The Suicide of Rachel Foster

Year: 2020

Developers: ONE-O-ONE GAMES

Website: TSORF

Genre: mistery, thriller

This review is absolutely SPOILER FREE!

The Suicide of Rachel Foster is the kind of game I use to promote in my Video Games & Art project. It’s an experiential game, an interactive narrative virtual experience. It’s not the first of this kind. It’s similar to Gone Home, Firewatch and What Remains of Edith Finch. I liked it very much, but it doesn’t add anything that previous titles have not already done. There are few exceptions, good intuitions like the mechanics of the dynamo light, the polaroid camera and the directional microphone. Btw their interactive potential is not fully exploited. More generally, ideas, situations and locations do not express all their narrative and interactive potential. It is an experience that works by subtraction, with a minimalist, rarefied approach. However it manages to keep the player nailed in front of the screen for 5 hours in a row, giving a constant and enveloping tension, continuously feeding the curiosity to go all the way. I savored the exploration of every inch of the Overlook Hotel with gusto. An immense structure, a huge and wonderful 3D architecture divinely reconstructed with convincing graphic detail and Shining-like aesthetic. The maze of dismal corridors, stairways and claustrophobic cavities will remain in my memory for a long time. Overlook Hotel is the real protagonist of the adventure! Realism of the reconstruction is remarkable and atmosphere is truly enveloping thanks to the great 3D audio. Sense of mystery and supernatural remains high throughout the entire duration of the adventure. It seems really to be inside the Overlook Hotel in the Kubrick‘s movie! Btw no horror here, just suspense and mistery. Story is good, but not outstanding, it’s a bit forced and predictable. I’m saying no more for avoiding spoilers.

The two last minutes are not adequately justified by the events that occurred previously. The ending could be adequately justified by adding additional scenes before the last two minutes. Too hasty ending, obviously a matter of short budget. Don’t forget that publisher Daedalic Entertainment is going through a period of crisis. More generally, you can feel that the experience is not rich as it deserved to be. You feel that something is lacking. E.g. adequate musical commentary in most unnerving scenes; btw I liked the soundtrack. Protagonist has no adequate reactions to disturbing events, e.g. no panting or sobbing or hysteria. There are no flashbacks, past events are remembered just in words. Furnitures and items in the hotel rooms are meaningful evidences of the past and give a deep sense of nostalgia, just like in Gone Home; however I would have liked to see people from the past to come to life like visions or ghosts in the empty rooms, e.g. in the ballroom just like in the movie Shining. I would have preferred some more effective dreams or visions for breaking the slow pace. TSORF manages great suspense, but most of times it betrays player expectations. These indie productions always make me think what they could be with triple A budget! Sigh! Will there ever be any big company funding narrative games of this kind? Sigh! Btw developers are very good at keeping tension high with few resources and transforming poverty of production into virtue. Much of the credit goes to the flawless voice acting.

The Suicide of Rachel Foster faces serious contents with great realism and depth, and even in a provoking way… but I’m not talking of this for avoiding spoilers, maybe in another article. It’s an experience aimed at mature audience, at cinema lovers, at people searching for refined pleasures far from rough and blatant mainstream entertainment, it’s like sipping a glass of good vintage red wine. Children and teens searching for challenges: to bed! 🙂 Don’t listen to mainstream critics searching for puzzles, actions, challenges or jump scares, still stuck to the ludic paradigm; they still think games have to be like amusement parks! If you liked Gone Home, Firewatch and Edith Finch, you’ll like The Suicide of Rachel Foster. Not a masterpiece, not an outstanding work, but still a very good experience not to be missed. My personal ranking: 1) Edith Finch, 2) Firewatch, 3) The Suicide of Rachel Foster, 4) Gone Home.

Rating: 80/100

3 thoughts on “The Suicide of Rachel Foster

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