Where Has Everybody Gone? Rapture?

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is the spiritual successor to Dear Esther, released in 2012.  It’s an open world adventure game, set in the town of Shropshire, UK.

The town is completely deserted and it’s your job to make your way through the town to understand why all of the townsfolk have gone missing.

As you start you journey, you’ll notice how detailed and polished the environments are.  If I were to compare this to a similar game, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the detail isn’t as great as that game but this is a far bigger environment to explore.  That being said, the detail is such that it can create some amazing vistas.
There are small details in the environments that draw you into the story.  For example, when I walked into a pub and the cigarettes were still smouldering in the ashtrays, like I’d only just missed everyone.

As with many games of this nature, you’re not given any hints along the way, so you’re never really sure what direction you should be travelling in.  However, what makes this game quite different is that you’ll be guided by a ball of light.  Not only does this show you areas to explore, but it’s also able to recreate conversations that the people of Shropshire had moments before their disappearance.  There’s many conversations to be found within the town and although the ball of light will guide you to the important ones, it’s up to you to seek out all of the others.  The more conversations you can find, the greater your understanding of the disappearance will be.

The game is divided into 6 chapters and each chapter is about a certain town member.  As you walk through this deserted town and listen to the various conversations, you’ll gradually learn more about that person and their connectivity to other members of the town.
I was actually surprised that, although these are snippets of conversations from beams of light, they still made me care about the characters and I wanted to find more about their lives.  This is because the conversations give an air of believability to the story and both the script and voice acting are very good.

As you make your way through the town, you’ll discover radios dotted around the place.  These are transmissions from one of the townsfolk, Kate, who works at the observatory.  She gives you a greater insight into this mystery with the more radios that you find.

The pacing of this game is quite slow and I’m not referring to the game itself, but the character that you control.  It can be quite painful at times.  There is a run button that the developers included at the last minute, so they never had a chance to include this in the control settings.  However, I couldn’t really describe this as a run button but more a ‘walk a tiny bit faster than what you already were’ button.  And this button doesn’t seem to work when you’re exploring the many buildings either.

The game mechanics are very sparse.  There are only a couple of buttons you use through-out the entire game.  There are also no puzzles for you to solve either, so you’re basically just along for the ride.  You walk from conversation to conversation, attempting to piece together the mystery and to get to know more about the people that have disappeared.  Whereas there’s nothing wrong with the exclusion of puzzle solving, it didn’t make me feel part of the game but more of a spectator.  No matter what I did, the outcome would remain the same.

Towards the end of the game, I did experience what appeared to be a small glitch.  The ball of light seemed to be stuck in the bushes and didn’t move.  With no guidance, I walked around the town for some time, wondering where I needed to go or if I there were any conversations I needed to trigger for the ball to move.  After a while though, I reset the game.  When it booted up again, the ball of light seemed to come to life.  Whether this was just a glitch, I’m not sure but it was a little frustrating.

The music that accompanies the game is performed by the London orchestra and choir and it compliments it beautifully.  From the moment you access the main menu of the game, the music sets the tone.  It changes from the singular choir voices to the booming orchestral scores and this is constant throughout your journey.

The length of the game isn’t that long, I finished it in one afternoon but I think that was enough to leave a lasting impression.  This is a story told well and anything longer than 5-6 hours would have overstayed it’s welcome.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is an intriguing story, with some beautiful scenery and music to match.  Although you’re just along for a short ride, it’s an enjoyable one.