I open with the visual of the house and install some lighthearted clipart. Make it seem as though this is a weekly occurrence, like I am a [[youtuber->List of visuals]]. Many scenes from the game, coinciding with whatever aspect I am talking about. Reviews fomr critics. Reviews from gamers. Picture of man at the beginning with a thought bubble over his [[head->List of Audio Items]].Lightning sound effect, in game audio, extended piece of an entry from Sam, my own [[voiceover->Script]].Hey guys. Today I’ll be breaking down one of the most groundbreaking and award winning PC games of 2013, Gone Home. In this first-person videogame, you play as Katie Greenbriar, a 21 year old who just finished a journey overseas and returns to her family’s home in Portland, Oregon, only to find it is completely abandoned. Although her family is made up of only her, her sister, and her parents, there are enough plotlines to go walking around the house, scavenging for clues, for hours on end.
And that’s really the point of the entire game, to walk around. The game’s controls are extremely simple, with the classic WASD mechanics allowing you to navigate around the house, while a left click of the mouse zooms in and a right click picks up objects or opens the occasional door. This minimalistic approach is the opposite style to pretty much all of the popular first person games we see today, like Call of Duty, Titanfall, and Overwatch. These games focus much more on rapid plot developments and visual effects to reel in the audience, while Gone Home uses plotlines that have already happened, and its up to you to piece them together.
The main story you’ll be uncovering is that of Katie’s sister, Sam. Most objects, specifically the notes written to you, deal with Sam and why she’s not home. Of course there are other storylines, whether its your parents’ failing marriage, your mom getting frisky with a forest ranger, your drunk of a father who can’t stop writing poorly written conspiracy theories, or your great Uncle Oscar whooo was just a bad man. The list goes on and on.
Probably the biggest success that the game developers had was convincing the player, or at the very least me, that this was a horror game. The cracks of lightning at the start of the game, the flickering lights, and the overall feeling of distress presented to the player through a first person experience all act as a ruse to what is in fact just a puzzle game. However, here in lies the problem that I had upon finishing and thinking “that’s it?” Since this is a puzzle game, one might expect there to be something to solve, some sort of task you have to complete in order to get that sense of accomplishment in “beating” the game. But that is just not the case. From a puzzle game perspective, it was fairly lackluster. When a game grants you the ability to pick up essentially any and every object you see, you’d expect that at least some of them might be useful in some way. But besides a couple keys and a locker combination, nothing else is really used. When thinking about all the missed opportunities, a game like Skyrim comes to mind. In this massive world, your character can not only pick up and interact with almost any object, but there is typically also a usefulness to it, even if it is as simple as wearing it for fashion. In Gone Home, I was severely disappointed in this aspect.
Another facet that failed to impress me was the central story itself. Like I said before, that horror feeling that the game developers do such a good job in instilling was never really fulfilled. Ultimately, you find out that Sam ran off with her lover, who was going to join the military. The only real part that makes this story interesting is that the lover is a woman, and it being set in 1995, you can see why a frightened 15 year old lesbian may feel the urge that she has to run away from her already problematic parents.
As you might be able to tell, I was not all that thrilled about the experience of playing Gone Home. The Fullbright Company, the developers of Gone Home, only just scratched the surface of what a game format such as this could be. That being said, it was considered revolutionary at the time of its release, and it has opened doors for other games to take full advantage of this platform in the future. I think that’s why there is such a divide among critics and players, with critics not being able to praise the game enough while players just kind of view it as slightly above average, if that. In the end, I wouldn’t encourage you to fork over $20 for gameplay that did not deliver in story, length, or excitement. I hope you enjoyed today’s game review, and I’ll see you guys next time. Till then, go home.