Although I like games that don’t fit into any gaming pigeonhole, this game is an exception. The Chinese Room have made a name for themselves with experimental games and have received numerous awards. A lot of articles praise this game but it feels dated to me, maybe because I’ve played point and click games from the beginning. This game looks like it was made in the early days of gaming when a lot of areas tantalised but couldn’t be reached. There is a lot of that in Everybody’s gone to the rapture.
There are no puzzles just an aimless wandering around following lights, that at certain points play a scene in the life of the characters in the story. I suppose it could be more accurately described as a walking sim with a mystery to solve.
The graphics are good and it does feel like you are walking through an English village. After a while though it becomes repetitive as the same objects appear again and again. Can anyone explain why everyone has white sheets or the exact same bicycles? Even in the eighties there was a variety of bicycles. There is a lack of interactivity which gives the player very little to do.
It only took me about 8 hours to play through to the end. If you don’t take any breaks which I did, the game is shorter and if you utilise the R2 button to move faster. The player needs to wait 7 seconds for this to reach full speed though, which is annoying and unnecessary. It only saves at certain points so beware of playing ahead of these and then quitting as you will have to go through it all again.
There is nothing particularly new about the story. It is the strongest part of the game though and allowing players to play the scenes without any particular order makes it less linear, until close to the end when it does become more linear. Most players would have worked out what had happened long before the end. The biggest mystery is why time and money was spent on making this game. I can appreciate that the developers The Chinese Room wanted to do something different but I feel that the retro feel to this game has gone too far, due to the lack of realism and repetitiveness. I’m no expert on English villages but I can be sure that they do not have that many maps. Surely a map that the player carries and can be opened when needed would be more realistic.