Villages in Shropshire are quite quiet, apparently – but generally speaking not devoid of people completely. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture has an idyllic and beautifully imagined setting; rolling hills, country pubs, sweet cottages, winding rivers and even a windmill. Oh, and an observatory the size of a small country. The only issue, really (or maybe not, if you’re really anti-social like me) is that you’re the only one in it. Everyone has, indeed, gone to… well, somewhere.
In terms of gameplay, Rapture is as simple as it gets. Your controls consist of three buttons – the left stick to move, the right stick to control the camera and ‘X’ to interact with objects and open doors. Simple to grasp and easy to get around, the world you are to investigate is never strenuous or massively taxing – it credits you with just the right amount of intelligence without being too vague to figure out and making you feel like an idiot (looking at you, Myst).
Rapture is a touch of difference in a sea of similarity when it comes to digital releases recently.
Your movement is, however, really slow (I surmise it’s supposed to be reminiscent of walking pace, but it feels like you’re walking through mud). There is, it appears since release, a way to speed up walking by holding down R2 – however having used this a few times today it’s hard to determine a real difference in the speed, and in some instances it doesn’t increase it at all. It’s also not listed as a control in the settings menu so… it’s odd.
The story is a decent one, by any stretch of the imagination. To begin with it seems convoluted and confusing due to the way it’s presented (more on that in a bit), but the further you get into the game the more each person and their story becomes more intricately entwined, their relationships and lives more relevant. Indeed, it becomes a very emotional aspect of the game, pulling you in and toying with your feelings. The Chinese Room haven’t pulled any punches with the apocalypse here in this village - you’re constantly reminded that everyone has fallen victim here.
Adults, children, animals - nobody has been spared. Through memories you’re shown people’s last moments, all as heart wrenching as you’d expect when you’re presented with a woman cradling a baby, singing it to sleep, all too aware that as her child sleeps it will be taken by the force sweeping through the valley.
You progress through the story as you travel further into and out of the village to other areas. Each area (all easily accessible from the others) focuses on memories of one particular person and their interactions with other people. To that end, certain things will happen and some discussions will be had that simply don’t make sense; either because you have no idea who or what they’re referring to. They do, however, become clearer as you progress. Interestingly, it is possible to go right to the last ‘story’ and end without doing the rest of the game – in fact there’s actually a Trophy for doing just that.
The narrative is complemented by finding radio broadcasts and phone calls, which although entirely optional really add to the story and give more of an insight into what is happening. If there’s one criticism it’s that the ending feels a bit of an anti-climax, although to its credit very cleverly done and played out - it is bound to keep people talking and coming up with theories as to what exactly ‘it’ is and, indeed, ‘who’ you’re supposed to be playing for some time to come.
Rapture is a touch of difference in a sea of similarity when it comes to digital releases recently. With no high octane action or fast paced story it may not appeal to all potential purchasers, but by all accounts it is well worth your money and time.