Late Shift Review
Late Shift, heralded as ‘the world’s first cinematic interactive movie” is a new experience from CtrlMovie. It’s essentially a choose-your-own-adventure movie, where you guide the decisions of our studious protagonist, Matt, as he’s whisked away and dropped into the middle of a heist.
For anyone who’s looking to really play and engage in something, you should look elsewhere. Late Shift is all about watching a scene and making a choice with limited time, then seeing the outcome. It’s sort of like a Telltale game, but without any of the exploration or gameplay. However, if you’re looking for a relaxing but intriguing way to kill an afternoon, this might be the game for you.
There’s a lot to watch, with about four hours of footage and seven different endings. The choices you make are placed well for the most part, and I almost always wanted to see the other outcomes immediately. Unlike a book, you can’t quickly jump to each page, read a bit, and then make your real decision. Here, you make your choice and live with the consequences. I went in with low expectations and visions of some classics like Night Trap or The Beast Within, but I went away pleasantly satisfied.
“A couple cast members did underperform a bit, particularly the original driver, but overall it’s a good performance.”
The acting from the majority of the characters was above par and for the most part, I could believe their motivation and quirks. Even if it’s not quite as good as recent Hollywood blockbusters, don’t forget that all of these actors aren’t just memorizing single timelines and outcomes. Storyboarding this whole process must have been a bit of a nightmare, so I’m impressed when certain characters act believable in the same scene but with totally different emotions. A couple cast members did underperform a bit, particularly the original driver, but overall it’s a good performance.
One serious issue is the latency you get not only between choices but between most scenes in general. Nearly every time Late Shift switched scenes, there was a touch of lag before the film would speed up to get back in sync. This really pulled me out of the entire experience, and it’s a major hurdle the developers need to get over. At first, I was under the impression it was only happening after I would make a choice, but later into the film, I noticed it happening almost constantly. It’s distracting and very noticeable.
“When you make totally different choices, events actually play out differently enough where it doesn’t just feel like the illusion of choice.”
Aside from the technical hiccup, there’s not much to complain about. The price is reasonable, the content is decent, and the replay value is actually really great. I started over instantly once the credits were finished rolling, with a few key choices already on my mind. When you make totally different choices, events actually play out differently enough where it doesn’t just feel like the illusion of choice. Yes, sometimes you basically just choose a different line and things progress anyway, but considering this is supposed to play in theaters, that’s sort of necessary. While it would be good at home to have the option of suddenly ending everything by walking away or getting shot because of a mistake, it wouldn’t work on the big screen. That’s enough justification for me.
If you want something to do that will hold your interest while you laze around, or a bit of a different experience the next time you go to watch a movie, I highly recommend Late Shift. It has some issues that are a bit jarring, but if you don’t let those distract you, it’s a great experience overall.
*** Xbox One code provided by the publisher ***
- Good story
- Decent acting
- Very replayable
- Lag between scenes
- Lacks real failure states