This game was very similar to another game that I recently reviewed, Journey. Except this game actually has a well thought out plot and somehow less gameplay. The Chinese Room has done a very good job to create this interesting story and plot, however I did find some things wrong with it throughout. I will be attempting to keep this review mostly spoiler free as well. Enjoy!
Let me start with this. The story to Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture is one of the best and most interesting stories I’ve played. Ever. I cared about all of the characters and what happened to them. I kept pushing forward to find out exactly what happened to each of these people. All the people in the town were so well fleshed out and complex.
I am also going to take a short paragraph here to talk about the graphics. I don’t usually put a lot of stock into something like graphics, but with a game this barebones it needs to be talked about. The graphics were very good and really draw you into the town. There’s nothing else to really say about them other than they look nice and I like them.
However, the fantastic story and graphics couldn’t make up for the gameplay related issues with the game. Your character is very slow. There is a button that you can hold down in order to shuffle a tiny bit faster but it’s still a slow walk in relation to what you expect from movement. Would it really remove anything from this game to include a sprint? It created an annoyance that kind of battled in me where I wanted to complete the story but I was so frustrated in not being able to move very quickly. Just let me get through it at a pace that I want. By limiting the player, you create this awkward scenario where the player is fighting against the mechanics of the game.
Another thing is the mechanic of using light to show the player where to go. I actually didn’t understand this until the second character arc. So I pretty much missed the entirety of the first story. And I guess it is good that I want to go back and check out that early part of the game, however I will most likely just watch it instead of playing again. When you come upon the first experience of the light taking you back into the past, a controller pops up on screen and rotates. So when you do this, you are trying to line up the light with a sort of focal point to go back. However, this didn’t really sink in with me. And this blame can either be placed on me or on the game, honestly. But it doesn’t really make it any less annoying.
Now I have to address the elephant in the room regarding this style of game. “Walking Simulators” has been the name that is assigned to games with a good story yet do not have much gameplay wise. It makes these types of games difficult to give an honest review. So I would chalk it up in the same vein as Gone Home, where the story is pretty much all there is to the game. Less of a game and more of a movie that you control the speed to. But I liked what little gameplay there was with something like Journey more than I did here. The absolute lack of any puzzles or difficulty was a serious ding against this game.
The story for this game is absolutely phenomenal. The characters were well fleshed out, it was interesting enough to keep me pushing forward, and I was genuinely felt joy or sadness by the events that we experience. But it should have just been a movie. I feel like I could have watched someone play this on YouTube and gotten the same amount out of it. So, I honestly feel that you could be well enough off just watching someone play it instead of actually playing through yourself. The movement and the mechanics take enough away from the amazing story that I honeslty couldn’t be bothered to clear it again.
Total Hours Played: 2.5 hours.
Amount of Story Played: Completed Story
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a game that’s been on the outskirts of my radar for a little while now. I knew the premise and gameplay and had seen a few screenshots and it seemed like an interesting game. Well… “Game” might be a little generous in this sense, as aside from walking and opening doors, the only other thing you do is tilt your controller from time to time (what you’re supposed to do while tilting your controller isn’t even explained… I had to look it up). It’s more of an experience than anything else.
Taking place in the small town of Yaughton, the player’s purpose is to uncover what happened to the previous inhabitants, all of whom have mysteriously vanished. As you explore the town, you’ll get to know a handful of characters through (mostly non-mandatory) flashbacks. These flashbacks aren’t particularly visual, as either the people are replaced with light in the shape of humans, or they’re told through radio or phone conversations. But the dialogue is detailed and natural enough to paint each character and the drama in their lives as realistic. I found myself becoming invested in these people and trying to find as many flashbacks as I could.
And the reality is… That’s about all there is to Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Walk around and learn about the people who once filled the town. It’s not very interactive and doesn’t require any skill. It sounds boring, and at times it is, but more often than not, it’s oddly powerful and emotional. A big part of that is an absolutely beautiful score. It manages to turn small conversations into the most important happenings in the world. Without the music, I wouldn’t have enjoyed my playthrough nearly as much. Some soundtracks are there to fill the silence, and some are there to add to the experience.
