A simple review, from a simple man.
If I have to make a click-bait title it will be something like:
“Gone Home is a walking simulator with bad graphics, lame mechanics and a ton of bad punk.”
“The developers of Gone Home struggle through low-budget and dated assets to deliver a wonderful story.”
I would like to point out, that both are semi-true. It was going to be considered an ugly game long ago. I don’t listen to punk, so it’s bad punk. It’s kind of obvious, that it’s a low-budget title (it’s an Indie Game), and the graphics are dated.
You probably noticed, how I actually left two things out of the above statement. The story and the mechanics. Both are practically the meat of a game, right?
Yeah, it kinda depends on who you ask. Still, lets examine them.
It’s a sluggish game. The movement is slow. Slow. REALLY slow. I toggled mouse acceleration for a while, but couldn't get my mouse to work properly. You can crouch. You’ll actually do it maybe twice in the game. You cant jump. Really? It’s not like i’m going to crush in some invisible wall or something, I can’t leave the house. Jeez.
Well, it does not really matter, since it’s not a competitive game, right? Yeah, kind of. Still, I had to fight the controls more than anything else.
Oh, boy. People are going to hate me. I really liked the story. It’s cliche teen drama as you can get, but the voice of Sarah Elmaleh and the music Chris Remo made it worth it. And let’s be honest, I’m a gamer. I’m used to cliche stories.
I’m gonna say it out loud in the end. It is a “girlish” story. I know LGBT people will love it, since it’s one of the few centered around them. Most boys and men are going to be “Meh, feelz, boring, gimme my M4 and let me shoot things.”. Or maybe not, who am I to say? I’m a straight men, and I liked it… even got all the feelings and stuff. Don’t go there Internet!
Ok, awkward lame joke moment gone, let’s continue to talk about the game.
Options and stuff that TB likes.
Well, it has all the options it needs, in my honest opinion. No need to exit the game to change them, witch is good. Also, fully rebindable keys and some interesting gameplay options. As far as option menus go — that’s one good indie game.
Bugs and glitches.
Some… weirdness is presented in the game. The biggest problem I had, was the fact, that the model of the player character was in front of the camera. That was actually a problem when going trough drawers and stuff, since they can actually get stuck in you, and you have no way of judging is the distance right or not. Not a big problem, but it was off-putting.
Some times things didn't go where i wanted them to go, when i put them down. Kinda weird.
Had some performance issues in the start (I guess until it loaded everything in the house) and that’s my second big complaint. If you make an Indie game, you polish the hell out of it. If that means breaking the environment in to several zones — that’s ok. My PC isn't a really powerful one, but still everything from the last-gen games is running idealy. To have loading problems in a game like this, and not have them in a game like ME3 is just plain dumb.
Music and voice acting
As i pointed out already — they are perfect. AAA level. No complaints here. Well… the punk wasn’t good. But it actually made sence for it to not be good. So, i’m giving it an A just because I’m a nice guy.
Controls somewhat fucked up parts of the story (beware spoilers).
So, you've been gone for a year now, and you come home. No one is there, but you see a pretty disturbing note from your little sister. So, what do you do? Run around the house and outside it, in hope to find out what happened? Nah, you just slowly move forward and search for clues. Was it going to KILL you to put a run button in? At one point i though she had committed suicide, and I still could only slowly move trough the game. Well, not slowly exactly, but on a normal FPS speed. Nah, that’s a biased complain, since you could make the argument, that that way, the devs had a better control over the presentation of the whole thing, but still. If that’s the reason, I would have preferred movement freeze instead of “only walk” option.
Political bullshit (huge spoilers, don’t read if you haven’t played it).
Well, that’s just not GOTY material. I’m sorry. The game gets a ton of “oh, it’s so great” (one) because it’s about a lesbian coming out and (two) because the main character is a woman. It’s a really nice and atmospheric experience, but it ain't no game. I suck at puzzle games, hidden object games and so on. And I had no problem moving trough it.
I actually remember what was it to be a teen, so I prize the game for that. It portrays it well. My problem is, that for me, gender wasn't at all important. You could replace the two young birdies with Bella and Edward (or Edward and Draco, or Edward/Edwina and Draco), and it would have made no real difference. The main character could have been the cool brother, and not the cool sister and (again) I wouldn't even notice. I would feel the same fear of what happened to my little sister, the same anger to my parents for not talking to her and keeping her at home, the same worried satisfaction, when I learn she is following her dreams in the dumbes way possible… I did tell you, that the game made me feel, right?
It ain't GOTY material. But it’s not bad, ether. Why isn’t it GOTY, you would ask? Well, it ain't a real game, first of all. No fail state, no skill or luck involved, no real challenge. It’s an experience. A really good one, at that. But still not a game. And making it a GOTY? In the year, that Tomb Rider came out? The year, that GTAV cam out? Really?
I understand giving a shoulder to devs. But this is ridiculous!
Well, I guess I should have them, it’s “the thing” after all. Ok.
It’s slow and has it’s problems, but nothing really game-braking (-1). (game-braking… lol). Absolutely no replay value (-3).
It touched me, it made me feel, and till the end I still wondered witch of a few ways it will turn out. It’s cliche, that has been done till death, resurrection, death again, and resurrection yet again (-1).
Won’t take it points for the graphics, since it is a Indie game. And it actually looks well for one. But I will take points for not enough optimization (-1) and the clumsy controls (-1).
And if you really dislike punk, you should take at least 0.5 out of that. Also, scores are stupid, why are you even reading that?
Edit: Forgot to mention, that it costs 10EU on a promotion. That’s bullshit. 5EU/h. There are sex-workers that cost less here! Still, that’s not always up to the devs, so I’m just putting it down here.