The Last Stand: Aftermath PlayStation 4 Review

The Last Stand: Aftermath is a fun gaming experience that takes home the notion of pushing your luck and making tactical decisions to survive.

By RON, Posted 08 Dec 2021

Coming from humble beginnings is often a mark of pride. To overcome obstacles in one’s upbringing while trying to achieve the best version of oneself. It happens to people, and it happens to games. Such is the case with The Last Stand Series, a video game franchise that was born amidst the flash games era and evolved into becoming a bona fide indie release for PC and consoles alike. Incidentally, becoming each time better is at the core of this game’s mechanics, and facing adversities is the essence of its setting. Is the Last Stand the post-apocalyptic zombie game everyone’s waiting for to revolutionize the genre? Probably not but it is still a pretty decent game in which you will probably invest tenths of hours trying to master the ruined landscape of Union City.

The Last Stand: Aftermath, PS4, Review, PlayStation 4, Gameplay, Screenshots, Armor Games, Con Artist Games, NoobFeed

The Last Stand: Aftermath is a rogue-lite zombie third-person shooter with looting and crafting elements. That may sound like a mouthful, but fortunately, the game does not feel crammed with superfluous mechanics. Quite the contrary, the mechanics work in perfect tandem to deliver a rather enjoyable experience slightly set apart from other games within the genre and the same burnt-out trope of the zombie apocalypse. In this procedurally generated game, you take control of a randomly generated survivor, each one is unique in its name and appearance, and is subject to a perma-death system. So, yeah, you should be prepared to die a lot before making it through all the levels in a single run. Approximately 30 hours in you will be able to make a perfect run with a single survivor, so that is a lot of death, a lot of learning, and a lot of time to master the game. But not all is lost. As even though your character dies, there are some progression elements linked to the player itself which are kept from run to run, such as knowledge, which can be acquired by media such as magazines and digital files.

Going back to you dying, the game also makes sure that such an event will certainly happen in your first runs, because it introduces a very compelling gameplay mechanic tied directly to its narrative: you are infected and are prone to die after the timer runs out. You can buy more time looting antivirals, but your health will suffer a heavy toll as time goes by. But there is a silver lining, as you will also develop mutations, which is the neat part. The more infected you become, the more mutation tiers you can unlock, which will make it easier for you to traverse the wasteland. So, there is a fine balance between hurrying up to finish a level or trying to push your luck to gain more time, and more power through your mutations.

The Last Stand: Aftermath, PS4, Review, PlayStation 4, Gameplay, Screenshots, Armor Games, Con Artist Games, NoobFeed

The gunplay is quite fun. The game lets you attack enemies using firearms, which can be silenced with suppressors, or with melee, in the form of weapons you find, weapons you craft, or your bare fists. There is a very tactical element in which push your luck mechanics are also present. As with any other zombie game, being quiet is of the essence, as you do not want to alert other zombies by shooting a gun, because although they are more powerful and precise than your fists, they are also far noisier. To progress through the levels, you need to collect gas for your vehicle, which you must loot from the different locations. When you get enough you can keep looting or fleeing, it is up to you. You can even have enough gas to skip a level altogether, and it is up to you to decide whether you want to loot the place risking facing powerful enemies and consuming your precious time, or run to fight another day.

The enemies are not very inspired. They are zombies, and there are not that many variations of them. Much like in Left 4 Dead or The Last of Us, you get your regular infected, run-to-the-mill zombies and then you get your special infected, such as the exploding ones or the ones with body armor. Nothing really interesting in that department. The same can be said about the setting and the different levels. There are only so many ways you can present a ruined city, decadent buildings, and a collapsed society. Nothing really to write home about. And the story is the last uninspired element in this trifecta of clichés. There is some sense of urgency with you being infected and risking yourself to save a starving colony by volunteering to go out and loot. But still, it is the zombie apocalypse, and the writer behind the plot is no Cormac McCarthy.

The Last Stand: Aftermath, PS4, Review, PlayStation 4, Gameplay, Screenshots, Armor Games, Con Artist Games, NoobFeed

The ambiance, however, is achieved wonderfully through sound design and set dressing. The sounds of nature help you immerse in the fantasy of being a sole survivor trying to make it through the levels until that temporal peace is inevitably broken by the growling sounds of zombies out to get you.

The Last Stand: Aftermath, the fifth game of the series, is not a masterpiece but doesn’t need to be an enjoyable game. Yes, zombies, by now, are all played out and there is very little one can do to revitalize the genre. But still, this game strikes enough right notes to make something worth your while. The rogue-lite mechanics work beautifully and don’t feel too frustrating, and the fact that you get mutations and that those are useful to your journey is something that is not seen often in these narratives. If you are looking for a game in which to spend well over 30 hours trying to make it through a single run, then this game is for you. The Last Stand: Aftermath is a fun gaming experience that takes home the notion of pushing your luck and making tactical decisions to survive, and a game in which you will be rewarded for getting better at it.
 

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Armor Games
Developer(s): Con Artist Games
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Zombie Apocalypse, Shooter, Fighting
Release Date: 2021-11-16

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