It’s certainly not a horror game, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get an eerie sense while exploring a deserted town with cackling radio static every once in a while. Unaccompanied vehicles along the road sides, empty houses with doors still open, advertisements for a musical put on by children that never happened… Aside from the road blocks put in place to keep the town quarantined, the only sign that something was wrong is the occasional “flu” notice. Of course there was never an outbreak of a disease, but that’s what the people were told. Yaughton is a haunting town where time has stood still and you get to explore the remnants left behind.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s very slow-paced. And I mean that literally. I have no idea what you’re playing as, but it sure isn’t a human. Nobody moves like that. You have to hold R2 to increase your speed, and it sure isn’t an instantaneous change like in damn near every other game ever made. No, you have to gradually build up speed from the slowest of trots to something that resembles a slight jog over the course of quite a few seconds. It feels like a lifetime. And anytime you enter a building, even if it’s not enclosed (like a run down barn), you’re forced into the minimum speed. Nobody moves at that pace other than your 87 year old grandpa. It’s absurd how slow you walk. It’s like you’re suddenly swimming in maple syrup. And when you head back outside, you have to build your speed back up again! The weirdest thing is you can be moving at full speed (again, not that fast), come to a dead stop, and still go right back to full speed if you held R2 down the entire time. It makes absolutely no sense and led to no shortage of frustration. When the whole point of a game is to explore, don’t force the player to control someone with lead feet.
Again, it’s not for everyone. It’s a video game in the loosest of senses. It’s more of an interactive movie or book. You envision and experience events that have already happened and you have no participation in them. You’re an observer. And I was okay with that. If you’d like something simple, short, and different, give Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture a shot.
Total Hours Played: 4.5 hours.
Amount of Story Played: Completed Story
R: So that was definitely a different type of game. How’d you feel about it?
S: Well, I thought that the story was amazing. However, the gameplay (what little of it there was) left so much to be desired that it actively hindered my experience.
R: I’m kinda in the same boat. I liked exploring and uncovering all of the memories, but the movement mechanic was… Indefensible. You move at a snail’s pace and it takes three hours to gain any speed.
S: Why not have a goddamn sprint function?? I get that the game is trying to limit how fast you can move to set the pace of the story itself. But it definitely doesn’t make me want to play through it again, even though I know that I missed a lot of stuff.
R: Considering the whole point of the game is to explore, it was a baffling choice. If you have to dedicate so much time to cover fifteen feet, it’s pretty frustrating. I just don’t get why you had to build speed instead of just immediately going into a fast pace. That’s my biggest gripe with the game.
S: On top of that, I also had trouble initially understanding the base mechanic of seeing the memories. There were some spots where a memory automatically triggered but then some where you had to move the light.
R: When I’d see the prompt to tilt my controller, I had literally no idea what to do. Sometimes I’d happen to pull it off, but one time in particular forced me to look up what the hell I was supposed to be doing. It didn’t really add anything, so I’m not sure what the point of that was…
S: For sure. I wish that the memories just automatically triggered all the time instead of certain times. But other than the mechanics, I thought that the story was very good and well told. I almost wish that it was a movie instead so I could just watch it again instead of dealing with that pain in the ass movement.
R: It’s a game in the loosest of senses. You’re an observer instead of a player and sometimes that can be cool. It’s not something that everyone would enjoy, and even then, you’d probably have to be in a certain mind set to play through it. I don’t really see any reason for someone to replay it, though. Once you experience it, there’s not much to go back to. The mysteries are uncovered.
S: I definitely will not go back. All in all, what would you give it out of 10? I ended up with a 4/10. Below average but definitely worth playing once.
R: I liked it quite a bit. A lot more than Gone Home, a similar type of game. There was enough in the memories to keep me engaged and I tried to find as many as I could. The characters felt very natural. I’ll go a decent bit higher than you and give it a 7/10. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but again… I never plan on playing it again and the movement issues really hold it back. I knew the type of game it was gonna be going into it so the lack of interactivity wasn’t a shock. I expected it. It’s a game I’ve wanted to play for a little while now. Even though our scores are different, the sentiment seems to be the same. It’s not for everyone and a one-time type of game. It’s worth playing, but don’t expect to do a whole lot. Just sit back and enjoy.