by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
INFLUENCED BY JAZZPUNK? SIGN ME UP!
When you market your game saying that it’s for fans of The Stanley Parable and Jazzpunk, then it’s certain that I’m going to be interested. When you’ve got two of my favourite games from the last two years listed as influences, then I’m going to be expecting a certain amount of quality. The Last Dogma does not deliver the quality I was expecting. Not even close. It’s easy to see some of the influences from the start. The tutorial has a fourth wall breaking English narrator talking about various aspects of game design. But unlike The Stanley Parable, the writing is neither witty, nor clever. It could have easily been replaced with someone going “video games… am I right?!”, and it would’ve had the same impact. It tells you the controls, while telling you how needless it is to learn the controls since everyone knows you use WASD to move, click to shoot, and so on. But despite this, you can’t skip it.
This Isn't What I Signed Up For...
Following the tutorial, there’s a lengthy opening cutscene where a totally different guy with a faux-edgy voice comes on to tell you all about this alternate history world. It’s 1999, the US is going for world domination, Yugoslavia is being invaded, and the UK is ruled by an Iranian dictator for some reason. You play as Sebastian Arise, an ATF agent tasked with tracking down arms dealers. Except that’s not what the game is about at all really. To be honest I don’t know what it’s about. I switched off halfway through the opening cutscene because of how terribly it was delivered and how nonsensical the story was. It took literally five minutes from me pressing start game, to where I was actually playing anything, and I was already bored.
The gameplay didn’t do much to help matters. You’re dumped into an area, and not given any objectives on screen. You can talk to some NPCs, but not all of them, and the ones you can talk to don’t actually tell you anything meaningful. Sometimes you can choose different things to say to them, but nothing will have an impact on the game, a fact that is explicitly told to you during the tutorial, again beating that “haha, video games!” dead horse.
CAN I UNSIGN?
A minute later I was dead. I heard some shooting, and a guy shouting, but I had no idea where from, even though I was wearing a headset. Back to the beginning of the level then. This time I saw him. There was a guy trying to run around a fence towards me, but he was stuck on it. Eventually he started shooting, and the muzzle flare went directly up in the air. Was he just shooting into the air? No, because I was dead again (This bug has allegedly been fixed in a patch, and according to the patch notes, it has been this way for months). On my next try, I shot my gun at him, and was unsure if I was hitting him or not. It didn’t seem like it, but then he exploded into a shower of blood and turned into a pig. The word “Animality” floated in the air beside it.
Still unsure what this game actually was, and a few deaths at the hands of far off enemies who blended into the bland environments later, I finally found an object I could pick up. A key! A few minutes later I found the associated door. Apparently that was the first level. Find a key and unlock the door. That was the whole first level, and there are only six levels in the entire game. You won’t be playing The Last Dogma for very long, and that’s probably a good thing.
LET ME OUT OF THIS NIGHTMARE
From there it goes further into the realms of insanity as you’re teleported into space, and then you’re in an abandoned building where there’s a school, apparently. After this you’re possessed by a daemon and she speaks to you for a while. Then there’s a big floating chess set and some ethereal being is speaking to you about something else. Then you’re in another place and there’s a castle and your gun is replaced by a sword. It’s utter nonsense, and this is coming from someone who has Jazzpunk as his game of the year from 2014!
The Last Dogma has been developed by just one man (and without crowdfunding, the game hastens to add whenever you load it up), and I can see where he was trying to go with this. However it wasn’t the randomness of Jazzpunk and the fourth wall breaking wit of The Stanley Parable that made them great. They had systems in place to make it feel like you were having fun, and they were simply better made. The Last Dogma is rife with spelling and grammatical errors, you get caught on bits of scenery, the AI is terrible, and worst of all, it’s just not that fun to play.
A surprising amount of voice acting
Terrible AI, filled with bugs and grammatical errors, nonsensical story