Gone Home [Review]

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Sep
21
2013

Due to the growing imagination of indie game developers, we have been inundated with various games that are more focused on story than outright gameplay. A lot of them tend to be abstract and artsy, which not everyone is into regardless of quality. Here is one that is also story-centric, but not abstract. In fact, it feels more real than you’d first expect. If you are a 90′s kid and want to feel a bit of the atmosphere from that time period again, then you should look into this title.

Gone Home is a first person interactive game made by The Fullbright Company with the Unity engine and set in 1995. You play as Kaitlin Greenbriar, a young woman who has returned home from travelling, only to find the house empty. You then explore the house and find clues as to what happened when you were gone. In the end, you’ll understand why things had somehow fallen apart and how you don’t really have much say on the matter. But at least you’ll get to know what was up, and it was all for the best.

As you arrive, you see a note written by Kaitlin’s sister Sam stuck to the door, and that initiates the story that you have to unfold for yourself. The 90s were a time when the Internet was not prevalent yet and most of the young adults right now were still kids. Because of that, this game draws quite a bit of nostalgia for its target audience. You get that vibe as you look around the house, which you have free rein to do so. The characters that you learn about in the game through notes and other clues are voice acted very well, so they come to life even if they’re not physically there.

Its strength obviously lies in its narrative, with the pace being decided by you as you explore the house and look at the things inside. It doesn’t spoon-feed the story to you, but lets you figure things out for yourself. The revelations upon piecing the clues together are rather heartbreaking, and it shows the great writing that was put into this game. Upon uncovering the root of what had transpired, it starts becoming intense, and yet the game still retains its poignancy. It touches upon topics like family and social issues so beautifully and without being preachy at all, so you can judge the scenarios for yourself. You then realize where Sam and your parents went, but it’s not as important as why they are now gone.

This is a game that you sit back on to reflect on its significance. Different players may comprehend its meaning at different rates, and that’s fine. It’s just one of those titles that If you don’t like “boring” games like this, then you should look elsewhere. But if you’re into a good story that evokes emotion and pulls you in, then Gone Home is perhaps one of the very best titles for that. Many who played it had sang praises to it, and you can only see why if you play it yourself.

Mind you, it’s 20 whole dollars on Steam, which seems a lot for something like this. It’s not much as a game, but its story is so full of substance that it can justify the price. If you wish to wait for a sale, then it’s alright as long as you can stay away from spoilers and wikis so that you can still experience its full impact and bittersweet sentimentality.

Tested in PC. Final Score: 9/10

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About Avoiderdragon

I'm a freelance writer and a borderline hardcore gamer. I contribute game reviews and other content here in CheatMasters for my fellow gamers.
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