Storm's Gone Home Review
There's not much I can say about this game without giving everything away and ruining the experience for anyone who reads this. All I can do is attempt to justify what seems to be a highly debatable topic: The price tag. Yes, it's starting out at $20. The game's roughly three hours max if you take your time and explore, and there isn't much for replay value. There's no action, fighting, stages, complex puzzle-solving, multiplayer, experience meters...nothing. You're in a gigantic empty house the entire time. And yet...this is easily the most memorable game I've ever played.
Gone Home is an experience, an intriguing adventure that sucks you in from the moment you open the front door to your family's newly acquired, very expensive, house. The exploration, the development, the sheer volume of things you can pick up, observe, and help clue you in on why you've ended up in an empty house...time will surely fly as you investigate your surroundings. The game encourages you to look around with an interesting setting and style. Dark and stormy night in the mid '90s, the previous owner's life ending there; It pulls the player in from the get-go.
The Fullbright Company, a team derived from a group of developers who worked on BioShock 2, form a story that is well, Oscar-worthy. Yes, $20 is a lot to ask for considering the length of the game as well as it being a one-time playthrough, essentially. But the investment is far worth it if it means this company can bring out more titles as enthralling as Gone Home is. The work put in to match the setting, to pace the game in such a way that you'll not want to put it down, it's simply magnificent. [I'm aware that I'm going around in circles with my recommendation, but that's because I am afraid of giving things away.]
Some wouldn't even consider this to be a game considering there's "nothing" going on, but the curious ones, the ones who look past what the general consensus of what a game should and shouldn't have, the petty debates about what makes a game a game, will without a doubt take a liking to Gone Home. A game has many different merits to it, and Gone Home focuses on a mind-blowing story, feeding the player bits and pieces throughout their journey to uncover the truth. The brilliant voice-acting helps keep the game going, chiming in at just the right moments.
You're free to wait on a price drop, the game isn't very demanding as far as specs go on PCs, either. But I encourage those that want a different flavor of ice cream for a change, a different sandwich than the usual turkey you get on lunch break, to indulge yourself and play this game. People have been arguing the "game is/isn't art" subject for a long time now, and certainly, Gone Home can bring people to believe it is.
I'm a male in my mid-20's, and I've been gaming since I was three years old. Why am I mentioning this? Some games have taken storytelling to the next level, making us care and driving our emotions. A select few have come close in leaving me in such an emotional state. But there's a new milestone, a milestone that was reached on August 15th, 2013: The release date of Gone Home. It's managed to make my usual tin-man state into a...slightly not-so-tin-man state. And I'll leave it at that.
I gave this game a 'perfect score,' but disclaimer: It obviously doesn't mean this is a flawless, perfect envisioning of a game that everyone will enjoy. But personally, this game has resonated with me upon completing it, and it's a feeling that'll last for a long time. That's the replay value people cry about, the mark it leaves. That's what makes it deserving of a 10/10.
New York Times stated that Gone Home is the greatest video game love story ever told. And that sums up my thoughts on the game better than I could.