Gone Home Review PS4 - First GOTY Contender


This review has been years in the making. Literally. Initially released in 2013 (as a PC exclusive), Gone Home made quite an impact, being called one of the best games of that year. As the PS4 fanboy I am, I decided to wait until the game was released on my current gen console. Two and a half long years later, I finally played the game. I'm happy to report that people didn't lie: Gone Home is one of the most touching, rewarding experiences I've ever had with a video game.

So what is Gone Home about? Well, you play as a girl named Kaitlin (In First Person View). After a yearlong trip abroad, you arrive home to find out that your sister and parents are not there. You have to explore the house looking for clues and interacting with objects to discover your family's location.


The first thing I noticed about the game is just how unique and fresh it is. Sure, walking simulators like Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter have since been released. But none of them are as good as the original. I feel like Gone Home is a more focused game. There's no huge open world. The entire thing takes place in a house. While I'm usually disappointed with small maps, this house is full (FULL) of details, objects, notes and pictures. You genuinely believe a family lives there. However, what is a clever, realistic world without a good story to tell? Luckily, Gone Home tells one of the most beautiful stories I've ever heard.


The abstract storytelling in this game is pretty fantastic. Keep in mind, you know nothing about these people before you start playing the game. So as you roam through the house, you're trying to find out where your loved ones are, while simultaneously learning who these same people really are. Your sister loves Street Fighter, your dad is trying to become a known writer, and your mom is trying to live with a rebellious teenager. However, not everything is as good as it seems. These people are suffering. Topics like love, depression and infidelity are all covered in a smart, moving way.


The reason why I think the plot hits so hard is because Gone Home is a very relatable experience. On two levels. The first one being going away for a trip, new life or job without knowing if you'll ever see your family again. As I looked for them, I kept asking myself: “where is everyone? Are they safe?” More importantly, just like in real life, you have no clue what the closest one to you are going through. Your best friend may have a secret that's killing him. Your mom might be depressed and unhappy. You should probably talk to them and try to help, before it's too late.


While I wish Gone Home was longer, I think it would diminish the game’s substance. It took me two and a half hours to finish the game and understand what happened with my sister, and why she did the things she did. Sure, some storylines like your psychotic uncle and your mother aren't fully fleshed out, but I didn't want them to. I was too invested in my sister’s situation, and I'm glad the spotlight remained on her. The ending is bittersweet, but I'm glad it didn't have a major sci-fi or horror twist. Not everything has to be violent to be fulfilling. So while I do think and extra hour could have helped the game clear up some things, it might have decreased relevance of the outstanding main plot. So I'm not too mad.

Verdict: it's easy to care about a video game character. It's rare that a game makes you feel like these characters have been with you for the longest time. Gone Home does that, and it does it remarkably well. We already have a PS4 GOTY contender.

The Good
- Unique
- Incredible plot
- Beautiful Story
- Relatable
- Short, But Unforgettable 

The Not So Good
- Some Things Are Left Unclear



I give Gone Home a 10 out of 10


3 comments:

  1. GREAT REVIEW! This is how I thought as well playing the game way back when. Amazing to think that you can feel so much for those characters after reading a few notes for a couple of hours. Brilliant!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Agree, this game is an enormous accomplishment.

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    2. Thank you! Agree, this game is an enormous accomplishment.

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