Goodmorning, goodafternoon or goodevening and welcome to yet another ABG review. Today we’ll be taking a look at the solo-developer project: Last Visit, developed by Pavrek Games. Last Visit is a first person horror game, with a focus on daunting atmosphere – let’s review.
How one derives fun from a product tends to be highly subjective. Therefore ALL forms of review are opinionated and should be taken with a grain of salt (this included). So let’s analyze Last Visit, through the lens of more objective metrics such as; graphical fidelity, characters/story, content/length, controls & gameplay, and then finally, sound design & cinematics. This product was played on a 3080 10GB, 32GB Ram, with an i9-11900KF 3.5GHz and a 512 GB Steamdeck. For full transparency: this content was reviewed using a copy of the game graciously provided by the developer.
First stop: visuals. And in an age of retro-pixel success, there’s a lot of leeway with regards to games not necessarily looking like Death Stranding. Fair enough. Games can make amazing use of pre-bought (or sometimes free) assets, and Last Visit could be no exception. Utilizing Unity Engine, TurboSquid, and CGTrader assets, Last Visit sets out for a precise style which it has achieved.
Most often, the blue-greenish hue of your flashlight will douse the world around you in a pale-ghostly palette that remains consistent throughout most of the game. In naturally lit areas, players may notice far more varied colours. However, these areas are often limited to house interiors – as the majority of the rest of the game is shrouded in crisp, penetrating darkness. This aspect will definitely be an acquired taste for the player – Do you enjoy stumbling around feeling vulnerable in the dark like Amnesia? Or does the obscurity frustrate you and feel unnecessary? I find there can be an enjoyable balance, one that may not have been struck here.
Although the flashlight doesn’t run out, (and one can even focus the beam) the endless dark coupled with similar models/textures, makes it difficult to spot things you are looking for. Which is tricky, especially for a quest-based game such as this. But more on that later.
That being said, Last Visit’s application of said assets needs some work. In some of the houses, and at certain locations, attention to detail has been paid, and it shows through tense atmospherics and occasionally enticing visuals that engage player curiosity. I use the word enticing because it does compel the player to wonder more about this setting and its characters, which we’ll discuss next.
Characters & Story
Without spoiling the story, it follows Gabriel returning to a family locale and discovering that something has gone very, very, nope.
I found that this title made decent use of environmental storytelling, using area staging to convey atmosphere or specific details to the player to relatively effectiveness. Unfortunately, there is a reliance on something I find to be a bit of a dry spell on gaming lately; the compulsive intrusion of excessive notes. While I understand using in-game non-dialogue text to deliver a story, I don’t think many of us are here to read a tonne. There are variances at times, with audio tapes and visions, but the game is so isolating that without any non-hostile NPC interaction, it’s all just exposition being lobbed at you.
Generally speaking, this aspect of the game is a resounding meh. It’s not Christopher Nolan, but neither written by Tommy Wiseau. Taking into consideration that the writing, delivery, development, etc was all
done by a single individual, it’s almost impressive. The competition is just damn stiff. Moving on to the meat and potatoes.
Content & Length
It’s difficult to judge, but from what I played, Last Visit should run players between four to eight hours of gameplay. This includes a respectable amount of collectibles and secret locations to discover if one has the curiosity. Last Visit is solely a single player experience, with no expectation of being anything more based on trailers. This game knows what it is and doesn’t try to be what it’s not.
Primarily, Last Visit utilizes an open, ‘task’-based structure, with main objectives moving the story forward. There’s a varied and occasionally creative (occasionally frustrating) puzzles and tasks involving items, the environment, and sometimes ingenuity.
Controls & Gameplay
Being a First Person game, Last Visit handles pretty much as one would expect. Except it doesn’t. Well, not exactly. It controls as one would, yet it feels like Forrest Gump running through molasses. Not good. Although this complaint would have been partially remedied with the inclusion of a fast-travel system – however I couldn’t figure out how to use it. Clicking the button on the map for it didn’t work, and I figured this might have been because the 1920×1080 setting was being stretched to fill an Ultrawide canvas, distorting where the button “really” was. To my dismay, turning off fullscreen didn’t solve the issue, displaying the “1920×1080” still in apparent 3440×1440 and the button remaining unclickable. I also tried selecting houses to no avail. Most perplexing. Additionally, squishy text looks squished. ‘Nuff said.
Credit where credit is due, while these screenshots will not reflect it – transparency has been added to the compass as to make it less distracting.
While Amnesia inspirations are worn on its sleeve, this title’s protagonist walks and runs as if he’s trying to get murdered by the spookie-scaries of the endless night. Not good, indeed. This somewhat hinders the abundance of running players will be required to do in pursuit of a small assortment of items. Usually these are sequential, one item granting access to another, and so on.
The compass is… a thing. A thing that exists in this game. It’s not a literal compass your character carries, but a HUD element at the top of your screen. This thing is janky, and required some big-brain time to figure out. So, it appears that objectives stick to the right side of the compass, and can’t pop up on the left side unless passed the center mark, looking right. My prefrontal cortex hurts a bit, but let’s move on.
Sound Design & Cinematics
This is what I felt would have been Last Visit‘s strongest aspect, if it had some refining. Solid audio design can certainly make the difference between a tense situation and a good nap. Some of the creepy crawlies sound genuinely spooky, and it is a little unnerving to get chased by some of these enemies. I did notice however, an uneven loop in one of the songs.
Most if not all of the voice acting is done, presumably, by the developer and that’s relatively impressive, though there’s not muuch range. I found the main character sounded like Dylan from The Quarry – take that for what you will.
I didn’t experience any cinematics, so that’s not a feature up for analysis.
Unfortunately, I know it’s cheesy – but I can’t resist. This will likely be my last visit to Last Visit. I gave it a fair shot and pushed through some rough spots, but eventually got stonewalled and couldn’t figure out what to do, nor where to go. A player can only run around in circles near a quest location without hints for so long before getting bored, and that’s exactly what happened. Maybe I missed something really obvious and that’s on me, but my stubbornness is usually enough to get me through most titles. Maybe my primitive lizard brain just wouldn’t engage in the proper way to allow me the sweet, sweet success I desired, but alas – here we are.
While I do take responsibility for not powering through to the credits (as I usually try to before forming a complete opinion), the title holds its fair weight for not A) commanding player attention, and B) Retaining it. Where Last Visit does have its merits, such as its atmosphere and certain Resident Evil-esque puzzles, don’t hold your breath for it to be the sleeper horror-hit of 2022. 2/10 This one needs a bit more time in the oven to cook before it’s ready. We’ll surely be keeping our eye on Pavrek Games for the team’s next project to see how its process evolves as it hones its development craft.
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An Interesting Concept That Admittedly Needs Some Work
- Score - 2/102/10
+ Occasionally tense moments
+ Some Creative Puzzles
– Some Frustrating Puzzles
– Needs Polish
Just a Canadian dude who’s passionate about gaming, and the industry as a whole.