24 September 2015 | t-hf
Heartbreaking, humorous and thoroughly engaging
Now this is how you make a video game. From obscure games developer The Chinese Room comes the indie game to end all indie games. As I listen to the heartbreakingly beautiful soundtrack at this very moment, I am inclined to encourage you to go and buy this game immediately - it is definitely worth the price (£15 on playstation store). I am at a loss for words to explain how much this game moved me, but i'll do my best. First, the premise.
The game is essentially a first person exploration adventure, where you find yourself as an unidentified individual traversing a small series of villages in the English countryside after some kind of catastrophe has happened. All the inhabitants are gone, all is quiet...you are completely alone. Through various flashbacks, audio logs and telephone recordings - you slowly start to piece together whatever has happened.
First off, the game looks amazing, there is so much attention to detail and from the very first steps I took after the opening narration, I knew that I was in for a treat. The entire environment is drenched in atmosphere and incredibly beautiful to look at. Being from England myself, I have visited the English countryside more times than I can count and this game instantly transported me there. What this game does great is feel more large scale than an indie game should, whilst never straying from it's small town England vibe. The first thing you may notice is that all the flashbacks and character exchanges sound like a radio play, and I may be wrong in thinking this but if that's what they were going for, it paid off perfectly and added so much to the game's tone. As you traverse these locations, you'll not only get an idea of what has happened, but also uncover some very important and intriguing character moments, which all weave together to create a web of interesting character relationships. Everything in this game just pulls you into it's world so much. I almost forgot that I was playing a video game at times. I can also say that it boasts one of the best soundtracks for a video game that i've heard since The Last of Us
If I could compare it to anything, I would say that it calls to mind elements of bioshock, but even that's a stretch. I genuinely can't think of any games that are really like this one. Now on paper it seems like it's borrowing heavily from other games (the nameless main character, the post apocalyptic environment etc.), but trust me when I say that it feels very fresh and original. I would say that anyone expecting a lot of excitement and action will be disappointed, as the game does opt for a slower pace and a slower unfolding of it's narrative. For those looking for a great experience, I definitely recommend it and cannot really think of anything to complain about. It kept me engaged throughout and made me constantly want to delve deeper. It's only £15 on the playstation store and it is truly one of the first indie games in a while that is worthy of the price - offering a large world, small story, satisfying 6 hour adventure that you won't forget.