I love a game that really captures my home country well, so many are set in the USA or far away worlds it’s fantastic to see a game set in the United Kingdom. In this Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture review you’ll see, it really takes that to incredible levels of beauty in one of the most unique games I have ever played.
In Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture you don’t have anything to shoot, nothing is coming after you to eat your flesh and you are not needed to actually do anything to save the world.
You are simply walking the gorgeously created streets of Shropshire as you try and uncover the story of what has happened to the people of the town following The Event. You investigate buildings, interact with radios and follow the light as it relives the lives of everyone who is now gone.
It’s a remarkable game and a real change in pace from your standard title, even the more slow adventures out there. Everything is about listening to the sad stories of the residents as the end of the world approaches. While you may find hard to play for too long in one go, but it’s a game you will constantly find yourself dipping back into to find out more of what happened.
Look and feel
It’s remarkable to look at, it’s literally like they have captured a real English village in a game at times it’s so well made. The buildings are beautiful with thatched roofs on the white cottages, big pubs with gardens or the farms houses with expanding fields up into the country side.
Add to that a hauntingly well-orchestrated soundtrack with some rather chilling moments that reflect the atmosphere of the events perfectly, this really is one beautiful and atmospheric game.
The initial load of the game takes some time but once you are in everything loads as you move, because of this there are some small technical blips as the game saves or loads intensely and some dips in the frame-rate or small pop-in occurs during these moments.
But in general, once you are playing you are in for a stunning and immersive experience that rarely gets broken.
Story and Gameplay
I have to be careful here because the whole game is based around a story and that is simply it, I will explain it vaguely in an effort not to ruin your experience and reason to play this title.
You are exploring the village and there is nobody there. Everyone has gone and the only thing that remotely resembles anything like something actually happening is the golden light flowing around the areas and radios saying a series of numbers that, when you interact with them, tell you about the light.
As you explore the small town following the light around, you are told the stories of what happened to everyone before the events of the rapture. Each chapter lets you see the story of one key person, starting with the priest Jeremy and moving on to Wendy, Frank and Lizzie before you get to the main people involved, two scientists in Stephen and Kate.
Each one provides more information and rather sad stories on what happened to the town as people become very sick; feeling exhausted, bleeding from the nose before they simply vanish.
The more you explore the more you find out, some houses will reveal side notes as to what happened to people and their worries about their children or family, others are key parts of the story and you track down the light markers and release the memories of what happened, revealing what is happening with what is called The Pattern, a symbol created by the light as it flashes around the town.
As a game it’s very much a slow paced affair, there is a move faster option (yes, there really is!) but since the game is designed to be slow and everything is about the atmosphere, I personally don’t think it would work so well if you were to rush it. This is the contentious part of the game but for me, it can only work the way they have done it, this title is not about finding everything as quickly as possible it’s about exploration and feeling the atmosphere along with the stories.
Now I said above “move faster” rather than run because the character you play is not really the focus of the game more the events around the town. But when you consider the fact you never see any arms, legs nor do you cast a shadow, plus a number of other unusual things happening in the game, you soon realise the title is provoke deeper questions than simply the main stories.
This is a game I can see being debated for its meanings for a very long time.
It’s safe to say then that this is not a game for everyone, if something needs to be shot, stabbed or blown up in some way every few moments for you to have fun then this is certainly not the game for you. The game is slow, purposefully so and it’s all about getting around and finding out what happened to people.
As such I found it a great game to play for a while, maybe an hour at a time, and then taking a bit of a break before being pulled back in. I am the kind of gamer who likes to play one game at a time but with Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture you’ll find both hard to play for too long, but you certainly don’t want to leave it unfinished.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture has award winner written all over it, the game is so unique as a concept and they have taken that and applied some stunning visuals and a chilling soundtrack that really sucks you in. The Chinese Room have done a fantastic job with the game and it’s something unlike anything else out there to play.
As a game it’s not really anything more than an exploration mechanic as you interact with a few objects here and there and the slow movement and general pace of the game will not work for everyone.
A few minor jerks and pop-ins only break the immersion when the game loads heavily or saves your progress and, given the pace of the title, a manual save option would have been worth including.
With towards six hours of gameplay and lots of extras to find there is enough to keep you coming back to the game but the main thing that will get you going is the stunning and rather haunting representation of a town following the end of the world.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Review Format: PS4