Any creation from the minds over at The Chinese Room seems to end up becoming a highly successful game and with the combined help from the team at Santa Monica Studios Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture is no different. This eerie, post-apocalyptic mystery focuses on the deserted but idyllic fictional English village of Yaughton. As a player, you find yourself surrounded only by remnants of the townsfolk in the form of flickering, zipping balls of golden light.
Your only objective seems to be to discover where the residents of this community have gone. By following the aforementioned lights and triggering past conversations frozen in time you start to unravel the cause of what appears to be some sort of dark, otherworldly phenomenon. Your exploration through this little Shropshire town can be as in-depth or as superficial as you like. Doors to houses are propped open, allowing you to freely explore the lives of those who once lived there. Six main characters live on in the lights, their memories and last discussions just waiting for your character to unveil their secrets. However, the real genius of Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture is how unaware you are of the significance of what you’re hearing or seeing until its importance is revealed later. All the answers are right under your nose, it’s up to you to piece them together in the correct order.
Yaughton is a place of mystery. It quickly becomes apparent that whatever happened here wasn’t caused by the “influenza outbreak” the authorities are reporting. Phone calls, radio clips and lost recordings hint at events prior to the “Rapture” that raise suspicion of something bigger going on underneath the disguise of the flu. The story is beautifully written and fantastic voice acting exhibits the fear and confusion the residents felt before, during and even after the rapture itself. This talented cast and their insightful conversations unveil the emotion of Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture, with themes of grief, elation, and pure sorrow.
In terms of knitting together the complicated storyline collecting the platinum trophy will air some light on the true explanation of events. However, the developers have cleverly left the story open to the players own interpretation as they play, meaning that my view on the Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture was completely different to those I know who had played it too. This aspect is something that resulted in me pondering the secrets of Yaughton for days after I had finished playing it.
Sound design is spectacular and the game is well worthy of its BAFTA awards in Audio Achievement and Games award for Music. Like other indie games, Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture places a strong emphasis on the power of score. Teasing or emphasising the emotion of the game the music varies from choral pieces to beautifully harmonized symphonies that echo the loneliness and tragic past of Yaughton and its residents. Composer Jessica Curry perfectly captures the melody of the rapture with rich highs and mellow lows, pairing each main character with the perfect soundscape.
In a world full of dystopian and post-apocalyptic games, this is a truly original and outstanding story. Although some have had issues with the walking speed and the difficulty in locating trophies, I thought this game was a perfect ten out of ten. I found myself propelled through a wide range of emotions over my exploration of Yaughton and by the sublime ending I was completely forlorn at what I had witnessed. This game stayed with me for a long time after the final credits rolled, and even now I’m still plagued by thoughts of the Pattern and the strange occurrences that happened in this quiet English village.