My first impact with Wales Interactive and with his works was more than positive: The Bunker, with its successful mix of film and video game, had won me over. They were therefore delighted to be able to try the next experiment: Late Shift.
Late Shift starts from the assumptions of the predecessor but goes a step further, eliminating even more the boundary between cinema and spectator. There is more “film” and less “video game” in this new experiment, yet the level of involvement is maximum. Many of us, watching a movie, will have said “I would have done differently instead of the protagonist” or “it’s a bad decision!“. Well, with Late Shift from simple spectators we become protagonists and it will not be as simple as it appears in the cinema.
We will find ourselves immersed in a story with thriller implications in which we will be called to take on the role of the protagonist: a binary system of choices will force us to decide not only the character orientation of Matt, the student at the center of the story, but also to strongly influence on the continuation of the story.
Yes, because in Late Shift our choices actually change the course of the plot, and therefore prove to be fundamental to reach the ending we hope to achieve (there are seven to unlock, which change according to our choices) . If it all seems too easy, I assure you that it is not: the game is pressing you and, from time to time, you will have very little time to reflect before making a decision.
We proceed, therefore, instinctively, in a fast pace that does not allow for pauses: every second lost can mean the difference between success and failure. It is the perfect opportunity to find out how we are when we find ourselves cornered and what we would do if we were caught up in a gear danger much greater than us.
The game opens by introducing us to the protagonist we will play: Matt, a young student who makes ends meet by working as a night watchman in a parking lot. We follow him in the feverish city night, as he prepares to take the train that will take him to work. And, immediately, even before the opening credits, we are called to make our first choice: are we altruistic or selfish people?
What we thought to be a night like many will turn out to be completely unexpected and will lead us to confront increasingly difficult choices, in an intricate and mysterious situation. How will our adventure end? Success or failure will depend only on us.
FILM OR VIDEO GAME?
Let’s start from an assumption: judging Late Shift as a video game is impossible because we are faced with a full-fledged film. If the predecessor The Bunker stood halfway between the two media, retaining elements, albeit essential, of gameplay, Late Shift takes the next step and projects us in all respects into the world of cinema.
No more exploring places or searching for hidden objects, in this adventure we will not have any classic video game action available. All we can do is look and, when we are faced with a choice, make the best decision, having very few seconds available.
We could, therefore, define Late Shift as the next level in the world of cinema, which takes the involvement of the viewer to the highest extremes by creating a product in which the film itself modulates on the player/spectator and not vice versa.
If you are an avid gamer, the prospect of watching a movie in which to intervene from time to time could leave you perplexed, yet I assure you that there is nothing boring in Late Shift, on the contrary, it is an extremely engaging experience.
If in The Bunker the dominant atmosphere was the sense of anguish, here it is the adrenaline that dominates, to which the noir-colored story, the fast pace of the actions, and the tense music in the background contribute.
Also on this occasion, as had already happened to me with The Bunker, I have to focus on the accuracy of the product made by Wales Interactive, with particular praise for photography and interpretations, on which those of Joe Sowerbutts in the role of Matt and Haruka stand out. Abe as May-Ling.
Released in April 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Late Shift landed a year later on the Nintendo Switch, which is the platform I played it on. Once again, I think that Switch proves to be the best support for this type of film / video game: the on-screen controls increase immersion and cancel the distance between the player and the protagonist. The feeling is that of being really at the center of the story.
As I said, Late Shift is closer to an interactive film than to a video game in the classic sense of the term: it also approaches it in the duration which is about 2/3 hours, also due to the inability to reflect too long on the choices to be made. fulfill.
Its longevity, however, certainly does not stop there. At the end of the game, after the end credits, you will find a summary waiting for you that indicates the number of choices you have made, the number of endings unlocked (out of 7 total) and the number of chapters found (out of a total of 14) .
I assure you that you will find yourself immediately restarting the game to find out where different choices and all 7 alternate endings would lead you. That’s what happened to me! (Also because, I admit, the decisions I made during my first session led me to a decidedly unsuccessful ending).