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Last Train Home Review (PC)

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Last Train Home Review

It’s not every day you run into an RTS combatant game like Last Train Home. Popular games in the genre, like Company of Heroes, will have nations going up against each other. Your job? Claim victory. Oftentimes, you can find games like Frostpunk, which charge you with surviving harsh winters. But few, like Last Train Home, which, at its core, is about survival, resource management, and historical narrative storytelling, mesh together to put out a one-of-a-kind RTS you ought to try. 

With lots to do—strategic planning and tactical skirmishes awaiting your command—you're probably wondering whether it’s a little too overwhelming crammed into one package. Better still, what’s the gameplay like? Is it challenging, rewarding, or janky? Is Last Train Home everyone’s cup of tea, or would you instead try your luck elsewhere? For all intents and purposes, here’s our hands-on Last Train Home review to help you decide just how close to your alley the game is for you.

Last Call

Czechoslovak soldiers

In an interesting take on World War I, Last Train Home sets its stage a century past. It takes place just after Russia has won the war, and a civil war ensues in several parts of its belly. The game tells an often overlooked story, where Czechoslovak soldiers, having poured their sweat and blood fighting the greatest war in history, are now looking to make the long, arduous journey across a war-torn wasteland and unforgiving landscape of Siberia back to their families.

For perspective, Last Train Home’s soldiers have to travel a close to 5,000-mile journey back home via an armored train. They’ll course through villages stranded for resources, yet trade or steal what they can to sustain themselves the rest of the way. As the train picks up more soldiers on their way back home, you’ll find yourselves strapped for resources. 

Whether food, coal, or gear, you’ll have to inevitably make stops at often treacherous war-torn wastelands. Often, they run into hostile Red Army forces and third-party crooks. You’ve just come from winning World War I only to be thrust back into yet another civil strife ongoing for most of your way back home. But you have no choice but to stand your ground; your children and families await your triumphant return 5,000 miles away.

Out of the Box

major gazdik talking

Last Train Home isn’t entirely novel in the gaming or media worlds. But it sure does rock the RTS boat with ingenious ideas I can’t imagine having been missing all this time. I mean, thinking about it now, Last Train Home is probably the best idea for an RTS. It has purpose and urgency, which many will no doubt find compelling throughout its run-through.

Of course, perfect gameplay execution matters. It carries weight in just how fresh Last Train Home manages to keep its roughly 40-hour campaign. For the most part, you’ll engage in missions structured in the form of stop-overs along the way. Often, these will involve combat encounters of your usual Company of Heroes tactical ambush against adversaries, or vice versa. 

In the former, stealth will come in handy to catch them by surprise. Planning ahead, taking full advantage of the tactical view to identify enemy troops and bushes to hide in. But also, positioning your eight-person squad per mission matters greatly toward success. Particularly, assessing each soldier’s traits, needs, and stats, which Last Train Home has taken the extra step to uniquely curate for each one.

It makes Last Train Home a quite immersive military-style RTS, where you’re not just commanding a battalion but rather a squad of soldiers, each with a unique personality trait. And thanks to somewhat short character backstories, you start to form a relationship with them, caring for their wellbeing and the effect of the role you assign them.

Down the Gutter

soilders vs buglar

Say you enter a new area and run into an ambush awaiting you. Having plentiful resources beforehand will play the most prominent role in whether you win the fight. Consequently, you can’t ignore going on resource-gathering missions, whether trading with the countryside folk or stealing from them, however slight they may have.

It’s the only way to ensure your train keeps on running, and when you have to go into overdrive, you don’t run out of fuel, leaving you stranded by the train tracks awaiting your death. UI resource bars keep track of how much food, fuel, and equipment you have left. But resource management still isn’t a walk in the park, especially for RTS newbies.

Furthermore, you’ll need to manage manpower, narrowed down to managing each soldier’s stamina, health, and morale. Stamina drains out when you send out a three-person team to scout for resources. And not just anyone can be a part of the scouting team. 

