5 people found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 4.9 hrs on record
Posted: Jun 30, 2014 @ 10:02am
Updated: Aug 3 @ 8:30pm

Alright, first let me clarify that I do not object to the gameplay of this game. So many people are accusing this game of not being a "real" game because it's a narrative that you explore. They're wrong. This game brings to mind the world of Myst, which was a game released in 1993 that single-handedly made the CD-ROM format popular. Anyone who claims that Gone Home isn't a game doesn't know what a game is.

Gone Home puts you in the shoes of Kaitlin, a girl who has just returned home from college to find her parents new home completely empty. Her sister, Sam, has left a very spooky note on the door telling Kate that she has left. This early narrative and the overall atmosphere of the game (night setting, thunderstorm and heavy rain, etc.) leads the player to believe that there is a supernatural element at work here. In fact, through various notes and diaries that you find throughout the house, you are further encouraged to foster the idea that Sam and her "friend", Lonnie, have been hunting and speaking to the ghost of the former tenant of the home, Oscar. Among items in the house, you find a Ouji board, a safe filled with old pharmacy equipment from the days before Oscar died, and a particularly creepy crucifix that is scripted to shut off the lights when you look at it. Other than these things there is zero horror or suspense in this game. There is an obvious bait and switch tacked onto the surface of this game from the screenshots to the art style and early themes of the game. After the initial mentioning of Oscar, he isn't mentioned again at all until the very end, after you have endured countless audio diaries of Sam moaning on about her girlfriend, Lonnie. It's almost as if the game was created to draw in players wanting a driving suspenseful story only to let them down with a lesbian romance that is mind-numbingly boring. There are some interesting items that help you put together the story of the Greenbriar family. This gameplay mechanic was actually pretty fun and reminded me of Myst. Since this was the best part of the game to me, I won't spoil it, but be sure to savor it, for it does not last long.

At the end, after it is revealed that Sam and Lonnie have kissed, Kaitlin discovers that her sister has left, not to escape any poltergeists or demons, but to participate in one of the oldest cliches in romantic fiction. She's left to go after Lonnie. And that's it. Sam mentions in one of her audio diaries that she and Lonnie went up to the attic to say goodbye to Oscar, but other than that and the early hints at ghostly activity, there are no other paranormal elements to this game. The game never attempts to explain why there is a ghost, a noticeably unrealistic plot device, in a seemingly normal and mundane game setting. It doesn't explain what Sam and Lonnie did to make peace with the ghost. It's a meaningless story element that seems to exist only as a decorational gimmick to draw in players.

The above fact added to the price tag of TWENTY dollars serves to imply that this game was thrown together to make a quick buck. The story is unimaginative and the the playing time is a mere two hours. I played through with the developer's commentary tracks on a second play through, so I spend a little over four hours playing the game. It's probably the shortest game that I've ever bought on Steam. It MIGHT be worth $5 at the most, which is what I paid for it. But honestly, even at that price, the story is lackluster and relies on shady bait and switch tactics to draw you in. It CERTAINLY isn't worth $20. DO NOT pay that kind of money for this game. Wait till it goes on sale or play a friend's copy to test it out first. Don't reward these kind of business tactics with a full $20. I would have felt robbed if I had paid that much money for this game. Steam doesn't give refunds, so you should put your money to better use.
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