Giant Bomb Review

299 Comments

Gone Home Review

5
  • PC

This house has a story to tell, and players patient enough to listen will be rewarded with a touching story that won't soon leave you.

Have you ever walked by an empty house, and thought about going inside? A house is just a pile of bricks until someone lives inside, and then it becomes a home. Houses have stories to tell, so long as we’re willing to listen. Gone Home, the debut game from The Fullbright Company, is about one very specific house with one very specific story, and it’s asking you to listen closely.

Lights turn off and on, drawers open and shut--Gone Home's house is full of unbelievable details of the mundane variety.
Lights turn off and on, drawers open and shut--Gone Home's house is full of unbelievable details of the mundane variety.

It’s difficult to talk about Gone Home without saying more than should be said for anyone already sold on it. Do know that Gone Home has lived up to sky-high expectations for the next project from the creative team that delivered the exceptional Minerva's Den add-on for BioShock 2. For anyone that’s curious to know more about what makes Gone Home work so darn well, keep on reading.

Gone Home is set in 1995, and opens with the arrival of Kaitlin Greenbriar. That’s you. Returning from a whirlwind trip through Europe in the dead of night, Kaitlin approaches the front steps of her house during the height of a crackling thunderstorm, greeted by a hastily hand-written note from her younger sister, Sam. The note instructs Kaitlin that she’s gone and not to worry, which, of course, is every reason to worry. What happened here? Gone Home is played from a first-person-perspective, and there is no combat. This is a game about exploration, though one not without its share of tension. But you will never pick up a gun, and your primary means of interacting with the world is opening doors, shuffling papers, and closely examining nooks and crannies of your family's house. If you think you can touch it and interact with it, chances are The Fullbright Company will give you the option to.

Though Kaitlin’s family lives in this house, everything is unfamiliar. There’s a map that fills in as you progress through the house, appropriately labeled as it becomes clear what each room’s function is. The Fullbright Company has meticulous hidden letters, books, notes, magazines, manuscripts, inscriptions, cassette tapes, labeled recordings of X-Files episodes, and countless other objects throughout the house. Hidden is the wrong word, though. If someone was tasked with combing through your home and building a narrative from what was inside, it might feel like some of your stuff was hidden, too. Instead, this place feels incredibly natural. It looks...like a home. It’s messy, there are boxes everywhere, and Kaitlin’s mom was probably upset about the lack of help. There are no objects fluttering with gold dazzles to signify their importance. It is absolutely possible to miss key bits of information, but if you never knew they existed, how important were they? The story you tell in your head is only as real as the the information in front of you. Do missing pieces matter, then?

By god, though, is it fun to look at the pieces. They are everywhere, and each colored with immaculate detail. Fans of the high-resolution image genre will fall over themselves looking through the meticulously detailed pieces of history The Fullbright Company has constructed. The few times where images aren't detailed enough to read the tiniest bits of text are disappointing, but only because nearly every other spot in the house has been given such close attention. Heck, there are even physics associated with some of the objects. Cassette tape holders open, flip around, and reveal secret messages to those clever enough to manipulate them in the right way. And for those who are worried about causing a mess, the game even includes the ability to place things exactly as they were. It's the kind of touch that speaks volumes about the game's design values.

There is a path through the game, but how long you spend on that path is mostly up to you. There is very little preventing the player from barreling through the main storyline, though you’ll have to slow down to discover triggers that signal how to access locked parts of the house. These bits are deliberately easy to find, and are often closely connected to a series of voice overs by Sam, talking as though she is right next to you. (Sam is voiced by Portland voice actor Sarah Grayson, and she does excellent work here.) If anything, what’s difficult is convincing yourself to move to the next room. Patience is rewarded in Gone Home, as patience will help you discover the answers to all of your questions. Everything you want to know can be found within the house, though the game will not connect the dots for you. There is no plot summary, and material is sometimes presented out of order. This makes exploring the house, even after the story ends, continually satisfying.

