As gamers we’ve all played the hero countless times and defeated many enemies. We’ve gone on adventures to rescue a princess or to save a kingdom. But there’s always one nemesis that the hero has trouble defeating. No matter how many times he gets hit the enemy just laughs in our face. The enemy i’m talking about is that game we struggled to beat back in the day.
We’ve all got that game from childhood which frustrated us to the point of violence and destruction. It followed us into adulthood cruelly taunting us. That game for you may be something another person finds simple and easily beatable but for you it just mocks you with hateful derision. When someone else finds that game easily beatable, well that just makes you feel fine and dandy inside doesn’t it? No! It’s just another form of ridicule the game thrusts upon you.
There’s no escaping the mockery. Everywhere you turn you see this game. Even in the #52GameChallenge, where you thought it would be fun to partake, pokes fun at your failures. Each completed screen is another knife to the heart. Maybe now is the time to show that game you aren’t scared anymore. You won’t run at the first hint of death. You’ll stand your ground until that game is beaten.
That game for me is Fortress of Fear on the original Game Boy. Many sleepless nights were spent with this game as a child. I just couldn’t get past the third level never mind fail at the end. A while back myself and two friends were talking about the game and all three of us tried to beat it and better the others high score. Needless to say I was the only one who couldn’t defeat it. The other two completed it within a couple of days. After weeks of failed attempts the game was quickly torn from my Game Boy and sent sprawling across the room. Luckily my adult self never resorted to the head butts my Game Boy received back in the day, but I was very close on a number of occasions. I haven’t touched it since. I’m getting the itch to try again and finally get the monkey off my back.
What’s your gaming nemesis and do you have the courage to challenge it one final time?
I first heard about Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (which i’ll shorten to Rapture from here on out) from two friends discussing this new game which is set during the apocalypse and has the player exploring an English village in the 1980’s. I was instantly intrigued. I must point out that this isn’t a review, it’s just my views and experience with the game.
So I set about doing some research on this game and discovered it would be released within a week of my friends mentioning it. A week passed by and I purchased the game from the PSN store. I waited impatiently for it to install and once it completed the install I fired it up. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I paid £15.99 for this game and admittedly only played for about an hour maybe an hour and a half and couldn’t have been more annoyed. I turned my PS4 off in disgust.
The game was beautiful I admit. But I had no clue what exactly it was I was supposed to do. There was no set path to follow, something I usually prefer to have in a game. The light which floats around the village is supposed to show you the way but it felt like it was taking me away from an area I wanted to explore. The fear of missing out on part of the story also led to me ignoring the orb of light at the start. So I gave up and turned it off.
A couple of weeks later I was trying to decide what game to play and didn’t really have anything in particular I wanted to play. I decided to give Rapture another go since it cost me £15.99 and I knew myself I hadn’t really given it the time it deserved on my first play. Boy am I glad I did.
I got to grips with what I was supposed to do instantly. I explored the various areas the orb of light wanted me to and I felt I explored more that it didn’t lead me to. But even on my first complete play through I had still missed parts of the story. Now it doesn’t affect how the game plays or the ending but you do get a much deeper understanding of the characters with each play through. Once you discover the little areas you missed first time around you’ll discover more of the backstory behind each character.
I’m getting ahead of myself by talking about extra play throughs. I’m so glad I gave this game another chance. So many times if a game hasn’t clicked with me i’ll just give up and never play it again. Although that’s usually with digital only games such as Rapture. I usually persevere with a physical release. Don’t ask me why. That’s just how my weird brain works. But back to my point, without giving this game another chance I never would have experienced how much of a masterpiece it is. I loved every minute of it. I even started a new game upon my first completion. Now I knew what the game was about I could sit back, relax and discover the parts I missed first time around.
Many people argue that Rapture isn’t a game. It’s a “Walking Simulator”. There’s nothing to do blah blah blah. This game is an experience. There’s no better way to describe it. You get to know the characters. You feel for them and their plight. They live in a small village that’s rife with gossip like any real world village is (I know, I lived in a village for a large part of my life). The characters have every day problems they’re trying to deal with. Then out of nowhere an illness rampages through the village and people begin to disappear. This is what we have to piece together as the player.
It’s almost two years later and I still play the game regularly. The game can be completed in maybe 2-3 hours if you’re in a rush or have completed it before. But if you explore a bit and get every part of the story to piece together then it can take roughly 5-6 hours. I’ve got all the trophies and the platinum. I only really do that for games I love so I can get more out of them.
Another thing about the game is the soundtrack. Jessica Curry composed an absolute masterpiece for this game. Each character and their section of the game has a certain style of music, be it uplifting, tragic, heartfelt. The game wouldn’t be the same without this soundtrack. It has easily placed itself among my favorite albums. It is an emotional roller coaster that draws various emotions from the player depending on the story they’re currently exploring which at times feels like an extension of each character. Jessica Curry also won a BAFTA Games Award for Music for her amazing soundtrack and I couldn’t have been happier when her name was called out. It would have been a travesty had Jessica not walked away with the gong.
I’m not really sure how you’d categorise this post. It’s certainly not a review. More of a love letter to this masterpiece (I realise i’ve used this word quite a bit but it’s a perfect description for Rapture) which came from the minds at The Chinese Room. A studio created by Jessica Curry and her husband Dan Pinchbeck. They’ve released other games such as Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. The studio is currently hard at work on their next title So Let Us Melt and I for one can’t wait to experience their new game.
I’ve rambled on long enough, I could go on, but I will leave you with this one request, please give this game a chance. It’s not a long game by any means. Once you get to grips with it and understand what it’s about you will definitely not be disappointed. Along with the soundtrack this game has catapulted itself up to the top of my favourites list. I’ll never stop returning to the sleepy village of Yaughton. Every time I go back it feels like i’m reliving memories of old friends. What more could you ask for from a game.