Look, I don’t mind a bit of pretentious arty wankery from time to time. But today I think I found my limit. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is the new game from The Chinese Room, who brought us the pretentious wankery walkathon Dear Esther. I actually didn’t mind Dear Esther. The writing was a bit overwrought, but it was pretty and it was short enough that I didn’t ever overstay its welcome.
So I sat down to play Rapture, expecting more of the same. For a while, I enjoyed it. The story was intriguing, the characters were interesting, and the graphics were gorgeous. After an hour or so of wandering around a very British countryside, I began to get a little impatient. I figured the ending couldn’t be too fare off, so I persevered for another hour…
And then I started to get really pissed off.
Usually, when I start yelling at the TV over a game it’s because I’m getting my arse kicked by enemies or continuously missing a platform or a target or something like that. I’ve never gotten so angry about walking before. So. Much. Fucking. Walking. The developers actually forgot to tell anyone there was a run button. I knew about the run button at least, but it’s not even a real run button. It’s a “hold R2 for a while and you may begin to walk slightly less slowly” button.
There’s a glowing light that guides you around to where you need to go, but it doesn’t work half the time. It would just disappear now and then, so I would walk on and do my own exploring. Then the bloody light would show up again and coax me into walking halfway back across the fucking map because I missed something because the light wasn’t there to guide me when I actually needed it! At the end of the game the light just got stuck in one place and I had to find a walkthrough online to figure out where to go to trigger the god damn ending.
Rapture does have sort of an interesting story, and I’m sure there will be lots of people comparing theories online and scouring the game for all the clues necessary to fully understand it. If the game had been half the length, I might have been on board for all that. But by the time I reached the ending I was like a kid on a long car trip; tired, cranky and ready to chuck one hell of a tantrum.
The thing that makes me the angriest is that I had purposely not gone back to playing Witcher 3 because I felt it was taking up too much of my time, so I thought I’d try playing some shorter indie games. Now I’ve wasted my whole day on this bullshit when I could have been doing far more productive things with my life, like playing Witcher 3.
If you want to play a truly great arty walking game, play Gone Home. It does everything right that Rapture does wrong, and it does it in a fraction of the time.
I am so done with you, The Chinese Room.