In many ways, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a combination of my favorite things about videogames. The world-building speaks for itself, the narrative unfolds gracefully and simply walking through the environments invokes a sense of intrigue and delight. While these types of games may seem pretentious to some, there's undeniable charm in a piece of media that can deliver an impactful and subjective story, while at the same time remaining unobtrusive enough to render a sense of contemplation and self-imposed urgency throughout its entirety.
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a first-person adventure game developed by The Chinese Room. Players control an unknown character and explore an abandoned English village in the mid 1980's. The main goal is exploration, but floating balls of light lead you to other floating lights around the city. These stations re-play the audio from past events, giving the player insight into what happened in this town. In addition to seeking out these story-beats, players can open doors, turn on radios, and flip light switches, but these actions are all secondary to the overall experience.
Rapture is light on gameplay, yet the aesthetic and music combine in a way that truly feels unlike anything I've ever played. When the game is working, it's enough to give you goosebumps, but there are a few hiccups along the way. For a world that encourages exploration, movement speed is exceptionally slow. Holding down R2 speeds the player up a hair, but the pace is still often barely tolerable. I may have found myself curious about a path in the distance, but felt reluctant to check it out in the event that it ended up being nothing so I wouldn't have to crawl all the way back to the main path. Overall exploration was usually worth the effort, but it seems like a lot of the interiors are re-used and many of them feel just a bit too similar.
These are minor complaints however, as despite what are obvious annoyances, not once did I ever feel frustrated or uninvolved. Rapture does a great job in building a believable world around a fantastic story, and that really is the main draw here. To go into any detail about the plot would defeat the gradual sense of enlightenment that Rapture uses to pull the player along, but I will say that it involves plenty of introspective reflection juxtaposed by a heaping helping of existential philosophy. Many times throughout its five hour plot I found myself pausing just to think for a few minutes. I would think about all life, my own life, and my own preconceived notions regarding what it means to exist from any perspective. It is for these reasons that I am awarding Everybody's Gone to the Rapture an Adonis Immaculate on the Game Awry Review Scale. It's an experience that oozes with passion. At its very core it's an open love letter to being alive and appreciating the vastness of relativity. Rapture is a tremendous achievement in videogame story telling and is a must play title for anyone who appreciates the opportunity to get lost in something.