Thursday, August 27, 2015

Everybody's Gone To The Rapture review

I kinda got away from writing reviews recently, but that's only because I haven't really been playing anything new enough to bother. I haven't bought a game at launch since the Witcher, and that hardly needed another review to speak for it. However, I got a $25 credit from Sony via some Vita settlement lawsuit, so I grabbed this early on.

I have been waiting for Everybody's Gone To The Rapture since I heard about it during E3, probably last year. It's a game by The Chinese Room, and is considered a spiritual successor to their previous game Dear Esther. My PC isn't the greatest around, so I didn't get a chance to play Dear Esther, which I really was interested in trying. $20 and a 6 GB download later, I was playing it.

First of all, the game is extremely slow paced. If you're not into exploring abandoned scenery and aren't OK with not having much to interact with, you will not enjoy this game. If you enjoy sci-fi and feel like you can move past slow paced gameplay and no solid objectives, the story is pretty fantastic. I won't spoil it for you, but if you're a fan of mysterious sci-fi and are a patient person, you will enjoy the journey.

The post apocalyptic landscape thing has been done to death, but this is a fresh take. Literally "fresh". There are signs of people everywhere - ringing phones, burning cigars in ashtrays, fires smoldering...but no one to be found. "Hauntingly beautiful" is going to be a phrase you could CTRL + F in every review of this game and find. The environment looks fantastic, and really feels lived in. You'll be walking around expecting a jump scare until the very end of the game, even though you know everyone is gone (by reading the title of the game even.)

The exhausting. You move at a snails pace. There is no fast travel. The game only auto-saves. Apparently holding R2 gives you a speed boost, but it is uncomfortable to do and I only figured that out at the end of the game. There are tons of maps scattered throughout the game, but no compass, no way to check where you have already been (other than your own memory), no obvious destination, and no mini-map available on screen nor in a pause menu. You will feel like you just got dropped off in a real life town that you've never been to. Despite this, I really didn't find myself getting lost too often, and the only time I really struggled was at the very end of the game.

There are things to interact with - mostly doors, a few other things throughout. You'll find yourself just mashing X a lot. There is no jump button either...often times a back-yard will be inaccessible due to a simple hedge row being in your way, and there will be no way to get in. The point of the game is exploration, but everything is just a little bit too empty. Houses all look different, but the rooms are either locked or just an empty room with nothing in particular to do in them. If you moved at double speed and could hold down R2 for an additional double speed, I feel like the game would be much more enjoyable.

The trophies are simple enough, and the platinum is very obtainable in a second playthrough with a guide. Without the trophies to guide you around a bit and give you some extra goals, the game would have been unbearable.

All things considered, I can't say Everybody's Gone To The Rapture is a bad game. Although, at the same time, I don't think I'd call it great, or maybe not even good. I would definitely recommend waiting for a sale. $20 is much too high for this game. $15 would have been a much better starting point, and at $8-10, I'd give it a full point higher in my rating. The story really makes the difference and saves this one. It's just interesting and mysterious enough to make you want to know what happens, and to push you to slowly creep your way to the end of the game.

I guess 6/10. If you can grab it for under $10, 7/10. It's an extremely interesting concept, and if there had been just a little more to do, or a way to check off where you had been on a map it could have been fantastic.

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