Average User Score: 5.4Aug 16, 2013I sat down and played through "Gone Home" and I was really impressed by it.
The premise of Gone Home is that you're a girl named KaitlinI sat down and played through "Gone Home" and I was really impressed by it.
The premise of Gone Home is that you're a girl named Kaitlin who has returned home from an extended trip around Europe. You arrive on a stormy night to find the house seemingly deserted. You explore the many unique, detailed rooms trying to find out where your family, most notably your sister Sam, has disappeared to.
Now let me get one thing out of the way right now; this is NOT an action or horror game. There are no enemies to fight, you're never in any danger and there are no jump scares (well there is actually a tiny one that many are likely to miss and is a clever joke given the context for it). This is a game about exploration, moving from room to room picking up a wide variety of interactive objects. There are locked doors that block your primary path, but finding the keys to open them is not difficult in any way. As long as you keep and eye out and examine the environment carefully, you'll never get stuck.
Gone Home is here to tell a story and the story it weaves is well told, personal, believable, touching and easy to relate to. The main focus is on your sister Sam, who provides voice over from her diary when certain objects are found. The delivery is perfect and it's impossible not to get attached to her. I was smiling as she talked about making her first real friend and getting her butt kicked at Street Fighter, and generally upset when she described obstacles in her life. I was strongly invested in Sam's story, hoping out loud numerous times that my predicted outcomes were incorrect. For a character only seen in pictures and heard in voice over, she is extremely well developed and easy to care for.
While the focus is certainly on Sam, she's not the only character. As you explore the house, you learn about your parents and even alittle back story about the home's previous occupants. You'll get insight into the state of their marriage, obstacles in their careers and their interests solely from looking around. The game treats you like an adult, giving you the pieces and leaving you to draw your own conclusions without ramming it down your throat. It's possible to miss or ignore these details if you want, but they only immerse you further so I'd recommend reading everything you can.
While this is not a horror game, the atmosphere is certainly eerie. The house is large and feels believably lived in so wandering it all alone is somewhat unsettling, especially as claps of thunder come from outside, lights flicker and walls creak. Even knowing that nothing in this house is out to get you (which has been stated by the developers), it's hard not to have this small unnerving feeling as you look around, especially since someone in your family is interested in the supernatural and has left books abut hauntings laying around, planting the idea of ghosts in your head as you walk down a dark hallway. Don't be surprised if you find yourself rushing for the nearest light source each time you enter a room just to calm your nerves a bit.
I came away from Gone Home feeling refreshed and knowing that the experience will stick with me. It's currently $20 on Steam, which some may find steep for a 2-3 hour experience, but I think it's worth it for a game this special. If you're looking for action or scares then don't bother cause this isn't the place for either and you'll just be bored. It requires patience since, again, your sole activity is searching every nook and cranny of numerous rooms and taking in the story, but those that give it a chance are likely to find an experience they'll think back fondly on. And if you're on the fence and don't want to take the hit just yet, then make damn sure you pick it up should it ever go on sale.… Expand