Published on September 11th, 2013 | by Ryan Thompson4
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.
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.