Why am I moving so slow?
That is inevitably the first thing anyone will ask when they starting playing Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. It’s an unfortunate decision from developer The Chinese Room, but the movement speed in this new PSN title is unbearably slow. You move at a crawl. Post-release it was discovered that a “sprint” feature is in the game, and was not included in the controls screen due to an oversight, but even that only lets you move at a slow walk.
While clearly implemented to force players to take their time in exploring the empty English countryside village, I found it to detract from the experience. Not just because of the slow speed, but because the story and details crafted within the world are not only wonderful, but fairly complicated and deep. Having such a long time between each moment, due to solely to movement speed, negatively breaks up the game. You would think that after the sublime 60 minute experience of Gone Home, developers would be unafraid to make their game lean, but that is not the case here.
It’s a shame that the speed here is such an issue when playing the game, because afterwards, almost everything else about the game stuck with me. To start, presentation is top notch. The game is absolutely gorgeous, and the soundtrack is stellar. Even the menus has a flair that feels different from the in-game experience, but makes sense once it all comes together. The story is told via brief sequences of characters within the world that are trigged either by proximity to areas, or by using a controller motion to activate.
You only ever see a sparkly outline of each character, so their entire personality and emotion comes from the voice acting, which is the true star of the game. Each one breathes life, and embodies their role perfectly. These tidbits, as well as the occasional phone call or radio message, fill in the story of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and craft a beautiful, and heartbreaking tale.
While there really isn’t much to do in the game – no puzzles, quests, etc – the exploration really does feel like you’re slowly crafting a story, so I’ll give it a pass on that area.
Similarly, like Gone Home, and other “first-person experiences”, there really isn’t much replay for this title. The trophy list is kind of goofy – a lot of them literally require you to just stand in a spot for a couple minutes – but getting the Platinum does require hitting all of the “story” points in the game, so if you go for that you will be able to maximize your understanding of the story. All said a run-through (using sprint!) takes around 3-5 hours, with 10-15 for the platinum.
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Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is so close to being a great title. While it has a fantastic story and wonderful world, the slow movement kills any momentum created. Also, given the fairly large scale of the world, it would have been nice to have more to interact with than phones and radios to help keep the story going. Still, it’s a worthwhile PSN title, even at it’s $20 price.