Back in August 2013, critics and players alike were exposed to one of the more surprising games in recent years. Gone Home, a game whose aesthetics and atmosphere wouldn’t stand out in a line-up of horror games, surprised quite a few expectations.
First things first, if you’ve not experienced Gone Home before, then you’re a perfect candidate for playing this PC hit, which has now made its way to consoles. Gone Home is a perfect example of a game that benefits from you going in completely blind. Not knowing exactly what to expect and exactly what the game’s plot is only makes the game more enjoyable and satisfying.
For those of you who want to know a little about the game, let me give you a very brief rundown. Gone Home is essentially a first-person interactive storytelling exploration game. Putting you in the shoes of Kaitlin, you’ll return to your home in Oregon to a very cryptic note on the door detailing your sister’s choice to run away from home. Once you’ve entered the house, it’s entirely up to you to explore the house and find out what’s going on, unraveling the story as you proceed.
You see, while objects you’ll uncover inside the game certainly help to give you an idea as to what has happened to the family, it’s the journal entries that are read out loud as you explore the house that really help the story hit home. In fact, it’s the heartfelt delivery of each and every journal entry of Kaitlin’s sister, Samantha, that make these characters and their story so real.
Saying that, there’s something incredibly uneasy about exploring someone else’s house (even though it’s technically yours) and rooting through their things. But your thirst for knowledge compels you to continue your turning of the house upside down for clues. The boom of thunder, flashes of lightning, and the darkness that fills the inside of the house all combine together to deliver a chilling atmosphere.
Gone Home does more than just deliver on an atmospheric level. While we’ve touched on how uniquely the story is delivered and told, it’s this story that will keep Gone Home in the forefront of your mind for some time.
Gone Home explores the theme of friendship during those memorable high school years, particularly during those years where you’re not really sure who you are and exactly what you want to be. Samantha’s story of moving into a new house in a new town and attending a new school gathers pace pretty quickly. In other narrative-driven games, the pacing can be a little off and slow to start, but Gone Home keeps things moving at a good speed and none of Samantha’s journal ever really seems pointless.
As for what’s new on console versions, Gone Home was transferred onto a fresh new engine from Unity 4 onto Unity 5. This transfer means that PS4 or Xbox One players will receive enhanced graphics and audio as well as maximum performance. Additionally, the console edition has received revamped controls for controller use. The key addition, however, for big fans of Gone Home is the 90 minutes of behind-the-scenes developer documentary that is included.
Whether you’re a seasoned player of narrative-driven experiences, or completely new to them and intrigued by Gone Home, you couldn’t pick a better title.
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