The irony is not lost on me that I said that I would cut back on Video Game reviews and then spend the majority of the last couple of months doing nothing but talk about video games. Such is the way of life, but I enjoy it and will be getting into the swing of the 2015 movie scene very soon so I guess I can take that as a give and take. But for now we will look at the last of my 2014 Winter Sale Spoils with the video game by developers Fullbright, Gone Home. Certainly an interesting game to say the least and one that may fall into the more artistic side of video gaming, Gone Home is a game that brings something different to the indie gaming scene. Now is it something interesting in a good sense or a bad sense? Well that is left to be determined.
Gone Home is the story of Kaitlin and is set in the early 1990’s. Kaitlin has just returned home after a huge study abroad program to find that the home that her family has moved into is deserted with her parents and sister Samantha nowhere to be found. A huge storm brews outside as Kaitlin has to creep around the deserted mansion to discover what happened to her missing family.
Stephen King Build of Suspense and the Threat of Horror
To call this game a horror game would be up to debate but it does have a very Stephen King feel to it. The game builds some serious suspense with the setting, the tone, and the way the story is presented to the player. It builds its suspense through the fear of the unknown and it does it very effectively.
Overall the story is just wonderful. The tale of Kaitlin coming home, finding her family missing, and having to slowly unravel what had occurred is very well done and a tale that will tug at your heart-strings. Samantha becomes one of the most likable characters that I have seen in a long time and I thoroughly enjoy the pay off at the end of the game.
Replay Value is Shit
Oh yeah, it is a great story and knows how to build suspense… But that is all it has going for it. I won’t fault this game for telling a great story, if this were a short film I would eat the thing up. But when it comes to being a video game there are a few things that you need to take into consideration for when you develop it. One of the majors ones is what will bring your players back to keep them playing the game over and over again. Developers may not worry so much after they collect their money from them, but if your game has no replay value the poor criticism will get around and people will be less likely to buy it. Kind of a give and take.
Gone Home’s replay value is absolutely non-existent. After the game is completed the suspense that it builds from the first play through is gone and the story has already been told. Maybe you can play it one more time to get some tidbits you left but really those are not important to the overall story so who gives a shit? I played this game once and was satisfied to never play it again. It took me an hour to complete and now it just sits in my Steam queue to never be played again. It will be the same for anyone who buys the game. It is a one and done affair, with the game gathering more boredom after each additional play through.
Not Worth $20
If you pay $20 for this game, then you get the dunce hat for the day. This video game is not worth $20. Granted it does go on sell on Steam on a regular basis, but nobody should pay the full $20 for this game. It just isn’t worth it. It tells an interesting story, but once the game is done there is no need to play it again. It is a sad but major detriment to the game that cannot be overlooked. The real worth of this game would be anywhere between $5-$15 and is how much you should spend when it comes around on sell.
Gone Home is decent. It isn’t wonderful, but what it does it does very well. It is a very enjoyable and suspenseful story that is told exceptionally well. However, this game does not deserve the high praise that is has been given. The game has zero replay value, the graphics are decent, and besides the story there isn’t much there to keep someone fascinated and wanting more. It is definitely worth the buy if it is on sale for Steam, but not much else beyond that.
Final Score 2.5/5
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. Next couple of weeks are going to be an eventful. I will be returning to the movie theater on a regular basis to bring you some amazing reviews of the movies of 2015 as well as the resurrection of my podcast The Nerdiest Talk Show on Earth.