You’ll need to assess each soldier’s skills and nurture them. Say, a soldier with hunting skills will return with more food than others, but at the expense of stamina. Morale, conversely, depends on the strain each person feels based on their traits. Some soldiers will desert you after a grueling mission. Others may develop alcoholic tendencies in your attempts to boost morale at the local pubs.

More Than  

train cabins

This is all to say that Last Train Home has a depth that's much more in scope than your everyday RTS. It has many moving parts, which also don’t jam into one another. Instead, you’ll see them unfold at a manageable pace along your journey home. Factor in deeply configured soldiers with whom you form a stronger connection than any RTS in recent memory, and it’s easy to lose yourself in Last Train Home for its entirety.

The game truly makes you feel like every decision you make matters. And that when you take the time to consider a choice, whether to set the train on the riskier path to pick up more soldiers or take the safer route and venture forth into unknown territory, it really does pay off in the end, for better or worse.

But that’s not all. You also need to pay attention to, perhaps, the most critical piece in your toolset: the train. Without it, you’ll be left dead. You’ll have lost the game. So, often making sure to sustain its health, so to speak. Every division in the train—the cafeteria and infirmary—has everything they need to run smoothly. 

The train can also get you out of a tight spot, thanks to its two armored turrets with long-range cannons providing distant fire support. So, making sure to always boot up its armor and gear will go a long way toward ensuring that it emerges on the other side of the war safe and sound. Combined, the combat and train-based two-part missions seamlessly blend to create an in-depth challenging, yet rewarding time spent with Last Train Home.

Justice Served

soliders talking to woman

I have to give credit to the visual and sound design. Spectacularly done. The visuals, split into live-action scenes and beautiful sketches, do justice to the importance of the historical story told here. They convey such specific details in the environment and characters that really bring to life the Siberia setting and significance. 

Sound design seals the deal, with impeccable voice acting in the native language, which solidifies the authentic appeal of Last Train Home. Even if you switch to English, characters still sound believable and bring to life their varied personalities. Then we have the sound effects, which perfectly simulate the unease a time like post-World War II must have felt. 

Thumbs Down?

red army raiding

If there are cons to speak of, I’d be nitpicking at them. Some are specific to your taste, like the level of difficulty, which can be gruesome for inexperienced RTS gamers. No training wheels, I’m afraid, except for the prologue section, which barely covers the intricate and complex moving parts Last Train Home has to offer.

On that front, though, you can always adjust the difficulty setting as you please. It can make it so that paying attention to the train itself isn’t as necessary, which leaves you to focus more on the combat missions alone. At least then, you may enjoy gameplay you’re likely more used to. 

But for challenge seekers out there, you have the option to crank up the difficulty, too. I mean, if persistent death and damage don’t make you wince even a little, you can always charge it up and make it so enemies kill you faster while resources on the train run out just as fast. 

Overall, though, Last Train Home has done a fantastic job of designing a game whose controls work seamlessly. And if not, it never gets too bad to derail your experience.  


mission successfull

As uneasy as Last Train Home’s story and combat are, I have to say the end result is an utterly entertaining experience, and every gamer ought to give it a try. Mind you, newbies will have to learn the ropes a tad more than in usual RTS games. Mainly because Last Train Home offers intense depth that requires you to keep track of several moving parts. 

But the game also sews along a seamless control system and helpful tactical view tools to keep you trudging to the end. Additionally, you enjoy immersive storytelling and well-crafted, authentically accurate settings, marrying together to create a beautiful mosaic work of art. 

If the difficulty is the only thing standing in your way of playing this one, let’s just say no one said escaping war-torn post-World War I Serbia was going to be a walk in the park.

Last Train Home Review (PC)

A Long, Arduous Journey Back Home

Winning World War aside, Last Train Home creatively expresses an out-of-the-box, unique side to RTS, one you probably haven’t explored just yet. Help a group of Czechoslovak soldiers make a long, arduous 5,000-mile train journey back home amidst the chaos of civil war and strife. While tenacious and challenging, your efforts do pay off in the end.

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.