STAFF REVIEW of Station, The (Xbox One)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018.
by Kirsten Naughton

Station, The Box art Created by a group of Triple A Veterans, The Station is a first person exploration game located in an abandoned space station. You are essentially an investigator hired to look for the station's missing crew and restore power. So needless to say, you are going to be doing a lot of exploring and investigating within the environment you are put into.

Have you ever wandered around an unfamiliar store, looking for something your wife or husband told you to get, but they gave you a very vague, if not much at all, description? This game makes me feel like I'm wandering around an unfamiliar store with no clue what the item I need to find is or where the item may be located. In terms of The Station, and it's setting, the deeper you explore in this space station, which is dark, eerie and has little to no sound or music in the background, it gives you the impression that you're all alone. That being said, it also gives you the unsettling feeling about what else just might be lurking around the next corner.

As you wander around your environment you must explore everything you possibly can. You are granted permission to access certain areas from the get-go, but you'll find that there are certain areas where you are not granted access to and you need to find ID bracelets of the crew members, or room key cards, to gain said access. Where are these key cards and ID bracelets you ask? Well, I have to admint that I have been asking that question the entire time while playing the game.

Objectives in the game include finding crew members, restoring different parts of the space station, and repairing mechanical robots. I found these objectives to be quite achievable, that's if you can somehow manage to find the bracelets and key cards to access other areas of the space station. I played this game for a handful of hours, essentially walking around, opening the exact same doors, going in the exact same rooms, only to find myself more confused and frustrated. When I finally figured it out after hours of playing, I realized something, and that was that the game is extremely short. We're talking 'enough-time-to-take-a-shower' short.

The game does not make it obvious where these items and/or objectives are, which I can deal with, and most other gamers can deal with, but if you're like me, who likes to search around for things and feel a sense of accomplishment when they are finally found, then this aspect of the game may frustrate you. Let me explain.

The problem was I couldn't seem to find these items anywhere, regardless of where I looked or what item I picked up. As mentioned earlier, you have to acquire key cards and ID bracelets to get into different places; however, most don't give you the requirements for acquiring the items, except for the fact that first ID bracelet is in plain sight.

The game allows you to pick up several items, though there are no visual indicators to indicate what an item is, such as a text on or above the item, like a lot of games have. You pick them up and only get the option to rotate them to look at them, as you are not able to put the item in your inventory. You have to physically hold the grab button and walk wherever you want to go with the item floating in front of you. While you're walking around with this thing, there is no indication in the surrounding area where it may belong, or if it's even the correct item you need. This causes you to waste a lot of time with items irrelevant to the current objective, simply guessing if you're correct or not.

When you attempt to put an item you think may be a module, ID bracelet or a key card, it doesn't give you any visual or audio indication as to if its incorrect. If it's right, the item will go into its place, so it simply becomes a matter of trial and error with a lot of experimentation. It clearly could have been a simpler, and more guided, step.

The Station looks promising with the futuristic setting and impressive graphics, but with lack of in-game player knowledge to complete objectives, I find it falls flat on other fronts. I'm in no way saying that 100% game guidance is required, as games should provide a challenge; however, in a game with little to no character dialogue, some guidance would have been greatly appreciated. I had played this game for three days, an hour and a half to two hours each time, and my gaming experience did not change, which saddened me because I'm the type of gamer that will keep on gaming if I enjoy it.

One of my biggest positive impressions is that the visuals are fantastic; the detail that went into the robotics, the space station itself, the surrounding outside area, and the holograms that pop up, as opposed to boring menus full of text, are a huge plus and very impressive! However, I do feel that a little more work could have gone into the in-game player experience so that it doesn't simply fall into the 'walking simulator' category. On that note, if some sort of fixes or changes are made in the gameplay areas that just don't make sense, than by all means, it could be a phenomenal game, but for now it's no where near out of this world.

Overall: 5.0 / 10
Gameplay: 3.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10


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