Community Review: Gone Home

Baelzaden

Distinguished
Jun 13, 2006
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MOOOOM DAAAAD, I'M HOME

Have you ever expected to meet someone dear but all you got is yourself in an unknown place? You'd immediately start wandering around, exploring the unfamiliar place you're standing at and try to find out more about your surroundings or the people you couldn't meet. Now imagine those people were your own family! Your curiosity would go off the charts, dying to find out what could have possibly happened to your dear loved ones.

Gone Home, developed and published by Fullbright, puts that feeling into its core. In the game you take control of 21-year-old Kaitlin Greenbriar who just returned to her home in Oregon after a year long vacation in Europe (hmm nice idea :) ) and instead of a warm welcome and home-made hot meals, found an empty mansion to which she is a complete stranger on a rainy evening.



HOME ALONE

The game is played in first person view and is all about exploring the big mansion, interacting with the objects around and piecing together the story of Kaitlin's family's past year. Have I mentioned exploring? Because this is what you will be doing throughout this adventure game. Put your guns and swords away and bring out those detectives inside. It's a very simple idea, yet the game's engrossing story succeeds in keeping you curious enough to want to go on and find out what exactly happened. Every piece of information you collect (a scribbled note, piece of a journal, a letter) reveals another part of the story.



Ofcourse not every object proves useful. Infact most of the items you can interact with are just simple house stuff. But don't get the wrong idea, that's exactly what makes Gone Home a good game. You are in a huge empty house with no clue about what the heck happened so you just check everything from pens to tooth brushes instinctively. Maybe there is an important note in the dustbin, maybe someone stashed something in that cabinet, wonder if there is something inside that box or under those well organized books. You just want to explore more as you find more.

The atmoshphere is just like it should be, you hear only your own foot steps, rain and thunder. It gives that home alone feeling really well but don't mix this with a survival horror game. This is definetly not the feeling of being all by yourself and a handful of useless tools against otherworldly existances in a ghost mansion. It's the feeling of just being alone and to top it the voice work is really good.

HELLOOOOO, WHERE ARE YOU?

There is no set goal in Gone Home, you don't get stuck on difficult puzzles or obstacles. You can reach the end without uncovering the whole story. This may sound a bit negative but like I said before it's just what the game is all about: exploration. Instead of punishing the players with brain melting puzzles, the guys at Fullbright encourages them to explore more and believe me you will wanna do that. Throughout the game I found myself checking each corner and inspecting every object to see if I could learn another part of the story.



Till now all I did was praising the game but that doesn't mean it has no cons. For many people the first thing they'll notice is the lack of quality of graphics and low detailed models. Although this is an indie-game and graphics don't matter too much in an intensely story oriented adventure game if you ask me, for many of you out there it's still important so I will mention it here. Also the game is quite short, you can beat it in a few hours. The feeling I had when I finished the game was that I just wanted to have more.

DETECTIVE BY NATURE

I'm not gonna talk about the story as anything I would say can be a spoiler. You arrived back home after a long journey and your family isn't there. That's it! Let's see your curious side.



As a conclusion, with its great story and right atmosphere Gone Home is a beautiful interactive adventure game which constantly makes you wanna explore like a kitten brought to a new home. If you like reading, exploring or looking for a new taste in adventure games this title is definetely for you. But beware action lovers, the only action you'll be getting out of this game is walking inside a big mansion. If you wanna swing your sword to the face of an enemy creature look somewhere else. (did someone say Geralt?)

Pros
- Great story and a good atmosphere
- The game really makes you wonder about what happened
- Great voice work
- Nice music

Cons
- Not so great graphics
- Relatively short

Verdict: 85/100

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows:
- WindowsXP SP2 or higher
- 1.80GHz Processor
- 2GB Memory
- Video card with 512MB or greater VRAM (Note: Intel HD Graphics 4000 not supported on Windows 8)
- 2GB HDD space

Mac:
- OS X v10.7 Lion or higher
- 1.80GHz Processor
- 2GB Memory
- Video card with 512MB or greater VRAM
- 2GB HDD space

Linux:
- glibc 2.11 or newer
- 1.80GHz Processor
- 2GB Memory
- Video card with 512MB or greater VRAM
- 2GB HDD space
 

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