Hypothetically, do you ever wonder what questions and memories would plague your thoughts if your life was hanging in the balance? Choices you’d regret having made, particular things you’d loathe yourself for having done, circumstances you’d have steered clear of a second time around? Well, George Batchelor – the mastermind behind Far From Noise casts you head-first into said hypothetical situation, in a simplistic yet shrewd visual-novel title that will have you contemplating well…just about everything.
Far From Noise depicts the story of an unnamed protagonist who has lost control of their car and subsequently found themselves teetering over the edge of a treacherous cliff-face overlooking a vast ocean. You take on the role of the person in the car, choosing from a range of differing dialogue options to in order to progress. Not long after the story is set in motion, a deer emerges on-screen and much to your surprise, responds to your cries for help. As the pair become acquainted, they mull-over their lives, it’s meaning and the beauty in what’s around us. Although at first this may seem like a completely bizarre premise for a game, you warm to it almost immediately as it becomes clear it’s not the aspect of the title you should be hung up on.
If you’re seeking an intense, fast-paced action title, than it’s advised you overlook Far From Noise and it’s more serene ambience. The game centres on a single view of a breathtaking vista, invoking a very clever sense of irony as this tranquil setting sets the scene for our protagonist who’s on the brink of death. At times the camera will pan out as the dialogue incurs numerous twists and turns, allowing you to a more expansive view of the game’s elegant setting which is rendered in a modest art style. This simplistic approach to the game’s visuals complements the peaceful and natural aura of the game whilst ensuring it’s focus remains firmly on the dialogue between the two characters.
As mentioned prior, Far From Noise is driven by it’s dialogue and the path you choose to take it down. It steers the course of the game as different choices present you with different outcomes. You can choose to be an optimist and embrace being on the cusp of death. Equally you can decide to wallow in self-pity and bat away the stag’s every attempt to open your eyes to the purity and splendour of the nature that surrounds you. The variety of outcomes to the different branches you can guide the story down are subtle, making only minor, but pleasant alterations. I was blissfully unaware first time around that my dialogue options would change what woodland creatures came to hassle the vehicle that rocked to and fro on the verge of demise. A second playthrough is most definitely recommended if you care to explore each different route the dialogue can venture down.
The game is wholly reliant on it’s dialogue and does well to incorporate quick-wit and humour as to establish some means of drive for the story. Conversation between the protagonist and their unlikely companion is dry and sarcastic as much as it is deep and insightful. Admittedly at times I found myself chuckling away at some of the dialogue options that cropped up. Furthermore, in the two characters possessing practically polar opposite outlooks on life, their chats become increasingly intriguing throughout as you ponder both sides of the coin.
Far From Noise works hard to emphasise the beauty of nature and does well to accomplish this. Although the game focuses on single scene, your surroundings transform around you as you plough through the narrative. It’s ingenious how the developers force you to concentrate so hard on the conversing characters that it’s difficult to notice the the sun gradually setting as the day slips into night time in the background. Not only does Far From Noise feature this brief day/night cycle but the weather also takes several turns throughout the duration of the game. This not only exaggerates the emphasis on how divine nature can be but also adds a level of unpredictability to the tale itself. It’s hard not to grow concerned with the fate of our unnamed protagonist as coastal winds toy with the vehicle’s stability or as a freak rainstorm hammers mercilessly on the bonnet of the car.
Although only a game shy of two hours worth of play-time, Far From Noise doesn’t make for any less of a truly poignant experience. On the surface the game is graphically alluring, featuring a sombre soundtrack that plays as you steer the game’s story down a route of your choosing. However, at the heart of the game are some powerful messages, rife with meaning that a great deal, if not all players will be able to relate to. Quick-wit adds pace to the to the narrative and makes certain that it doesn’t feature a dull moment. If you are willing to see past Far From Noise’s peculiar premise, you are in for a treat that will linger with you for some time.
**A code was kindly provided by the developers for review purposes**