I’m not Christian myself, but I do enjoy some of the concepts from the religion, same as other religions from around the world. The rapture is one such idea that I’ve played around with, so the thought of someone making a game revolving around the event intrigued me. While it’s not something I believe will actually happen (much like the zombie apocalypse) I can appreciate how there are a hundred ways it’s played out in novels and the like, and I was curious which direction the developer took things with this telling.
The scenery throughout the game is pretty, particularly at the end of each person’s story. The way the day slowly progresses as the story does and fades into night, with fireflies lighting the way to the next person’s trials, caught me off guard in the best of ways.
There were some issues graphically in that the scenes didn’t quite have the impact they could have since things loaded in at varying rates. That was minor, however, beside the odd split I found while playing.
With such a beautiful world I wanted to explore it, however the extra phone calls and radios were too few to make it worth it. Exploring just to find nothing, or to be blocked from the vast majority of buildings, made looking through things far less satisfying. Instead I ended up following the orb guide for the majority of it and not looking for the extras.
The slow pace lent itself to this as well. With the walking and sprinting speeds so incredibly slow, exploring was almost discouraged. The explanation given in-game for that was that things could be missed but with how loud radios and phones were, and how it was fairly obvious where major scenes would take place thanks to the guide orb, that didn’t stand. Instead, it was frustratingly slow, which in itself made me not want to explore given that it would take forever to get everything done.
That’s the main problem with the game. The speed felt artificially slow, as if to draw the experience out and give it more weight, and that actually diminished the impact of the main bits since the story supplements felt like a waste to go find.
Having said that, the main story for each of the characters was good. Their confusion and pain came through, thanks entirely to the voice acting and the soundtrack as aside from little swarms of light that resembled human shapes there were no actual people. The people depicted in the game were everyday folks, dealing with their own problems and biases, and had very real interactions with their friends and neighbors because.
The overarching story and how each person’s experience ties in some way back to Kate, the lady who’s holed herself up in the observatory, tied it all together quite nicely. The individual stories were cool, but having that one common thread gave them a bit more impact than they would have otherwise had. And with every story leading to hers, and the game ending at the observatory, it lent a nice flow to how it played out.
The guide orb that was present throughout the game was both helpful and confusing, and muddled the feel of the whole thing. It was supposed to be more of an exploration game by the open feel of it, yet the orb kept me on a very linear path (and a confusing one at that, as it seemed to double back and not actually move to the next event half the time). It created a certain pull between the way I wanted to be able to play and the way the game was telling me to play.
Games that can be classified as walking simulators aren’t for everyone, and unfortunately if that applies to you this game isn’t likely to change your mind. I enjoyed the gradual take on the Rapture, how the thing Kate discovered played into it, and the human element it instilled with the people of the town freaking out and growing fearful for their lives. As far as these kinds of games go it was pretty solid, although the dissonance between open exploration and being guided constantly in the right direction made it somewhat less effective than it could have been.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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