A Preview of Last Train Home
Last Train Home is the latest title soon to be released by THQ Nordic Games that tells the story of a legion of Czechoslovakian soldiers trapped on the wrong side of Russia during the last days of World War I. These stranded soldiers have stolen an armored locomotive and plan to use it to get to the distant city of Vladivostok, from where they can obtain safe travel home. The train is their only opportunity to escape Russia, and your decisions on the isometric battlefield will determine how many of them make it back. For fans of This War of Mine, Company of Heroes, and Arma, Last Train Home may be your next fixation.
What real-world events is Last Train Home based on?
Last Train Home is a survival real-time strategy game that tells a harrowing tale based on actual World War I events. Players will need to use their wits to help a stranded group of soldiers get home on a stolen armored train. Publisher THQ Nordic and developer Ashborne Games are approaching the real-time strategy genre with a refreshing twist that combines intuitive and accessible combat with base-building and crew management. The developers researched extensively and worked closely with the ancestors of Czech soldiers to make Last Train Home as historically accurate as possible. Like the real-world events the game is based on, soldiers had to defend the train and take on other jobs, ranging from making repairs to making food. Although real-time strategy combat will be a major component of the game, Last Train Home has a lot more to it. Players will embark on a desperate mission through the depths of the war-torn wasteland of Siberia and command a legion of soldiers desperately trying to make their way home amidst the chaos of a civil war.
Last Train Home is a compelling narrative that portrays the experiences of the Czechoslovak Legion and their determination to return to their newly formed republic following The Great War. The game is set during the chaotic period of the Eastern Front in the later period of World War I and beyond. Based on the almost unbelievable story of the Czechoslovak Legion, Last Train Home has you leading an armored train full of soldiers wishing to return to their newly won state, but who cannot go the easy way west due to political concerns and blockades. Instead, they are forced to push east across 6,000 miles of the Trans-Siberian railway, fighting all the way, and (spoiler alert) eventually cross the sea from the port of Vladivostok to reach Europe and safety. The game will feature a complete in-game encyclopedia detailing its historical context, so players can fully immerse themselves in the trials of the Czechoslovakian soldiers. The encyclopedia is a product of the developer’s close cooperation with the descendants of the Czechoslovak Legion, who not only acted as historical consultants to ensure accuracy and authenticity but even helped film the game’s impressive live-action trailer with their replica of the armored train that was used on this wild adventure a century ago.
Storyline and characters
Last Train Home tells the story of a group of Czechoslovakian soldiers stuck behind enemy territory right at the end of World War I and following the Russian Revolution. Luckily, this legion was able to steal an armored train and journey through Siberia’s rough winter toward home. The story picks up following the 1917 Russian Revolution, when the Bolshevik Red Army fought the Tsarist White Army to control the country. Lasting four years, the Russian Civil War involved the deaths of 10 million people, and the chaos it induced displaced many more.
Ashborne Games has put a lot of care into dealing with the delicate nature of war and survival, and in what we saw this is abundantly clear. Every character has a name and a history, instead of just being a soldier controlled by AI that becomes lost in the balance of survival and death. You need to assign your soldiers to different tasks in the carriages, and thanks to their varied beliefs, some step up to the plate more effectively than others. This adds a personal touch to the decisions you’ll make when playing, especially when you see how the gameplay mechanics work.
The characters help make the world feel more alive too, with voice acting in the characters’ native languages making the game more immersive. It can be hard to care much about individual units in real-time strategy games when the only real end goal is to make them survive to the end, but players will find themselves getting attached to the crew and doing everything they can to keep each character alive. This is all thanks to the small interactions and scenes that take place between and during missions that bring the world to life and throw players deep into the action.
Gameplay in Last Train Home is all about keeping the train and crew in shape. Stopping to scavenge for supplies or pick up new allies is vital if you want to make it home alive. The general gameplay loop of travel, stop, complete missions, and travel again might seem repetitive, but so much effort is taken to make the world feel alive that it never grows stale. You’ll be faced with dilemmas throughout your journey that have to do with the civil war raging in the country, and the decisions you make on your way will influence the final battle of the game. The single-player story is expected to take 30–40 hours to complete.
From the official game website:
- PICK YOUR BATTLES: Deploy your squad and complete diverse objectives in a series of real-time missions where specialist combat skills, planning, and superior tactics will lead you to victory.
- EQUIP YOUR SOLDIERS: Level up your men by unlocking new skills and gathering better equipment—discover their stories, assign medals, and help them rise up through the ranks.
- MANAGE YOUR CREW: Direct your soldiers in their noncombat roles aboard the train. Craft items, heal your wounded, and restore morale for the arduous journey home.
- UPGRADE YOUR TRAIN: Unlock your armored train’s full potential by upgrading the carriages and locomotive and oversee important maintenance work to keep it running.
- JOURNEY THROUGH SIBERIA: Stockpile and trade supplies, make new allies, and overcome crisis after crisis as civil war rages across the vast snowfields of Siberia.
