m as interested in how the whole thing ends as you are, so I guess I’ll just have to act it out with finger-puppets or something.


About Stylist

Poet, librarian, and video game enthusiast.
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One Response to The Last Express: Part 2: The Dragonborn Comes…To Destroy My Computer

  1. tiamonster says:

    It’s funny that you say you’re interested in how it ends, because I earned about a dozen different endings. Apparently, there are five where you don’t die, with only one being the “true” ending.

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