You should 'Go Home' and play this
The Fullbright Company, developer and publisher behind Gone Home, describe their game as an “interactive exploration simulator”, and that’s exactly what it is. The game was released in 2013 for PC, and just this year (2016) for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The game is set in Boone County, West Virginia in 1995. You, a woman named Katie Greenbriar, have just returned home from an extended holiday around the world to find the rest of your family absent. It is your job to find out what happened to everyone by exploring the house. The story focuses on your sister, Sam, who leaves notes and items littered around the house. Each time you discover a special one, Sam adds another piece to the puzzle in the form of a voiceover. The story shared is a very touching one that will likely hit anyone who plays Gone Home right in the feels. You can really feel that love and devotion was added to the mixture when making this game.
For me, the atmosphere created with the sound and graphics was the best part. While playing, I kept looking out my real-life window to check if it was raining. The vibe of Gone Home is quite an eerie one -- almost like a light horror where you keep expecting something to jump out at you. The wood structure of the house is constantly creaking, keeping you on edge. No background music is used which keeps it more realistic. However, there are many points in the game where you can pick up a cassette or record and play it through one of the music players. The graphics displayed in Gone Home may not be the best ever, but they are unique. The Fullbright Company combined 3D rendering (for most of the game) with snapshots of real images. This creates a weird feeling where the lines between real and fiction are slightly blurred, enhancing the atmosphere and believability of the story.
The Steam Controller was my weapon of choice for Gone Home. The controls, while not the most important feature, worked fine and did not detract at all from the gameplay. The ability to pick up almost anything and inspect it was really interesting for me. It created a sense of freedom and encouraged more exploration. However, even with all of this exploration and the story, the game did not take long to finish and I was done in 2 hours. This is not necessarily a negative point, however. The game does everything it needs to within that 2 hours. In fact, I found it a nice change to be able to sit down and finish a whole game like that. I believe the game may warrant a second play through if you really enjoyed it, but don’t be expecting great replayability as the story is the same every time.
So, would I recommend Gone Home? Yes, I would. The game is unique and tells a touching story, with a strong and believable atmosphere. However, I do not believe the price tag fits. In my opinion, $20 USD is much too high for a game that lasts only 2-3 hours. I would recommend picking this game up only when it goes on sale as I did.