Hands-on review: Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is an interactive movie
The Planet of the Apes franchise has spawned lots of great Hollywood movies over the years. Both the original series plus the new trilogy are excellent. The only stain in the movie franchise is the horrible Tim Burton remake. The opposite can be said about its video games. Sadly, the Planet of the Apes franchise has never created a great video game. The PSOne game is one of the worst games I've ever played while the Game Boy Advance version was also atrocious. Fast forward to 2017 and we finally get a new video game in the franchise called Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier. Is it as good as the movies or is it another video game flop? I was looking forward to playing this game mainly because I'm the self proclaimed biggest Planet of the Apes fan in New Zealand. I've watched all of the movies, the short lived TV show and can quote all of the lines. That said, I'm sad to say Last Frontier is not the perfect game I was hoping for. Even though it expands on the lore of the new series, it's not as good as I was hoping it would be
Last Frontier takes place between the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes with the player being able to control two different characters. One is from a tribe of apes named Bryn while the other character is from a human village named Jess.
The main premise of the game is that it's Winter and both factions are running low on food and supplies. The two factions will have to decide whether or not they want to fight the each other to survive the long Winter.
This game is more like an interactive movie because you are able to choose the choices that Bryn and Jess make. As the player, you can choose to be a pacifist or you can be violent and try and be more ruthless with your decisions. The main thing that disappoints me about the game is that your choices rarely make a difference throughout the story until the very end. For most of the game, your choices don't even matter.
For example, I was controlling Jess and I told some hunters to go away as I didn't want to help them. However, someone else in the village thought I was heartless so they let the hunters in the village anyway therefore negating my decision.
The same scenario happened with the apes. I was Byrn and I said that the ape named Juno is too young to go hunting, but their father overruled my decision and that was that.
Not to mention the game lacks the many branching plots you can get from the likes of Heavy Rain or any of the Telltale video games. You only have two choices given to you at any time limiting the number of outcomes that could happen. In terms of actual gameplay, you can only use the sticks on the DualShock or tap on the screen of a smartphone/tablet device. You can also play the game with more than one player so you can "fight" to see which decision to make.
Your decisions are kind of limited at the beginning of the game making it quite slow and boring. However, the story starts to pick up towards the end and there are multiple endings for you to see so there's some replay value here.
Visually, the game is kind of a mixed bag. The motion capture animation and the look of the apes is excellent. The only thing that drags the graphics down are the human character models. Humans look false and robotic that it was off-putting to look at them especially during emotional cutscenes.
Anyway, Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is the best Planet of the Apes game ever made, but that's not saying too much. The game sadly isn't as enjoyable as other choice based games out there. Hopefully things improve in the future if another developer wants to make a game based on this popular franchise.