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Gone Home (PC) artwork

Gone Home (PC) review

"Gone Home quickly creates an atmospheric, creepy mansion, and then proceeds to do absolutely nothing with it. "

A fierce storm rages outside, heavy rain beats down on the roof, rattling and echoing through the dark empty halls and lonely rooms of the mansion. Katie walks in and looks around. No one is home. Gone Home quickly creates an atmospheric, creepy mansion, and then proceeds to do absolutely nothing with it.

Once you turn some lights on, the house starts to become a little friendlier. All you do is walk around the house, clicking on items that reveal more about you, your family, and in particular, your younger sister, Sam. The only challenge is in finding the next interactive item to unlock more of the mansion. As you progress, youíll be treated to snippets of Samís diary, which tells an Oscar-bait worthy story which is striving so hard to further the games as art debate.

Gone Home (PC) image

Gone Home is art. But it isnít a game. Itís a visual story, and it is entertaining enough while it lasts. Thereís some real heart to the writing, and the character of Sam is fleshed out by her journal and other possessions she has left behind.

I canít even talk about the story without spoiling it, so thereís little to talk about in this review.

The problem is that the usual asking price is $20. All you do is walk around the house, clicking on stuff, listening to snippets of the journal for about an hour and a half. Then itís over. Thereís no replay value. The story isnít any better the second time around. The dark, empty mansion is even less creepy when you know thereís absolutely nothing to worry about. Itíll just sit on your hard drive until you delete it to make room for other stuff.

There seems to be a trend of games like this. Dear Esther suffered from much the same issue, but at least the story was ambiguous and open to interpretation. Gone Homeís narrative is linear and absolute, with no room for interpretation.

Gone Home (PC) image

Youíve probably been hearing the buzz about Gone Home. People will tell you that itís really good. It is. But you shouldnít buy it. You can get the same experience by watching a walkthrough on YouTube and it wonít cost you a thing.

And cost is really the biggest issue with this release. You might pay $20 for a collection of short stories, where Gone Home is one of many. I doubt you would pay $20 to see Gone Home as an Indie movie, and you probably wouldnít be satisfied with all the real-time walking around looking for things scenes that it would be filled with, since thereís maybe 25 minutes worth of actual dialogue. So you wouldnít spend $20 for a game where you do the same.

Hell, I picked it up for $5 in a recent Steam sale and I still feel slightly ripped off.


jerec's avatar
Community review by jerec (February 18, 2014)

On very rare occasions, Jerec finds a game that inspires him to write stuff about. The rest of the time he just hangs around being sarcastic.

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honestgamer posted February 19, 2014:

I had the thought as I played through the game that if the same story were presented as a Lifetime movie and offered to many of the people who adore it when they encounter it in game form, they would pull away in disgust or, at the very least, disinterest. Gone Home is exciting in large part because it's an effort to expand the boundaries that hold games back from occasionally trying the brave things they otherwise might. I also felt that the "originality" is overly hyped, since it actually shares a lot in common with any number of classic adventure titles (though the less obfuscated puzzles and the lack of inventory management woes were welcome here). I clearly liked Gone Home a lot more than you did, judging by the difference in our reviews, but it's easy to sympathize with your standpoint to at least some extent and I would imagine it's one that a lot of people would share, were they ever enticed into downloading the art house game. Is that a term? I get the feeling that it will eventually need to be, if it isn't yet.
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jerec posted February 19, 2014:

I don't generally mind these games. Dear Esther was also fun for a couple of hours, but I'd probably score it around a 5 or 6 because I suppose value for money is an important factor for me. But this one is just a linear story broken up by touching different items around the house and opening a few locked doors. 90 mins and it was over and there's no real reason to go back.

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