Without spoiling, this all makes Gone Home sounds much more mysterious than it actually is. Still, it’s impossible to explore the house without cringing as a door creaks opens, or you start walking into the basement. Thunder and lightning strike without notice, making their appearance all the more startling, but it’s not timed to the flickering of lights or an eerie noise down the hall. There are no jump scares in Gone Home, and there are no ghosts hiding in a closet. But all the same, Gone Home feels exceedingly creepy, and the game thoughtfully plays with the differences between its dramatic presentation and the actions actually playing out on the screen. I mean, when you’re alone at home and it’s time to turn off the lights, it’s easy to tell yourself there’s nothing following you around the house, but once that idea pops into your head, it’s hard to let go.

Not everything in Gone Home is there for a reason. Much of it is there to color the world, and provide a sense of time and place.
Not everything in Gone Home is there for a reason. Much of it is there to color the world, and provide a sense of time and place.

The experience of playing Gone Home becomes more impressive upon reflection. We’re used to games hitting us over the head with big plot twists and character moments. Games are often the opposite of subtle out of fear the audience will not understand the magnitude of the moment. “We wrote this story, and this big thing happened, you see, and you better get it!.” As the layers are removed from Gone Home’s story, there is no suite of violins to underscore the revelations, and no characters to remind us what we just read or heard. (Chris Remo's soundtrack is, however, hauntingly beautiful.) Gone Home places an impressive amount of faith into the player to discover what The Fullbright Company has laid out before them, and seems willing to lose players who aren’t going to put in the effort to come along. There is, for lack of a better phrase, a “holy shit” moment early on in the game, and it acts as though nothing's happened. The house is still there, you’re still alone, and it's time to move on.

Prepare for a nostalgia hit, too, and not just '90s references. Gone Home will remind you what it’s like to be young, naive, and full of passion. Everything mattered and nothing mattered. No one understands you and no one ever will. The world is both infinite and unfathomably small. As the story unfolds, what’s remarkable is just how unremarkable it really is. Gone Home is an epic story, but its definition of epic is far removed from how we usually talk about scope and drama in games. It’s epic, personal and revelatory to the people involved, and that’s why it’s so special. The moments in my life that I cherish the most--my first love, realizing my brother was my best friend, moving to San Francisco, getting married--would not register against saving the universe from an alien threat, but these are the epic moments in my life. Gone Home grounds itself by reveling in life’s quiet, defining moments, the ones you might write down in a diary, underneath a set of books, only to find years later.

What a crazy kid you were.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
313 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for evan_buchholz
Posted By Evan_Buchholz

@skareo: You sound like you actually played it and you support your argument with specific examples to prove why you think so. Great review. 14050/10

Avatar image for tournamentofhate
Posted By TournamentOfHate

So I don't think I've ever done this before. I just finished playing the game and then wanted to come here to read Patrick's review(I purposely hadn't read it up until now because I already decided I'd play it). That last paragraph basically sums up why I think this game is awesome. I expected it to be good, but it definitely lived up to all the praise it's been getting.

That "holy shit" moment Patrick mentions, I was frozen for about 30 seconds when that happened.

Avatar image for lenny
Posted By Lenny

I finally played through this yesterday, I agree entirely with the 5 star rating. Superb.

Avatar image for lilburtonboy7489
Edited By lilburtonboy7489

Haven't logged into GB for 2 years. Logged in to say that this is an excellent review...and I would imagine it was a difficult review to write. What makes this game so incredible is really hard to explain. For people complaining about the price for such a short game, I think there are plenty of people willing to pay that for this experience. I would not pay $1 for a Call of Duty game because it's not worth it to me since I don't like that type of game. That doesn't mean I can objectively say "This game is not worth it". This has been one of the most memorable gaming experiences in probably 5 years for me.

Avatar image for bam_boozilled
Posted By Bam_Boozilled

@breadfan said:

said:

The cynic in me can't help but believe that the raving reviews are a result of gaming journalists' attempts to distance themselves from the misogny & homophobia attributed (often unfairly) to the gaming community rather than a true measure of the quality of the story itself.

I've seen similar posts on other reviews of Gone Home and I didn't get that vibe at all playing the game. The story felt totally organic. It's just taking on some more mature subject matter than games usually delve into.

What exactly is mature subject matter and what is immature subject matter?

I mean we could say most games delve into the subject of war or killing or death, and I would not call these immature or any less mature than a lesbian love story/runaway story/ find my sexuality story or what have you. If anything it is the way the game handles the subject matter. Gone Home handles it in an interesting way, but nothing I've never really seen before, and after awhile the high res objects you can manipulate lose their awe factor.

