‘The Station’ Review: Short, Yet Powerful

Storytelling in video games can be a hit or miss endeavor, with the best games nailing the basic tenets of good narrative, and the subpar games dying under the strain of too much exposition. In the new sci-fi first person mystery game, The Station, the former holds true. A team of veteran game developers have come together to create one of the best, most unique indie games in recent years, and in the end, the player will be left reeling at what just transpired.

The Station is the story of a research station sent into the orbit of a newly-discovered planet that holds alien life. The residents of the mysterious new planet are in constant war, so the government dictates that the station only observe and report, using cloak technology to hide their existence. When communication with the crew suddenly stops, the government sends a specialist in to find out what happened and to retrieve the three man crew. Solving the mystery of what happened is just the beginning of the journey in The Station.

The Station Review

The Station doesn’t rely on guns or intense action sequences to tell its wonderful narrative. The player is tasked with piecing together the story of the three crew members using recovered data logs. There are some puzzles that need to be solved in order to get deeper and deeper into the station — and the mystery — but it never feels like the game is pushing the narrative. Careful exploration is still the driving force here.

My first run through of the game took just over an hour and the second lasted about 90 minutes, as I took the time to interact with more objects and seek out all data logs and pieces of information in the game. The fragmented story told in the data logs, either in written notes, emails, messages, or voice memos comes together quite nicely for an explosive twist ending that leaves the player staring at the screen in awe of what just happened.

The Station Review

The graphics and sound are done particularly well, and while The Station will never be compared to a game like Gears of Wars 4 or Uncharted 4 in terms of graphics, it does hold its own by creating a claustrophobic experience on a desolate ghost station where bad things obviously happened. The lighting, in particular, is very solid. The voice acting is executed splendidly, as there is a definite story being told in a unique way, and the player can pick up characterization from the voice files that are discovered during the game. The developers also deserve credit for making the player feel isolated. This leads to a few silly jump scares, but that can be forgiven when everything else works so well.

The Station Review

The Station is why I play video games. I was deeply engrossed in the story, solving the puzzles and piecing together the mystery of what happened to the crew. For 70 minutes or so, I forgot about the real world and was so immersed in the world of the The Station that the break from reality was nice. Using the storytelling analogy, The Station is a powerful short story, whereas a game like Assassin’s Creed Origins would be a long-form novel. Sometimes, its just fun to sit down and read a story from beginning to end in one sitting, and in gaming, the same thing holds true.

The Station is short, but the story hits every note perfectly. It’s an indie game with a big budget feel, and in many ways it betters some of the biggest AAA games on the market today. My time with The Station was incredibly entertaining and it’s one of the best games I’ve had the pleasure of playing in years. I cannot recommend this game enough and implore you to take on the mystery of The Station yourself. Just be sure to keep the twist ending a secret.

The Station is available on February 20 for the PS4, Xbox One, and Steam. This review is based off a PS4 review code provided by the publisher.

The Station Review
out of 5

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