Everybody's Gone To The Rapture Review

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Heaven sent


There's a clear genealogy that can be traced from developer The Chinese Room's Dear Esther to this follow up. Both are exploratory adventures that almost defy the simple noun 'game', each open to derisory descriptions of simply being 'walking simulators'.

Make no mistake, walking is the chief activity in Rapture, but the slow pace of investigating the disturbingly empty rural town of Yaughton adds immeasurably to the creeping tension of the experience. Exactly what has happened is arguably less important to discover than the lives of the village's former inhabitants, and what they've left behind in their absence.

Gameplay, such as it is, is minimal. Wander the streets and fields, listening for radio broadcasts left behind by an American scientist investigating unusual phenomena. Occasionally you'll interact with an item – opening or closing doors, turning devices on or off. All very minor, and existing more to give you a slightly more tangible connection to the world. Clues to what happened with the seemingly quaint apocalypse unfurl as you reach new areas, allowing you to piece the narrative together yourself. The only real guides are balls of light that recreate the final words and interactions of the game's cast.

While it's slow, Rapture is at least relentlessly pretty. The world is soft, gentle, with dappled light filtering through the pastoral setting. It's also a very curiously British nostalgia trip. It becomes clear early on that the events take place in the mid-1980s, and everything has been modelled accordingly. Phone boxes are identical to the old BT red monoliths, right down to the steel-etched instructions, and vehicles that would have long since been relegated to the scrap heap in today's world are recreated in their prime. Like Yaughton's absent villagers, Rapture itself is a collection of things that we have left behind.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture won't appeal to everyone; indeed, many may be actively put off by the glacial pace and almost ethereal approach to progression. Invest yourself in Yaughton's mysteries though, both the mundane and supernatural, and you'll find one of the most absorbing, emotionally affecting experiences available on PS4.