If it weren't for the focus on homosexuality I doubt this game would have been as universally praised as it was. My theory is very similar to @balki_bartokomous . No one wants to look close minded or immature so they all avoid putting the game in a negative light. That would draw a lot of attention in a sea of super positive reviews. LGBT and feminism are burgeoning into games, and if you handle instances like gone home the wrong way, it can stir up a lot of shit.

Gone Home was interesting, and it was different. But nothing so exceptional (especially game play wise) that it should get such intense praise.

Avatar image for bam_boozilled
Posted By Bam_Boozilled

The story was decent and I was kind of sad at the end. I was actually expecting to find the remnants of a double suicide up in the dark room attic, glad it didn't go that way. Though it is definitely not a legendary experience in my opinion like all the reviews make it out to be.

Someone else posted this :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9qlm8olmn0

in the comments and the description really nails what I think of the game down to the letter. Maybe not so harsh on the story side.

Avatar image for omgmyface
Posted By OMGmyFACE

Now when people ask "why don't you like Patrick Klepek's articles or videos," you have something to cite. He's either a SJW or jumped on the bandwagon so as not to offend anyone (I'm sure everyone will love you for pretending to love them) and has contributed to the almost-conspiracy of Gone Home's giant metascore. If we're stating facts: a game that isn't a game, an entertainment product devoid of any variety or fun, with a story that isn't exceptionally "well written" for an asking price that's regarded by the majority as "too much" should not get a single 5/5 review. On principle alone, if your job is to review video games and give them arbitrary number scores, you shouldn't dock a point because you were surprised by its subject matter in a bad way or give it more just because you were surprised by its subject matter in a good way. That's not journalism.

Avatar image for mormonwarrior
Posted By MormonWarrior

How is the story "touching?" I found it frustrating and troubling. Basically everyone in her family is screwed up except for Katie, as far as we know. Nahh, it's just about dumb teens making wildly irresponsible, naive decisions. At least the atmosphere and attention to detail were cool, but there's no mention in any reviews I've read of how terrible the game runs on less than great computers. It ran like gaaaarbage on my family's one-year-old PC.

Avatar image for nettacki
Edited By Nettacki

Its a well told story and the house was well designed but I just found the game incredibly boring. Then again, for me, story never trumps gameplay. I could describe gone home as a high res adventure game that my local Walgreens sold in the 90's with a short story audio book included.

I dunno. A typical adventure game sold in that place at that time at least had some puzzles to solve. Gone Home has no puzzles to speak of.

Avatar image for lifesabeachh
Posted By lifesabeachh

I can't believe this got a 5/5.

Avatar image for skyebaron
Posted By skyebaron

Its a well told story and the house was well designed but I just found the game incredibly boring. Then again, for me, story never trumps gameplay. I could describe gone home as a high res adventure game that my local Walgreens sold in the 90's with a short story audio book included.

Avatar image for krabonq
Edited By Krabonq

Once again Patrick shows off just how much of a hipster is. Am I happy he's not in QLs anymore.

This is BARELY a game. It's just a story.

This is NOT even a good fucking story.

For a more elaborate explanation on why journalists that give this thing a high score are shills, read the video comment of the uploader of this Gone home speedrun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9qlm8olmn0

Avatar image for dezvous
Edited By dezvous

But you're not getting the experience on Youtube. You're not making decisions for yourself, you're not accidentally missing things, you're not solving puzzles or getting stuck. That's just part of what makes this game a delight and it is a wonderful game.

@sravankb said:

If the best part of a game is something I can experience on a YouTube video, it is not a good game. It might be a good interactive experience or whatever you want to call it, but it certainly isn't good at being a game.

Avatar image for dan_citi
Edited By Dan_CiTi

@shakeitbaby: I disagree, I think it works perfectly as a game, it's much more subtle and atmospheric in all the ways it works. You can't stand and look around and read notes and look into all the nooks and crannies while watching a film or a TV show. It adds deeply to the story in my opinion.

Anyway hell of a game, had all kinds of fun exploring the house and finding things and getting creeped out and was tearing up pretty bad from the "Dedication" note onward.

Also learned about the word "missive" and "immaterial"! Rock on!

