Late Shift Review
Suspenseful and personalized, Late Shift allows players to literally create their own thriller through the use of choose your own adventure mechanic and well-shot live-action cutscenes. It is well-designed and makes players feel like their choices matter and impact the story.
This FMV (Full-Motion Video) game has players follow Max (Joe Sowerbutts), an intelligent mathematics student, as he falls into the criminal underworld while taking a late shift as a valet. After being dragged into a dangerous heist by a group of thieves (Haruka Abe, Sol Heras, Tom Phillips), Max must help them steal from a London auction house. But as both the police and rival gangs close in, Max must find a way to both prove his innocence and keep himself alive.
Players will immediately realize how well-shot Late Shift is and that it clearly came with a pretty solid budget. There are plenty of great action sequences and tense moments that will keep players wanting to see how the story comes to a close.
Late Shift’s use of choose your own adventure mechanics also allows for players to keep coming back and gain a completely different experience. Thankfully this choice of gameplay doesn’t make the story feel choppy and the scenes flow extremely smooth into one another regardless of what choice you make.
The game is also only about one and a half to two hours long so players won’t feel like the story drags and that going back to find a different ending won’t take too much effort. There are also some great trophies/achievements attached to each of the seven endings and different choices players can make.
The choices in Late Shift are typically very simple and just have players choose between two basic extremes of a situation. This offers more simplistic storytelling for both hardcore and casual gamers to enjoy. However, there is limited time to make each decision and this limit can feel too short at times. Because of this, players can feel frustrated that they weren’t able to read or understand the choices they were presented with rather than feeling something towards the outcome.
Sowerbutts performance is excellent and he really captures what someone’s reaction would be if they were stuck in the situation. His character’s use of probability and analytical thinking shows how smart he is and offers up some Meta commentary on the choices that players make. He also shows real change, thanks to Sowerbutts’ performance, as the player makes their choices. It is something that will make players feel like their choices actually create change.
However, the same can’t really be said about the other characters seen throughout the story. Some performances end up being lackluster and unmemorable for the most part. Also some of their accents can make them hard to understand and players who don’t switch on subtitles (which I suggest that you do) might miss important dialogue and end up making a choice that they didn’t really want to make.
Overall, Late Shift shows that interactive movies could be something of the future. With a great performance by Sowerbutts, high-quality tenseness and suspense, and an experience that is unique to each gamer, Late Shift really does let players create their own movie.