This month (Nov ‘16) Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture is available, free with PS Plus. As a game with little marketing hype behind it, not many people know about this one. Regardless, those who’ve been eyeing up the game may be thinking “here’s yet another walking simulator”. True, we’ve had our fair share the last few years. Firewatch, Layers of Fear and maybe even Outlast would qualify. However, each of these titles are undeniably brilliant in each of their own ways. The simple format of walking and interacting with objects has proven itself a genre with seemingly no shelf life.
Coming Home… To Shropshire
Starting out with Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture, anybody could be forgiven for thinking this is more like a Coronation Street remaster. (Yes a game exists for that and it’s hilarious). Upon seeing the first few things the game has to offer, it may seem so on the surface. Watching conversations with thick Somerset accents and seeing classic red telephone boxes among other quintessential Brit stuff may seem comical to some.
For me, however, it felt like the coming home to a virtual world I’d never been to before. You, see, I’m British. It has to be said – playing a video game with only one American accent and where all locations are believably designed – this felt comforting. It made me realise just how attuned my ears had become, as if expecting Americanisms from simply playing a videogame. Of course, that’s nobody’s fault. Any foreign games will be dubbed into American English for the larger audience. We Brits can just deal with it.
As you ponderously step through the fictional town of Yaughton (pronounced Yorton) and its surrounding areas in Shropshire, after a couple of minutes, the sheer beauty of this game will start to sink in. The Chinese Room, the game’s developers, have been working hard with the CryEngine to make this possible. CryEngine powered games are famed for their graphical prowess and Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is no exception. The area’s inhabitants have all mysteriously disappeared, so what’s left is a gorgeous ghost town. People’s homes and back gardens are so well designed, it’s clear to see just how suddenly they disappeared. This is due to the fantastic creation of these places. Cigarettes are left in ashtrays. Doors are left ajar. TV sets are buzzing away with white noise. For a ghost town, this place feels so alive.
Music Delivered To The Highest Professional Standard
Then there’s the music. The excellently composed string and piano pieces, sometimes combined with male or female voice choirs add to the relevance of something you’ve just discovered. You’ll start to piece the mystery together at the halfway point through the game. At this point, night becomes day at a supernatural pace. With the male voice choir backing and the beautiful landscape unfolding in light, stretching out ahead of you, this is a game that nails poignancy like no other. Music is put to use very tastefully in Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. It’s never over used. Unlike most games, there isn’t a constant soundtrack bobbing away in the background. There will be long stretches of silence, allowing you to ponder the clues picked up so far. Then when the music does kick in, it never gets in the way of any dialogue you try to listen to.
See And Hear Everything To Put It All Together
In a game where the players listen to ghostly memories of time gone past, voice acting is one of the pillars holding this story up with such strength. Like my Coronation Street example earlier, you’ll be over hearing many family domestics and blossoming romances. Tense discussions and arguments also precede ‘The Event’. The superb delivery of each of these conversations will at first, come to you in a disjointed manner. On the off chance you explore the area in a particular way, you’ll get most things in order. Yet, this is the beauty of experiencing Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture.
It’ll be up to you to make sense of the chronology of events as you play a Pulp Fiction-esqe delivery of story. As a result, the game has you constantly paying attention and immersed. Even discussions that seem irrelevant to the main plot at first will later have more meaning. Without giving away too much, I will simply say, the script for this game and delivery of it is masterminded to the extend that style of delivery is guaranteed make an impact on you.
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture Is An Essential Game Experience For The Way That It Makes You Feel
Why then, do I insist that everybody plays this game? On the surface, I could say that Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is the pinpoint pinnacle of what a walking simulator should deliver. Going deeper, it’s more about how the game makes you think once the credits roll. Thanks to its mature tone, it also depicts extremely realistically how people are likely to behave when faced with their end.
As people disappear increasingly often, we get an idea of how the strong minded and the weak interact in their last few days. Rapture really makes the player think about what it is to be human. The daily struggles of wanting things we can’t have. Or the lingering torments that come with the loss of a loved one. It almost suggests that we shouldn’t fear death. As if it were more of an ascension than an end.
In its beautiful finale (which I will not spoil) we are left thinking about where our consciousness goes once we die. Firewatch was extremely effective at making us think about how we handle relationships in life. However, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture goes so much further and discusses many more complexities. For it to have the power to make me think the things I thought when playing, I am truly grateful. As such, you all need to play Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. Especially if you’re a Brit!