Gone Home

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Digital cover art.

Gone Home is a first-person story-driven adventure game developed and published by The Fullbright Company for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows on 2013-08-15 and later ported to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It was developed using Unity. It's about a woman named Katie who comes home after spending a year abroad and finds her family's house hastily abandoned; lights are left on, food has been left out, etc. A note on the door shows that Katie's younger sister Sam has run away, and the mother and father are nowhere to found, and an ominous message has been left on the answering machine. You control Katie as she walks through the house trying to piece together what happened by finding clues throughout the house.

I got this game as part of a Humble Bundle. The eerie-looking title card drew me in enough to play it, and, they engaging story held me until the end.

Status

I own this game and have beaten twice. I have 2/10 achievements.

Review

  • Overall: 6/10
  • Best Version: Windows

Good

  • The story is fantastic. An outsider teen who becomes even more of an outsider as she gets older never wears itself out, and the addition of having parents who don't understand and are closet-hypocrites doesn't help.
  • The voice-acting by Sam is wonderful, and I became emotionally attached to her story.
  • Kaitlin's mouse-over commentary on some of the embarrassing objects is hilarious.
  • The game has several creepy elements like the thunder, left-on televisions, attic entrance, furnace, dark dead-end in the basement, popped light bulb in the passage, seances, etc. These were all wonderful touches.
  • It's refreshing to see some diversity. The two main characters are women and one of them is a lesbian.
  • The side stories of the mother and father really make them more genuine characters.
  • The designers did a good job of pacing the story without giving too much away too early. The narrative grows naturally, rather than having to be piece-mealed.
  • The atmosphere of the empty house and the hints at ghosts are just creepy enough to keep you on edge.
  • The incorporation of riot grrrl music, even though it's not my taste, was perfect.
  • The game's Easter egg is hilarious.

Bad

  • The game is unfortunately too short, and can be finished in a couple of hours.
  • Some of the 3D models are reused a bit too often.
  • It felt like a bit too much of the house was open initially to keep the player pointed in the right direction. The first time I played, I missed some of the dialogue that I clearly should have learned about earlier in the game.
  • The ability to pickup and rotate the objects was never used to its full potential. None of the puzzles involved finding a clue on a hidden area of an object.
  • I don't care much for survival horror and I'm glad they kept away from anything supernatural, but I still would have liked to have seen a bit more creepiness.
  • The old notes left around the house were temporally out-of-place. I doubt I could find a better way to leave behind a ten-year-old note, but it still requires suspension of disbelief.
  • I felt like Oscar's story wasn't fleshed out enough. You kind of understand what happened, but not really.
  • I like how, just because there is a locked door, it doesn't mean you're going to need a key to open it, but I wish there were a few other ways of keeping the player from getting information before they should rather than doors and combination locks.

Ugly

  • Nothing. This game is amazing.

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