P.S. Riot Grrrl!!!!!!

Avatar image for shakeitbaby
Edited By ShakeItBaby

My younger sister went through an experience in high school similar to the story of gone home, and even with that background I was unprepared for the fact that this isn't really a video game.

This story would be better told in almost any other medium, not to mention the cost.

Avatar image for sravankb
Edited By sravankb

@littlepoit:

Exactly this.

If the best part of a game is something I can experience on a YouTube video, it is not a good game. It might be a good interactive experience or whatever you want to call it, but it certainly isn't good at being a game.

I'm not against good stories in games, mind you. Hell, I loved Brothers; and that game at least had something unique to offer in terms of gameplay (simultaneously controlling two characters). The gameplay wasn't too polished, but it was at least different.

Another example - the complete opposite to Gone Home would be something like Gears of War. The story is pretty dumb, but the gameplay is so much fun and so well polished, that three games later, I'm still not bored of it. I still find myself popping GoW 3 in and playing a couple hours of Horde.

But this game doesn't even have that. Barely, and I mean barely interactive, kinda expected the ending, very short, not good value, etc etc. It did have really good voice acting, though. Fantastic work there, but literally nothing else about the game was good, in my opinion. Like littlepoit said, it's insulting to other game creators who're actually doing something good or innovative with the medium.

Avatar image for nyhus
Posted By Nyhus

This was a really good game till the ending. It was a nice ending, i guess, but it just forced me to realise that nothing was really going on at all in that house. Had i known that from the start, i probably wouldnt have played it, i think. 20bucks for this is extreme, wait till its 5. Thats a good value, for this, cause of no replay value at all.

Avatar image for littlepoit
Posted By littlepoit

@

this review and most reviews about this game are simply from another word disconnected from reality....

you may certainly give points to a game for some "cold case" nostalgia but you may not loose reason and journalism objectivity over it.

the game is not innovative, heavy rain or indigo prophecy did the point and click , QT events story telling much better already with actual gameplay , suspense, palpable emotions and tension and tough choices to make, where the player really feels involved.

this game is actually a bad rip off of the heavy rain DLC where the journalist explores the house of the taxidermist killer.....

music is meh

graphics are dated

story is very limited, a high school kid could probably write something better and more profound based on his day to day real life experiences.

replay value none

gameplay is terrible

some users whether it's on IGN/GB/GS feel betrayed and decieved by the journalists that tricked them into buying what they consider a very limited and average game. While i understand their frustration and agree to some extent what botters me the most is the message gaming journalists are sending to game developpers here :

you can get away with a very mediocre and short game with the ultimate score because it is tagged indie ? because it says no to don't ask don't tell, points a finger to a dramatic taboo (family not accepting their children's sexuality) and supports the gay community rights ? if it's for the last reason then fine but at least say so , don't pretend this game is a masterpiece, just say that as a reviewer you support the gay/lesbian community by puting a very symbolic top score on a game.

there are so many games out there that are better designed with better music, better graphics better stories and actually get you involved, make you care about the characters and make you cry.

just do a google > best dramatic games/game stories

Thank god i am not a game developper or game scenario writer. i am sure this score must feel like a slap in the face to them and their previous work.

And yes i wonder as well what score other reviewers from GB would have given to this game. i know everything that everything posted online goes through a peer review process and i am wondering if anyone voiced any reservations before it was published as is.

Avatar image for spectreman
Posted By Spectreman

I think is a game where price is very important thing. 20 dollars for a 2-3 hour game, with very few replay value, is a big too much.

Avatar image for nsmb2_mario
Posted By nsmb2_mario

Just found this review. I don't get what is special about this game? The story is extremely cliched, this is a story told a million times before in romance novels, not to give too much away. There are no mirrors in the house because they couldn't be bothered to model any human beings, and the graphics aside from that are poor. If you do absolutely everything, the game is only a few hours long. There are so many better indie games out there for less that I can play for countless hours. For $20, there are few games out there I can think of that are worse value than Gone Home.

Avatar image for paul_tillich
Posted By Paul_Tillich

Really frustrated by a lot of the comments here. This was one of my favorite game experiences of all time, and a real milestone for the industry. It delivered the sort of mature story critics of games said the media could not achieve. It did so while dealing with a subject that the movie industry is still only slowly figuring out.

