Hauntingly Beautiful–Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Immerses the Player in a Story-Rich Environment
Release date: August 11th, 2015
When I’m not at work, petting dogs, or sleeping, I do love lurking around Steam for story-rich games that I haven’t played yet. I definitely hit the jackpot with this find.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture has no distinct protagonist, which forces the experience to be much more personal. While I’m not overly fond of 1st person perspective games, I admit that having no clue who I was in the game actually made the experience that much more powerful.
The game takes place in a small English village where it seems that every living soul has disappeared. All that the beautiful scenery is left with are bright lights that seem give the player hints as to what could have happened to everyone (for those who played Final Fantasy X, I have to admit that those lights reminded me a lot of pyreflies! Similar concept too–souls of those who passed on). The lights and various interactions with radios, telephones, and phone booths around the village help fill the gaps in the story, which slowly begin to explain what happened to everyone. The lights often take on human forms, which reenact scenes prior to everyone’s disappearances.
There are a few chapters in the game titled after various characters. The floating lights then focus on scenes dealing with those characters. The subplots in each chapter bleed nicely into each other to form the full picture of what happened to everyone. This is definitely a game you can’t rush through. It’s not very long to begin with, but it definitely requires you to look around every corner and visit every home you can step into.The story really comes together with each of your interactions. Does it require patience? Yeah, I’d say so, but in the end it’s really worth it.
Now, I’m a sucker for games with beautiful settings and an even more beautiful soundtracks. Yeah, I’m quite a soundtrack music junkie, especially when it comes to video game scores. My initial interest in this game was because of the soundtrack, but I was extremely pleased with the full experience. The soundtrack, by Jessica Curry, is simply beautiful. The haunting score is what truly reels in the player into the story. It’s very subtle in the game, so it doesn’t distract the player, but rather adds on a layer to the experience. It truly enhances it. The majority of the score is instrumental, but there is a small selection of songs with remarkable vocals. The soprano soloist never fails to give me goosebumps. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves to listen to relaxing music when studying, reading, or just doing stuff around the house. I’m actually listening to it as I write this review. It’s extremely soothing and very emotional when paired with the gameplay.
There are, however, some reasons why I wouldn’t give this game a 5/5. No, it doesn’t even have to do with the ending either. I wouldn’t even complain about that!
While the story itself is great, I do admit that some mechanics in the game did make gameplay a little tedious. It’s understandable that this is simple a game where you walk around and enjoy the story, however the pacing could have been different. By pace, I literally mean the speed at which the character walks. While there is a command to increase the speed of the character, it isn’t very noticeable. It’s still pretty slow. This really begins to become a bit annoying when you have to go back and forth in order to make sure you didn’t miss a single scene with the floating lights, because you can’t move on without hearing everything. If you miss something, then the lights you meet will literally guide you back to spots you missed out on the story. Playing catch-up with the lights can be a little daunting, especially when you can often forget where you already explored.
Overall, I’d still recommend this game to anyone who loves a good story. The Chinese Room and SCE Santa Monica Studio did a fantastic job in developing this game. The visuals, the soundtrack, the story–all of it really adds up to being a great gaming experience for anyone who has a few hours to spare so they can enjoy not just some video game, but an experience.