The Last Federation Review
Arcen Games is known for really branching out when it comes to their video games. Titles like A Valley Without Wind and Shattered Haven offer a unique take on gaming within the indie community. They are also known for kick-ass soundtracks. Their latest title is The Last Federation and it is a new take on space strategy games. AI War was the first of it’s kind and The last Federation is no different. However, this game has many of the same problems as Skyward Collapse and Bionic Dues.
You are a survivor belonging to a now near extinct race of people. Hence the name, “Last Federation”. It is up to you to build the race back up and make nice with whomever is willing to help in the universe. This has to all be done by yourself, in a small ship. Can you be a diplomat or a military general? How about leaving that behind and becoming someone who just does whatever they want for the highest bidder? The Last Federation gives you that option.
The story is pretty cool if you have the right amount of patience. There is a lot to read in this game and in a world were voice acting is common place people these days seem to be more relucant to actually reading stuff. This game is filled with lore that enrich the atmosphere of The Last Federation and it is quite something to behold. It is not easy creating a game without using some kind of source material like Greek Mythology or something. The amount of content is vast, just like space. However, your willingness to explore all of this lore is entirely up to you, like I said, a lot of reading.
Spaceship battles is only half of the gameplay. However, it is the most enjoyable part about The Last Federation. Combat is turn based and takes place in two phases. The planning phase, this is where you divert energy to different parts of your ship, the path your ship will travel, and the target your weapons will fire at. After these choices are made, everything on screen moves the way they were supposed to. Some weapons are better against other ships. You have to breach shields and hulls to destroy a ship and that requires you to anticipate when to switch your weapons. Careful though, odds are you will be outnumbered so prioritizing targets is crucial.
The other part of the gameplay is when you are not on missions. This is where many of The Last Federation’s problems start to surface. The obvious ones are the menus. The text is rather small and there is a lot of information on the screen. It clutters the user interface and makes the game difficult to play because not only is there a lot of information, you will be flipping through a large number of menus just to do a simple gathering mission. There is a lot of content, but it is very overwhelming. It only gets bigger from the start of the game. The diplomacy is cool, and how you build relationships with other races is also well done, but to get to the point to where these parts actually matter is very time consuming and exhausting.
The cluttered menus bring up the next problem with The Last Federation. Conveyance. I say this a lot in my reviews for indie games because I feel like it is a continuing problem. I understand that many game developers do not want to hold the gamer’s had while playing. However, that is no excuse to throw so much information on a screen and expect the gamer to remember everything then automatically know what to do. The Last Federation has a lot of “What do I do? Where do I go?” Moments and it can be rather frustrating.
These were the biggest problems I faced when playing Arcen’s new game. They delivered on a unique gameplay experience, but it takes a niche click of gamer to really enjoy this sort of game. Of course the art style is brilliant and the soundtrack is phenomenal. Sadly the game’s overworld gameplay holds it back from being something you could neglect your responsibilities for. I give The Last Federation a 6/10. The problems this game had, were really hard to forgive. However, this game can still be fun and it is playable.