Review Gone-Home

Published on September 11th, 2013 | by Ryan Thompson

6

Gone Home Review


When I first heard of gone home it was on twitter, and I had read nothing but great things about it. So many people talking about how emotional this game was and how it was going to be a real game changer lead me to jump on Steam and buy it without hesitation. After playing the game for a few hours, I had finished it. As I sit there trying to process the story, and just what exactly did everybody else see in this game, because I had just played a game that was completely terrible and had a story that I just didn’t get or relate to.

When you start the game you play as a character who has just returned from a year overseas backpacking through Europe. It’s a late stormy night and you find a note from your little sister stating how she was sorry that she couldn’t be there when you come back but can’t live in this house anymore. The majority of the story is told through journal entries that you find from your sister and the more you find you see how your family has went down this path of destruction and on the verge if not already fallen apart. This is where I feel this game loses me because the setting of an old “scary” house during a rainstorm instantly made me think of horror, and in all honesty not long into exploring the house and finding letters or receipts that helped flesh out the story I had forgotten all about the letter from my sister that talked about her leaving, and kept waiting to find her dead by some ghost psycho killer or something weird. Instead the story talks about how your sister is an outcast and finds this group of girls that she starts hanging out with and instantly gets this connection to one girl in particular and over the course of the new year their friendship goes from friends to lovers. This certain hook in the story feels more like hey it’s really cool to have a gay character in our story so let’s make your younger sister gay.

gonehome_2

It’s not something in the story I hated or enjoyed because in all honesty if Lonnie was a guy instead of another girl I would have still thought too highly of the overall story. At the same time all this is going on with your sister you start finding letters and clues that your parents marriage is falling apart and your mother might possibly have had or is having an affair with a new park ranger at her workplace. I did find it funny that while exploring the house I kept finding bibles in back corners or in the bottom of drawers and was like maybe if people in this house opened a bible a little more often this family wouldn’t be falling apart.

The only thing I really enjoyed in this game was the setting and mood. There was several times where I thought I had heard something and it was just old house noises. There is even one time where I was so creeped out by the mood that I find a hidden passageway one time and when I go to enter it the light bulb suddenly blows out and I freaked out so much that I grabbed in game a cross that was close by and then walked into the hidden passageway. The game also plays with the supernatural in the story so you could imagine my disappointment when I got to the end and didn’t find my family murdered on some occult symbol or something along those lines, but instead found my sisters last journal talking about how she was running away with her girlfriend.

I hope another game that takes a traditional game play mechanic like the first person game comes out and can give me a truly emotional story because this one failed on all fronts. I would love to hear from someone if they played this game and actually enjoyed it and what it was that you enjoyed about this game. This game gets a 1 out of 5 stars for the setting alone.


Gone Home Review Ryan Thompson

Summary:

1

Needs Work


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6 Responses to Gone Home Review

  1. DJ says:

    I liked reading a review from a Christian perspective because, as a Christian myself, it gave me more discernment as to whether or not I would like this type of game. I looked into it on steam and considering buying it, but it was kind of a wildcard so I didn’t… maybe that’s a good thing.

    Also, I feel like there are some big spoilers in the article. I haven’t played the game, but the details within the review seem pretty revealing.

  2. ryan thompson says:

    yeah usually i’m better about not doing that, but I think my bias towards this game got the better of me.

  3. Damon says:

    Agreed completely with this review

  4. Tyler S says:

    I’m a bit unsettled that you were looking forward to your family being murdered. What can that say about you that you found it disappointing that your love one was not strung up dead on an occult symbol but instead found love.

  5. YouthPastorJAC says:

    (Spoilers) So, I knew ahead of time that the game was not a horror game, but a story/art FPS. I thought, “Hey, I enjoyed ‘Dear Esther’ so I’ll give it a shot.” As one who was a teen in the 90’s, I can tell you that the game brought back all sorts of feelings. Cassette tapes, inside jabs at laserdisc, punk rock, notes, even the school books. Very atmospheric and nostalgic game. While I think the writing in the game was excellent, it was not at all a story I was expecting. I imagine that a girl struggling with her sexuality as a teen in a new town with a mom and dad like that could have easily felt the way Sam did.
    However, it feels like the story was trying to say something without saying much of anything. The player is basically left with a lot of questions. Were the parents (my parents) right for responding the way they did? Are my parents going to get divorced? Have I lost my sister? Did my trip to Europe contribute to my family falling apart? Can I have Sam’s much larger room now?
    But, my big(ger) gripe with the story is that it’s only being told from Sam’s perspective. And, because of that the “counselor” in me is really itching to hear things from mom and dad. The ending kind of romanticizes Sam and Lonnie’s relationship, in my opinion. And I can’t tell if the story wants to paint the real picture of a family and its struggles, or the just the thoughts of a teen girl. I am reluctant to say that the game was trying to push some kind of homosexual agenda. If it was, that’s just sad, because their message about homosexuality would essentially be, “If it feels right, then it’s worth abandoning everything, even your family.” Which, to a teen with angst, sounds wonderful, but it has little to do with what real love is.
    And, oh yeah, the Bibles everywhere. I had the same thought as the reviewer, but something tells me that the message being sent was “religion doesn’t help”. Or maybe the placement of the Bibles is purposely ambiguous like the rest of the game. Either way, I liked the game overall, and I am excited to see more games like this in the future. I just think stories should have a purpose besides “this is how someone going through this feels”.

  6. L Galavin says:

    Wow, really love the homophobic vibes i’m getting from the reviewer (thinking gay characters are just in games ’cause it’s apparently hip and cool. Please) and some of the replies (especially YouthPastorJAC. Homosexual agenda? Really? You actually believe that’s a thing? And her love is apparently “not real love”? That’s just sad). I don’t know why I keep coming to christian pages, being a christian myself, and expecting/hoping to find just normal people instead of insecure weirdos. Any page with “christian” in the title so far seems to be exactly the same, filled with the same kind of bigoted people.

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