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I’m not going to beat around the bush with this, I’m just going to say it straight off the bat – Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is an incredible game. Scratch that – it’s an phenomenal game! Its world shines, breathes and sings from your television set drawing you into its central mystery whilst guiding you through some of the greatest gaming graphics ever created. To speak too much about its story would be to rob you of its power and depth so I will tread very carefully during my review.
Set in Shropshire, you explore a village where the entire community has mysteriously vanished. As you make your way through, you encounter “characters” depicted as balls of light which lead you to events played out between the villagers in the days up to their disappearance. These events are generally conversations between individuals and play out as a timed story of what has happened and who is responsible. Dotted about are radios repeating numbers until they are activated and a voice further expands on the story. There are houses to explore, phone messages to listen to and notices to read, all giving you the clues you need to figure out what has taken place.
Graphically, this is like something I have never seen before. Yes, we should be used to next gen graphics by now but rarely are we ever truly blown away. We are in a rural village complete with fields, forests, gorgeous landscapes, farms, country roads and flowing rivers and the detail in everything is unbelievable from start to finish. I found myself looking down and marvelling at the mud, in awe of walking through the forest as the trees shed their leaves, mesmerized at seeing the sun shine through giant pylons casting living shadows, and, taken aback by the star filled breath-taking night time sections.
At one point, I stared over a vast landscape glimpsing the moving rotors of a windmill far away in the distance and a few hours later, I was standing under said windmill. I have never used the PS4 share button so much and never before captured such grace. Add to this the divine soundtrack score and you really are pushing the boundaries of gaming. Orchestral in parts, choral in others, composer Jessica Curry has given Rapture a soul akin to the greatest of film scores. Not only do the choral parts actually add to the story, their lyrics form part of what has just happened in the game. This is classical music at its very best.
Speaking of ‘at its very best’, the direction and actors that play out during the events are first rate. A varied collection of people inhabit the village all with their very own backstory, motive and life. You actually do get to know them all despite the limited time or dialogue given to each but they all come across as very believable and very human. It is a genuine joy to listen in on their interactions with each other as they gossip and argue, laugh and share and then eventually panic.
Shifting weather patterns, abandoned cars, bloody handkerchiefs and sparse wildlife are all used to great effect as layer upon layer that build up this amazing, yet very familiar, world. Even down to the fact that you actually walk throughout the entire game time is a testament to how it should be played and absorbed. Game time can be a good solid eight hours depending on how you want to play it. You can venture and explore every possible nook and cranny or you could just stick to the main task at hand. Personally, I wanted to explore as much as I can and I genuinely got lost in the village on more than one occasion having to double back to somewhere I was familiar with.
So, for me, this is probably one of the greatest games I have ever played. It drew me in and kept me hooked right through to the end where my own thoughts and theories differ from others who have played it out. Yes, the pace and subject matter will put people off but it is to their loss because Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is an intelligent work of art that should be applauded and encouraged.
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