And I don't see an LGBT "agenda" here. There is a big problem with games typically delivering a stereotype of a male fantasy, as evidenced by the controversies over bullying female gamers and problems LGBT individuals face working in the industry. If you hate gay people, you can, unfortunately, leave this game continuing to hate them (thus the lack of an agenda - the game does not take players through a twelve step process of eliminating homophobia). The game does, however, do an excellent job of giving the player an emotional understanding of what some LGBT youth go through in this country. I personally find that amazing. Much of the controversy over gay rights in this country comes from the fact that it is so hard to understand what it is like to be in another person's shoes, meaning people unlike one dominate cultural group can be marginalized as the "other." This game made a step toward such understanding better than just about any political speech I have heard. Again, it doesn't demand acceptance, but it immediately increases understanding of what you may not accept and therefore leads to genuine debate rather than attacks on straw men. The fact that a game, if played by a bulk of people in the world, could possiby change the tone of discussion on on issue, shows how well this game leverages the medium.

I'm also a big ally working for LGBT rights, and I was convinced the sister would be dead in the attic or elsewhere. When she got back together with her lover I let out a yell and pumped my fist in the air. Regardless of whether you find it as culturally important as me, it was a well crafted story.

Avatar image for bones8677
Edited By Bones8677

@xbob42: I don't think you can fault him too much for only really referring to the Sister's story, as it's the only one to progress naturally and with audio. Sure the parents have their own stories that progress as well, but they are clearly secondary, and can easily be missed.

Avatar image for osaladin
Posted By Osaladin

I bought into the hype, and I'm sad I did. I thought for sure that I'd find Sam dead in the attic by way of suicide, even if that would have been even more predictable. I too am in agreement that this has been over praised and overhyped. What with Patrick and Gary Whitta going gaga for it on Twitter.

I suppose my biggest problem with it, was that it felt like I was watching a made for TV movie, and a bad one at that. I definitely don't get the "had me in tears" reaction from some of the comments here. I just wish I wasn't so misled into thinking this was some kind of horror game.

Avatar image for icantbestopped
Posted By ICantBeStopped

@drew327 said:

@reelife: what happened to the parents?

They're on 'vacation', due to couple troubles.

Avatar image for originalyellow
Posted By OriginalYellow

I feel like this review is way more understandable after you've played the game. I just finished it and the story was nothing short of amazing. Nice review Patrick.

Avatar image for john-luke
Edited By John-Luke

With all the care and detail put into the content of this home, Sam's voice-over is single best asset to this story for me. Very well done. And the way Remo's tracks just lift it up (or down), it's just perfect.

The story was very thoughtful and I find myself really attached to this place. They made the mundane simply remarkable. Like a little time capsule of a thing I'll be sure to revisit in the future.

Avatar image for drew327
Edited By drew327

@reelife: what happened to the parents?

Avatar image for l44
Posted By L44

Apart from the pentagram and ouija board stuff this game is phenomenal.

Avatar image for yarhar707
Edited By YarHar707

20 bones for a walk forward simulator about ghosts and lesbians? No thank you.

Avatar image for leinad44
Posted By leinad44

@thatdudeguy said:

@icantbestopped said:

I kind of think this was a waste of money. I got a LGBT agenda heartstring tugger in the guise of a spooky detective game.

Also, fuck this guy. No need for "agenda" here. Be nice.

Didn't know agenda was a bad word. Call it a cause or whatever you like. I fired up the game, and what happened to my family? Well, nothing nefarious. You're sucked in by what appears to be creepy atmosphere and a mystery (at least, I was from the Quick look), but you come out the other end a couple hours later with, like someone said, a Lifetime movie. It's only through other comments one finds out what the content really is, and the fact that they hide it seems to me (perhaps not to others) that they wrote the story in such a way to make one feel sorry for gay people.

Didn't they hide it because the mystery is a big part of the game. You seem to be reading way too much into this.

Avatar image for joebigfoot
Posted By JoeBigfoot

Great review @patrickklepek, without sucking up too much, I have a real respect for your opinion.

This game had me in tears by the end. Amazing.

