Last Stand Union City

The Last Stand - Union City is a game by developers Armor Games and Con Artists that was released in July 2011. It is a side-scrolling action-based RPG wherein you're required to deal with a zombie apocalypse and at the same time traverse through an entire city full of zombies to rescue your spouse from them. Think Left for Dead mixed with a smattering of Fallout and some of the simplicity inherent in Flash games and you'll get an idea of what this game is all about. Here are some of the main features of this new game:

Gameplay

You start this game much like any typical RPG. You get to create your own character, choosing your gender, hairstyle and what not before you get down to choosing a class or an occupation that decides the skill set and strengths of your character to begin with. There are plenty of occupations to choose from, but you can create your own custom skill set if you wish to do so. As soon as you do this, you are treated to a montage wherein you're driving your car at breakneck speed before you bang into a zombie. You get out, and that's where the game begins.

From the off, the game makes it obvious that it is less story-based and more quest and exploration-based. The degree of customization and skills involved definitely make the game interesting. The controls are pretty convenient to begin with. W, A, S and D control your character movements (you can use the arrow keys too), Shift helps you sprint, R reloads your gun, F is used to switch the flashlight on and off, E is to activate and pick up stuff or do things like open trunks or drawers, G can be used to give your weapon, B is used to open your inventory and C opens the character sheet. You'll only need half of these at specific, peaceful intervals, so it isn't hard to get a hang of the game. The more zombies you kill, the more experience points you get which can then in turn be used to level up your character's skill set to choose the way you want to go, so much so that you can go either the Rambo way or the ninja way. No, those aren't actual character modes, basically one refers to a skill set that allows you to get in the thick of things and just blast and cut your way out of it, the other refers to being fleet-footed and sneaky so that you kill, run and kill again.

Speaking of running and killing, Last Stand 3 comes in two main modes, Easy and Hard. One is named "Run 'n' Gun" and the other's called "Survivor" respectively. "Run 'n' Gun" is easier because you don't have to worry about food and sleeping in that and you can just go around killing for as long as you want as much as you want with only health, weapons and most importantly ammo playing the spoilsports. For the other mode, you actually have to dig into your reserves of special surviving skills and come up with a way to scrounge around for food while not getting trampled over by the undead. And just like a normal person (people who play this game do not count), you need to sleep too. You can only sleep at safe houses, which are as rare as diamonds.

Whether you're looking for safe houses or not, exploration is a must for Last Stand Union City. There are tons of places to explore, and exploring all of them is pretty much necessary if you want access to all the weapons, clothes (which are important because they provide armor) and health packs that the game has to offer, Granted, you'll find plenty of junk too, but it's easy to work out what is junk and what is not. For instance, nothing but your physical brain can be used to bribe the zombies, so a $10 bill isn't going to help you much in taking the fight to the undead (although cash is cash, and plus its light so it can't hurt to keep it). You don't have much storage space and can only carry a certain weight of items, so you have storage chests at various safe houses where you can store stuff and then retrieve it for use later on through a storage chest at some other safe house.

There are plenty of tips that can be helpful as you make your way through the game. Firstly, look out for the hordes that turn up for time from time to time. They tend to appear every 90 minutes (of game time), so keep an eye on the clock. Secondly, whenever a horde approaches, move to a long corridor or a street. In a small room, the horde can huddle around you and after that you're pretty much dead. Thirdly, the ammo for the more effective guns (long guns) is rare and the guns are heavier as well, so focus on the melee weapons like blades and strength to fight. With that in mind, get the Battle Axe as soon as possible. It can kill with one shot, has a good range and has no ammo issues, making it the perfect weapon. Fourthly, for the armored zombies, forget about headshots and go straight for the legs. And lastly, strip down to your barest minimums. Clothes are supposed to provide armor, but they don't really do that and by stripping down you might be able to add a good weapon. We would add something funny at this point but the image of a character going around killing stuff with a battle axe in nothing but his underwear would be funnier than anything that can be said.

The game does have some issues though, as you would expect with a game as ambitious and complicated as this one. The hordes are too frequent to the point of being boring and there's not enough variety in the types of zombies that you face, but the most frustrating and important one is the random number generator system used to determine your accuracy and damage caused. When you miss hitting the guy standing an inch from you for the twelfth consecutive time as you wildly swing your battle axe, you're pretty likely to go the whole hog and just swipe everything off of your table in frustration. Then there are issues with yours as well as the zombies' movement in that they're faster than you and your movements tend to be slightly stuck and choppy.

Next, you have the ending. While this isn't a story-oriented venture, a game as epic as this deserved an ending slightly less lame than the one it got. We would reveal it as a spoiler, but there's pretty much nothing to spoil there. Lastly, there are loads of bugs and glitches littered all over the place. Obviously the developers are going to work to solve them, so waiting a couple of months before you start playing might be a good idea.

If the negatives used up nearly 200 words, the positives deserve at least a thousand. Instead, all we will say is this: As a free flash-based action RPG game, Last Stand Union City game is unrivalled in terms of complexity, depth and therefore enjoyment. The design is a bit hard to understand first, but once you get it this game becomes a joy to play. You literally have an entire city to explore, complete with drawers and car trunks and pockets, and there's enough stuff around to keep you interested. If the stuff doesn't do it for you though, then the creepy graffiti and the last words of people scrolled in blood in a diary surely will. Explorations games simply do not get much better.

Graphics and Audio

The graphics are, quite simply, awesome. The level of detail would be considered high for a regular PC game, which makes it even more fantastic for a flash game. The colors are vivid, pretty much everything is distinguishable between the background and the foreground and there really isn't any need to say much beyond that. It's sufficient to say that you will never get tired of looking at this game, because while things aren't beautiful, they're just as they should be in a city full of the undead: dark, creepy and scary. The flashlight effect is in particular excellent.

There is little to no audio in the game. There is a sort of underlying tone that's hard to make out unless you really crank the volume up, but otherwise all you have is the sound of blades slashing and guns firing with the occasional roar of a zombie horde approaching. It's not a bad thing though, if anything it really amplifies the feeling that you're alone in a hostile world.

Conclusion

The ideal game for hours upon hours of pure unadulterated fun is here. You would do well to wait a while so that the bugs can be ironed out before you play the game, but no matter when you play it, you will love the game.

We will certainly be looking forward to the development of Last Stand 4 within the next few years, that's for sure.

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