The game is split into two distinct layers: strategic and tactical. On the strategic map, you follow the progress of your armored train as it makes its way through war-torn Russia, halting occasionally to take on important supplies like coal and food, recruit more refugees seeking an escape, clear obstacles, and complete missions.
Combat is the second big part of Last Train Home. Taking place on the tactical layer and in real time, each of your crew members from the strategic layer is represented in combat as well—their wounds and injuries will persist from layer to layer, and losing a crew member will affect your ability to operate the train. Each man’s life is supremely important in Last Train Home.
Players must also strategize for effective base building and crew management to survive. The limited number of crew on the train are each able to hold two professions; crew have one role in combat and another in service of the train and fellow survivors. Civilian professions include doctor and mechanic; crew must repair the train after it breaks down or is attacked by enemies, feed and heal other crew members, and upgrade the train. Martial professions include scout, sniper, and machine gunner. In each profession, a different set of skills is required to complete the scenarios you’re thrown into. Gameplay is cover-based and features stealth elements, such as line-of-sight and noise, that must be considered when infiltrating enemy bases and setting up ambushes. Players will also need to carefully consider where it's safe to stop the train to refill resources.
Players will discover certain towns and areas that can provide rest and resources that units of soldiers can explore. Although some locations may contain valuable resources and even new allies, others may hide enemies ready to ambush soldiers or the train. The train often has to be stopped so that the crew can perform repairs on it. Encountering enemy soldiers and even surprise attacks like artillery fire will occur that can severely damage vital components of the train and its crew. Caution must be exercised because if soldiers die, they are gone for good. Fortunately, the game offers specific save points that can be restored from if all hope is lost.
During combat and other missions, you can control groups of up to ten soldiers. Soldiers can be assigned individual tasks and moved to specific locations independently of other soldiers. Infantrymen will provide firepower to take out small pockets of resistance, and medics can stay back and provide aid to injured soldiers. You can lob grenades, spy on nearby camps to find safe spots or hidden dangers, and more. The point-and-click controls allow players to control the combat at their own pace, and the action can even be fully paused. This gameplay mechanic looks straightforward and should make it easy to set up ambushes while also completing secondary objectives.
Players will be able to choose the locations their group visits and the missions they take on. Decisions made will affect how the game’s story plays out. For example, helping a group of strangers may earn players some much-needed resources to repair the train or feed survivors, and newly created allies may even appear later to aid players when it really matters. However, helping others may also turn out to be a trap, resulting in getting the train damaged or even getting soldiers killed. Considering these features, the game should contain enough variation to provide for multiple unique playthroughs.
As you get closer to Siberia and your target, the port at Vladivostok where Entente ships will evacuate you, the biting cold of winter will be just as dangerous as the roaming Red Army troops you need to deal with.
When is the game coming out?
Last Train Home is set to launch on November 28, 2023, for Windows PC via Steam. For more awesome games, make sure to check out the lineup of games the Xbox Game Pass has on offer. Furthermore, with the purchase of a Windows 11 PC from Acer, you can enjoy one month free of Xbox Game Pass.
Nitro V 15 gaming laptop (ANV15-51)
In September, Acer launched a brand new gaming laptop: the Nitro V 15 (ANV15-51). Like other models in the Nitro series, the ANV15-51 features a black, plastic case with a smooth matte surface, RGB keyboard lighting, and colored stripes on the back of the case for added visual appeal. In general, the Nitro series of laptops are machines that without costing a whole fortune have been configured with powerful AMD Ryzen™ or Intel Raptor™ or later CPU options and the latest NVIDIA RTX™ 4000 series video cards.
This latest model comes in a range of configurations, with its baseline version being powered by a 13th-gen Intel Core i5-13420H processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 graphics card with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory, and other versions can come with 13th-gen Intel Core i7 processors. Memory-wise, the laptop supports up to 32 GB of DDR5 memory. For storage, you can opt for up to 2 TB of M.2 PCIe solid-state storage, ensuring quick booting and fast loading within games. It impresses with a generous number of I/O ports (three USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port, an ethernet port, an HDMI port, a headset jack, and a DC-in jack). It also has a unique fan and exhaust system that works by drawing cool air in through the keyboard and expelling hot air through vents on the side and rear. It offers a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display for exceptional display quality and brightness, with a 144-Hz refresh rate and a quick 3-ms response time, for an 82% screen-to-body ratio.
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Here are the specs of the Acer Nitro V 15 ANV15-51 gaming laptop:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-13420H
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 (6 GB GDDR6)
- Display: 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 × 1080) IPS display with 144-Hz refresh rate
- RAM: 8 GB DDR5 (upgradable to 32GB)
- Storage: 512 GB SSD (PCIe Gen4, 16 Gb/s, NVMe)
- Operating System: Windows 11 Home
- Ports: 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 port with power-off charging, 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 1 × Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port, HDMI, and 1 × USB Type-C port (Thunderbolt)
- Battery: 57 Wh
Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.