Game: Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4 (Reviewed), PC
Publishers: FOXNEXT Games, The Imaginarium, Creative England
Developer: The Imaginati Studios
Review copy supplied by the publisher.
The narrative-based adventure games produced by Telltale Games rules the market. Their titles adopt a collection of popular properties and transforms them into experiences that impact players due to important choices and climatic moments. The Imaginati Studios has decided to dip their toe into those waters by introducing the world of Planet of the Apes to the adventure game formula. While this release has its strong suits, technical imperfections and missing features that are usually included in games of its ilk bring its quality down a bit.
Taking place between the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes, Last Frontier lets you experience the hardships of the human and apes side. On the ape side of things, you’ll step into the role of Bryn. Bryn is forced to confront the continued survival of his clan, the issues that arise with his ill-tempered brother and the fact that Winter is coming. Over on the human side, you’ll take control of Jess. Jess steps into the mayoral role of a small village and has to make tough decisions all the while. Following along with the plot and taking it in any direction you choose is easily accomplished. All you have to do is make huge and minor decisions during conversations and the game’s more action-packed occurrences. Last Frontier acts like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book that doesn’t feature the free exploration in certain areas and side conversations Telltale Games focus on. It would have been so much more interesting to have actual interactions with the game’s visually pleasing characters and locales.
Speaking of visually pleasing, Last Frontier is a tour de force in that regard. The apes look damn near identical to the ones featured in the rebooted film franchise. Along with the amazing graphics, the voice acting and motion capture work stands just as tall. The apes move realistically, which helps keep players immersed into the moments that erupt into conflict. As you make your way through this longer than usual adventure game, you’ll grow enamored with certain characters and witness huge twists unfold. There’s three main outcomes you can arrive at (apes win, humans win or both sides arrive at a peaceful understanding). Getting there is an experience worth undertaking and you’ll be compelled to replay it all over again.
Even though the story unfolds in a very engaging way, Last Frontier still isn’t as strong as it should be. As mentioned beforehand, there’s no instances of moving your character around an environment and getting the chance to speak with NPC’s. Plus the game’s technical hiccups stick out like a sore thumb. When new scenes are introduced, textures take a few extra seconds to fully load. That strong sense of immersion that the game thrives on is broken once you spot an apes’ fur struggling to fully load. Sometimes the audio skips in and out, plus some of the humans’ faces don’t look as impressive as their simian counterparts. Last Frontier still feels a bit unfinished in the visual and audio departments.
Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is a decent but flawed adventure romp. Its strong suits lie in its amazing visuals, great motion capture work, pleasing audio acting and engaging story. However, a few key missing gameplay features and the litany of technical issues take away from those commendable attributes. If you’ve been following the Planet of the Apes‘ prequel series, then you’ll probably enjoy this more than curious non-fans.
- The graphics are impressive – the fur on the monkeys and the humans’ expressions look amazing
- The voice acting is superb, which lends a lot of weight to the game’s climactic moments
- Getting to see both sides of the conflict is nice
- There’s a few instances of textures struggling to fully load
- Not having the option to move freely around environments and chat is disappointing