Avatar image for icantbestopped
Edited By ICantBeStopped

@thatdudeguy said:

@icantbestopped said:

I kind of think this was a waste of money. I got a LGBT agenda heartstring tugger in the guise of a spooky detective game.

Also, fuck this guy. No need for "agenda" here. Be nice.

Didn't know agenda was a bad word. Call it a cause or whatever you like. I fired up the game, and what happened to my family? Well, nothing nefarious. You're sucked in by what appears to be creepy atmosphere and a mystery (at least, I was from the Quick look), but you come out the other end a couple hours later with, like someone said, a Lifetime movie. It's only through other comments one finds out what the content really is, and the fact that they hide it seems to me (perhaps not to others) that they wrote the story in such a way to make one feel sorry for gay people.

Avatar image for general_boredom
Edited By General_Boredom

Phenomenal game. I played through it Saturday, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. In the 2 hours or so it took me to complete, I had become so emotionally invested that I was in tears by the end. A lot of that had to with Sam's VA, Sarah Robertson, who did an amazing job. She conveys Sam's emotions in such a believable manner that is seldom seen in video games these days. These journal entries were easily the best part of the game for me, and I look forward to going back to find the ones I missed.

I know a lot of people are turned off by the price, if so, wait for it to be in a Steam sale, but give it a try. It's a welcome breath of fresh air in the games industry and an experience that I won't soon forget.

Edit: I also thought I should mention that a friend I convinced to play Gone Home, one that typically only plays shooters and sports games, played it and loved it. No it's not for everyone, but play it with an open mind and you'll find a lot to love.

Avatar image for raikoh05
Edited By raikoh05

I wish there was more audio, and was longer, because I am not diligent enough to find and read everything.

Avatar image for hashbrowns
Edited By Hashbrowns

Great presentation, but presenting a story worthy of a Lifetime Original Movie by way of LOGO TV. Cue accusations of homophobia, bigotry or any other post-modern knee-jerk reactions you deem necessary.

Avatar image for thatdudeguy
Edited By thatdudeguy

@icantbestopped said:

I kind of think this was a waste of money. I got a LGBT agenda heartstring tugger in the guise of a spooky detective game.

Also, fuck this guy. No need for "agenda" here. Be nice.

Avatar image for thatdudeguy
Edited By thatdudeguy

I agree with the 5/5, but I don't begrudge anyone disliking the game. This game made me feel dread on a level that I've never experienced in a video game. The whole experience was creepy, fascinating, and powerful. And the endgame is one of the most intense moments I've ever encountered in a game. The creators continually expected my reactions and subverted them (especially when entering Sam's bathroom or the darkroom.)

That being said, it's the video game analog of an indie movie and shouldn't be entered into with the expectation of either twitch gameplay or length. I liken it to Dear Esther with some pseudo-puzzles. It's a couple of hours max, but I am wholeheartedly satisfied with the $20 purchase. I can't wait to see what Fullbright tackles next.

Avatar image for s1re
Posted By S1RE

@

5/5 and a glowing review sent me to steam to buy this "game" for just under 20$.

If that's wat you can call it. The "game"'s mechanics was opening drawers and doors and following bread crumbs. Basically point and click adventure. Point at everything and click and see wat story unfolds for 2 hours.

No choices, no gameplay, no action, no alternatives, one direction and its point and click.

You give this awesome review cause its really worth 5/5 or cause your friends with the developers cause on content alone for 20$ I expect a hell of a lot more than point and click and 2 hours.

2.5/5 tops just on the story alone cause that's all the game is... an interactive story, not a game.

Avatar image for gone_home_is_not_a_game
Posted By Gone_Home_Is_Not_A_Game

Definitely not worth 20$. If you enjoy these kinds of experiences, that's fine, but there is not a shred of gameplay in this and for something so basic and limited to get a 5/5 is truly shocking.

Avatar image for varkhanmb
Posted By VarkhanMB

Really glad I read the review and checked out a few minutes of the Quick Look. Bought the game and only played 45 minutes, but man I just love the atmosphere. More than once already, I felt shivers down my spine, and kind of choked up because it brought back a lot of feelings or memories. So far it's been a blast.

