“Choose your own adventure” books were a staple among my friends and I growing up. It took us from passive observers to taking charge of whatever quest filled the pages in our hands before home consoles were the great escape to another world. This style of entertainment transitioned into the videogame industry well and games started allowing your decisions to have an impact on scenarios later in the story. Developers like Bioware, Sucker Punch and Telltale Games redefined the “choose your own adventure” style and made them interactive game masterpieces. To say that Late Shift is in the same vein as some of the games these developers have released doesn’t quite do it justice because it is neither a game nor a movie, but something in between.
Late Shift is more of a live action game that allows you to make the choices as they play out on the screen and feels much like those books from my childhood. Do you flee from trouble or do you do as you’re told? Smooth talk your way out of a sticky situation or use forcefully take charge? These decisions flow seamlessly with the cinematic experience and steer the course of action for our unfortunate “late shift” garage attendant Matt who finds himself entangled in a crime thriller you’d expect to see as an Amazon or Netflix Original.
Although you won’t be making every single decision throughout the experience, Late Shift does keep your fingers on the controller so you are able to make your choice within the allotted time of a few seconds. Each scene effortlessly transitions to the next without you waiting for your choice to take effect. There is the occasional frame rate slow down and speed up during certain parts of the action, but they don’t take away from what’s going on the screen to have much of an impact.
You’ll find yourself engrossed from start to finish for your first 60-90 minute playthrough. Late shift has over 17 different chapters, some of which can be missed if your choices don’t align perfectly with the 180 different choice scenarios, and 7 alternate endings. There is no way to start at a certain chapter within Late Shift so each playthrough is subjected to your selection of options to get you to a particular point. The only downfall of this is after a couple of runs through the game you start to see plot holes in the story, but that is only because you’ve seen it played out before.
Production of the film is top notch for an operating budget of 1.5 million and the script was co-written by the same writer who did the screen play for the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr. I was expecting the acting to be worse than an episode of CW’s The Arrow, but I was pleasantly surprised by all involved in the film and the character development of Matt based off your choices.
Overall the quality of what Wales Interactive pushed out to consoles in April is first-class. From the experience of the live action game unfolding into a cinematic experience to the production value that keeps the viewers engaged even if they aren’t the one controlling Matt’s decisions, anyone who slaps down a little cash won’t be disappointed. If you one of those people who
love yelling what you’d do during a Friday the 13th film or a gamer who loves a great story Life Line won’t let you down. Even if you can’t decide if it is an interactive movie or cinematic game experience it doesn’t matter because what “It” is, is all in the eye of the beholder and I guarantee you’ll have a great time deciding for yourself.
Score – 8/10