Last Train Home is an exciting military management game and a tactical real-time strategy game that puts you in control of the Czechoslovak Legion at a time when the Russian Civil War is breaking out. Since you are unable to go west in order to get back to your home, you devise a desperate plan: you take an armoured train and travel across Siberia. Both on the train, where you are responsible for assigning duties and distributing supplies, and on the battlefield, where you are in charge of commanding units of ten troops engaged in tactical real-time strategy battles, you are in charge of managing the voyage.
When it comes to historical accuracy, Last Train Home is more concerned with providing you with a look into the desperate atmosphere that prevailed during a particular time and location. During the Russian Civil War, the Czech Legionaries have expressed their desire to avoid fighting on any side. Their true desire is to return home, but nobody wants a huge band of armed men who are not connected with any one side wandering about. This is especially true for the Red revolutionaries, who rapidly become your principal adversaries.
While it is true that it is historical fiction, it is also true that it is well-done fiction that represents a time and place with faithfulness in emotion and detail rather than precision of facts. The events that occurred over the course of tens of thousands of people over the course of years are reduced to dozens over the course of months. Additionally, it is presented in a manner that is very rich, with music and artwork that are much beyond what one would anticipate from a game of this level of production and money.
In spite of the fact that her mother noticed squirrels in her window, she decided to notify the authorities after taking a closer look at them.
In Last Train Home, the narrator, Captain František Langer, who is a historical character whose presence seems genuinely Czech, is responsible for a significant portion of the historical fervour that unfolds throughout the story. The real-life Langer was a physician, poet, and dramatist who served with the Legion and battled throughout Siberia, defending the territory. His narrative, in-scene words, and FMV performance are all written (in English) and given (in Czech) with the kind of spirit that is suitable for one of the great literary nations of the 20th century. This provides the author with the freedom to guarantee that his phrases are not only appropriate but also lyrical.
In order to highlight this point, I will quote the in-game Langer, who states that the sheer human anguish that occurred during the civil war just never came to an end: “As did the fighting that went on and on without relent, a restless storm upon a human sea.”
Trains of bullets
The true challenge for you is to find a way to weather that storm. Within an almost subversively open-ended system of role-playing game-like character classes, your troops are required to become multi-skilled individuals. They must be able to do a variety of tasks simultaneously, including those of riflemen, boiler-stokers, machine gunners, engineers, physicians, scouts, and chefs. For them, you must combine occupations. While managing staff is a well-designed joy, it requires you to strike a balance between the thought that your greatest engineer may get blown up by a stray shell on any given mission and the desire to keep things operating as efficiently as possible. Individuals tend to wear out more quickly than equipment does.
Last Train Home is a game that provides a convincing picture of a combat force, which is something that is seldom seen in games of this type. This makes it seem very refreshing. They are filthy and chilly, but they are studying because they have no choice. A Commandos crew or an XCOM campaign is comprised of highly specialised and very clean super troops, but they are a far way from the world-saving squad of super soldiers who might save the planet.
At the same time, you are responsible for ensuring that they continue to fight, that they are fed, and that they are warm by controlling your train and collecting supplies. However, each mile that is travelled and each battle that is fought consumes reserves of energy and health that will need to be regained until their bodies and morale are restored. Not only do you send them out to defend against attackers, but you also send them out on optional side missions. For example, a Red militia may be robbing civilian fields, or a convoy may be transporting goods that you may potentially utilise. Are we able to spare the men? Do you think it would be more effective if we just sent them hunting or if we instead raided that abandoned village? When it comes to military management, decisions that are both compelling and uncertain are quite rare.
Last Train Home’s real-time strategy battle is the game’s worst component. The primary design of it may be too dependent on your ability to stop the game and reposition your soldiers in the middle of conflict, which may be considered excessively micromanagement-intensive. That is understandable since it is enjoyable to set up ambushes with overlapping fields of fire, stopping to hurl a grenade or snipe a machine gunner in the most effective manner possible; yet, the fundamental issue is that you do not actually want to shoot. Due to the fact that each and every bullet is being frantically sought for, entering into a vigorous gunfight is the worst conceivable event that might occur.
Despite the fact that you end up favouring stealth, the controls are just not there to provide a satisfying experience while playing Last Train Home as a stealth strategy game. Unfortunately. For example, there is no button that is specifically designated to discriminate between close-range and far-range assaults. That would have been acceptable in previous years, but in a year that saw the release of Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, a stealth strategy game developed by Mimimi, a leader in the genre, it is difficult to imagine anything other than a highly solid stealth strategy experience.
If you come to Last Train Home, however, it is not for the RTS in particular; rather, you should come to this one for the very human history, and you will not be disappointed.