Avatar image for dinosaur_phd
Edited By Dinosaur_PhD

@joeyravn said:

I absolutely loved the game. The price may be a bit too much, but, hey, it's well worth it, IMO. The "main" story of the game was very well done, if you ask me, but what really captivated me was the little bits and pieces from Oscar's past story and how it affects the lives of the characters in the present. I loved how the thing that happened was left unsaid, but, at the same time, tied in perfectly with the rest of the story.

A truly amazing game, in my opinion. I was scared, I was sad, I was curious, I was touched, I was relieved and I, in the end, I was happy. That's much more than what most games manage to do to me nowadays, and I wholeheartedly welcome the change.

What really affected me, was the father's story. The story as a whole came together rather nicely, with the dynamic between the non-present characters being basically well-realized and the singular arcs coming off especially natural and full-formed. It made me feel in a way that I'm not entirely accustomed to games doing.

The only facet of the story I found lacking, was your character's place among all of the happenings. You can read your post cards and infer basically your slot in the family as the achiever, as opposed to your sister with a more creative or "rebellious" streak, but it would seem, otherwise, that you were a stranger rooting through these peoples lives.

Avatar image for donpixel
Edited By DonPixel

As a non American I found a lot of the praise in this game a bit of hyperbolic, a lot of it seems like an homage to 90's US, it relays to much on referential stuff... I mean more specifically northwestern 90s hipster kind of thing.

I guess that's cool and all, nothing wrong with it really... But in the other hand I can see this go like whatevaaa to the rest of the world.

Avatar image for belialjtg87
Posted By Belialjtg87

@flindip said:

@helios1337: Patrick has a tendency to over praise things in the "games with a message" category. Add to the indie nature of the title and Patrick is going to give a 5 star review.

I got no problem with this. These types of games speak more to him personally. Although maybe his objectivity is a little bit questionable as a consumer piece.

I agree, however I see nothing wrong with it. Patrick is my go to guy to find out about indie games. I like the fact that giantbomb tends to allocate their staff to their personal preferences in games. I may not always be in the mood for "heart tuggin' indie game", but I still believe he consistently offers fair reviews and helpful information. Kinda how I'm gonna go to Brad for RTS jargon, and Drew for sim games, although he's not a reviewer he still gives relative opinions in quick looks etc. Kevin Van Ord (gamespot) will always have relevancy in my opinion when his judgment is laid upon an RPG. Where as I will hardly ever believe anything Tom McShea (also GS) ever says about a game, strictly because our differences of what a good and bad game are differ greatly a large majority of the time. This is a bit of a bummer to someone coming to the gaming scene relatively fresh, and looking for purchasing insight for games. Following the content and learning the reviewer's/staff's opinions, preferences and demeanor can help out when you go to lay down that hard earned cash. Vinny also is a great litmus test for RPGs. But just as they have their opinions I have mine, of course.

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Posted By Pezen

@cybexx: I personally adored Dear Esther, maybe because I'm a sucker for well written naval gazing, but reading the review I was instantly reminded of Dear Esther's narrative style. And seeing someone having played both say they made the connection too sounds promising. I've been curious about this game, looks like I might have to pick this up. Especially liking the sound of giving the player the benefit of doubt to be able to figure things out on their own.

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Posted By Ravelle

@doobymoo said:

@zfubarz: I was wondering about the "holy shit" moment Patrick mentioned and I can only think of.. the bit where you go into the first secret passage and the bulb goes pop.

Perhaps he meant The blood, which turned out to be hair dye.

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Posted By Cybexx

Great review, played through the game in a couple of hours last night and really enjoyed it. It reminded me of Dear Esther a lot, another game heavy on narration, environmental storytelling and light on gameplay.

I was a bit mixed on Dear Esther, super pretty but I never quite felt I was in its world or connecting to its story, it was more like wandering through an art gallery. I could appreciate it and ponder its message but not much beyond that.

I totally connected emotionally with Gone Home however. While Dear Esther leans heavily on its well written prose, Gone Home invests in its characters. The story it is telling about its characters is clear but its up to you to find the pieces and make some of the more subtle connections.

Gone Home is also much more of a game, with some light puzzles and rewards for exploration.

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Posted By benu302000

@icantbestopped: The fact that you use the term "LGBT Agenda" means you're probably a super awesome human being.

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Posted By bkbroiler

Also great review! Probably my favorite thing Patrick's written.