Friday, January 20, 2017

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) Review

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is an exploration game, a genre sometimes jokingly referred to as "walking simulators".  In it you explore a small village in the English countryside, see the story of some of its inhabitants, and find out where everybody went.

(Looks at the game's title)  Oh.  Mystery solved?  Well, you can at least find out what happened.

First off, I have to say the game looks great.  The graphics are very good, and the environments are very detailed.  The lighting effects are also really realistic.  Sometimes, too much so, as there are times where the game is a little too dark for my tastes.  Still, it looks good, which you could argue is mandatory, since you are just walking around and looking at things.  The walking speed is too slow for my tastes, but you can hold down the R2 Button to speed things up a bit.  Unless you are indoors, in which case you are stuck being slow.

The game is pretty non-linear.  At various places in the sections of town, a story scene will take place.  Some are automatic, and some have to be activated by tilting the controller.  I prefer the automatic ones, since the tilt ones require trial and error to find the sweet spot.  The first one I happened upon seemed to want me to tilt the controller one direction, then quickly the other direction, but that's not how they work.  You have to tilt the controller at a certain angle and hold it until the scene starts.  It's actually kind of annoying.  It also feels superfluous, but I guess it is at least something else to do with the controller.

The game's story is told through these scenes.  Since you have to wander around to see them, you have to piece together the order by yourself.  Each section of the town centers around a character, and if you seek out the scenes, you can see what happened to them before whatever event left the town deserted.  The story and the characters are pretty interesting, and I like that you can skip most of it, even if I wouldn't.

The only real downside to it all is that you don't see the characters.  Everyone is conveyed as a collection of light that brightens when they talk.  Therefore, it is a huge pain to try and keep everyone straight, since you can't see what they actually look like.  I was about halfway through the game when I figured out who most of the people were, but by then I'm sure I missed some important points.  I get what they are going for, but I need to be able to see the characters if I am to remember who is who.

As you might expect from a game that's more 'experience' than 'game', it takes about 6 hours to complete, assuming you go through most of the story scenes.  You can forego most of it and just walk toward the ending and cut down the playtime significantly if you want.  Getting the platinum in the game is a bit of a pain, which might not be expected from this genre, but it's likely you will have to play the game through at least twice, even with a guide.

Even though Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is sometimes too dark, lacks portable maps, can feel slow, and is difficult to keep the characters straight, it's not a bad experience.  It's a very pretty game with a good story.  There's also no loading screens after the initial one.  It's worth playing it for a few hours to see the people's story and piece together what happened.  If you are a trophy hunter, definitely get a guide first, but it won't take you too long to get another platinum.  If you are one of those gamers that mashes through dialogue bits to get to the hittin' and shootin', then I'd recommend skipping this game.

The Good:
The story is pretty interesting.

The Bad:
Easy to get lost and miss things.  Sometimes too dark to see much.  Slow moving speed.

The SaHD:
So who or what are you actually playing as?!

(Everybody's Gone to the Rapture was obtained free from Playstation Plus)

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