'Gone Home' - review

Monday, 19 August 2013 01:12 AM Written by 

GoneHome“Gone Home,” the latest indie craze from The Fullbright Company, is not an easy game to review. It’s one of the most unorthodox games that I’ve played in recent memory. Story is at the forefront of the “Gone Home” experience. So much so that I feel that I’d be doing a disservice by revealing more than what occurs in the first two minutes.

 

It opens with a phone call over a black screen. The year is 1995. You play as Kaitlin Greenbriar who is returning home to her family after a long trip through Europe. The chipper phone call from Kaitlin to the family’s answering machine explains that she arrived early, and that she doesn’t need a ride home from the airport. Kaitlin’s family had recently moved to a new house, so the surroundings are all new to her. You arrive to the unfamiliar home in the middle of a thunderstorm. The house is seemingly abandoned. The first message is a note posted on the front door from Kaitlin’s younger sister Sam. It tells Kaitlin not to go looking for answers about where she is. Thus begins Kaitlin’s journey of discovery.

 

You are alone in the house for the game’s entirety. The goal is to put the pieces together and figure out where everyone is. What is eventually revealed is a heart-wrenching, but also hopeful, story that is seldom found in video games. “Gone Home” pushes the medium forward.

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“Gone Home’s” structure is as original as its story. The game takes place from the first-person view of Kaitlin, who explores the rooms of this ominous mansion. Her journey consists of traveling from room to room opening moving boxes, reading letters, and discovering objects that all tell a small part of a large story. A player can get from beginning to end and learn the truth, but “Gone Home's” splendor is in its details. Each minute detail of the home aids in uncovering the rich character development of the characters whom you never formally meet. I came to learn more about this family in my two hours exploring their house than I've ever learned about my squadmates in a 20-plus hour RPG epic.

 

The two-hour length of this game is my chief complaint. “Gone Home” is a $20 game that yields just two hours of gameplay, and comes with little to no replay value. Some critics argue that the game’s story and uniqueness justifies the price point, but I don’t agree. There have been plenty artful, touching stories that run $10 and $15 games in this current generation. Think of this as spending $15 to see this year’s Oscar winning movie that happens to be 45 minutes long. If you would be OK with that, then you should have no problem with spending $20 for the “Gone Home” experience.

 

“Gone Home” is a special game that discusses realistic themes. I hope that it stands out when we look back at the video games of 2013. This review didn’t explain much, but you’ll thank me after you’re able to experience the game with no prior knowledge.

 

9 out of 10

 

Pros:

 

Refreshingly original

Story pushes the medium forward


Cons:


2 hours of gameplay with little replay value

 

 

 Platform    PC 
 Price  $19.99
 Release Date   8/15/13
   

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