Wow. It isn’t often I shed tears at a videogame, but there were a couple of moments over the amazing Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture’s seven hours of gameplay that genuinely moved me. This is a videogame like nothing I have ever played. I’m not even sure how to begin describing it.
You start on a path on the outskirts of a small Shropshire town, alone and with nothing. There are no guns, there is no HUD, you don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to. The aim here is to explore, to solve the mystery placed before you. The people of Yaughton are disappearing without a trace. The town has been placed under quarantine following a flu epidemic. But there’s more going on than most people know.
After a short wander about the town – snooping in houses, the post office, the local pub – you discover a strange glowing light. You’re soon told that this light is Jeremy. And from there, with no further handholding, you’re thrown into one of the most immersive, spectacular and haunting science fiction mysteries I’ve ever witnessed.
It is possible to finish this game in a few hours. You can walk from the start to the finish without exploring at all if you like. But by doing so you will miss out on the most beautifully detailed mosaic narrative. This game is perfect; a work of art. The photorealistic town and its surroundings are glorious and the mystery itself sublime. I don’t want to share too much of the storyline, but the title – Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture – is simply a start.
The game scared me, amused me, made me cry. More than any game I’ve played it made me want to explore every single corner, try every door, walk every path. I was completely immersed. And for a game where there is no “sprint” button, no inventory of cool items or armoury of weapons, it held my attention for hours. I began playing at 11am and have just finished it.
Sure, it’s not a long game, but it doesn’t need to be. Although it can be as long as you like, depending on how deeply you want to delve into the world. The characters – mesmerisingly voiced by a sensational cast – are wonderful. From the funny, to the cheeky, to the achingly sad, each character’s tale is subtle and revealing and well-written. I cannot fault the game on any level.
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is a game about relationships, about loss, about love and about humanity at its best and worst. Yaughton’s inhabitants are characters that will stay with me for a long, long time. Listen out in particular for Rachel, my favourite character, heartbreakingly voiced by the brilliant Aimee Ffion Edwards.
It isn’t possible for me to praise this game enough. This is what videogames are capable of. Haunting and beautiful world-building, complex storytelling and big, big ideas. No guns, no scoreboards, no objectives even! Just pure storytelling in the most immersive of worlds. Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is a masterpiece.