A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a downloadable story-driven first-person exploration game. There's no fighting or combat, or at least none involving the player's character. Other characters are visually represented as glowing auras composed of specks of light. One of these characters kills another with a hammer, but players only get an impression of what happens; nothing explicit is shown. Blood is present, appearing on tissues and spattered on the ground and furniture. Very strong language -- including "f--k" and "c--t" -- is peppered throughout the dialogue. Some characters reference sex but don't get into any details. The narrative covers plenty of mature ground, with serious talk of religion, scientific conviction, adult relationships, and fear of the unknown.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
The world has come to an end, and players are left to figure out what happened. That's the premise of EVERYBODY'S GONE TO THE RAPTURE, a narrative-driven first-person exploration game without any combat, item collection, or traditional video game action to speak of. Players simply explore Yaughton Valley, a small bit of English countryside encompassing a tiny village, some farms, a few rural roads, and a campground in a quest for clues as to what might have caused every single human being in the area to disappear. Quarantine notices are everywhere, as are artifacts of the sick and dying, including plenty of bloody tissues. But it soon becomes apparent that the catastrophe was something other than an epidemic. Recorded messages from a local scientist suggest that she's found something fascinating but terrifying in her studies. Plus, golden auras of light in the shapes of townspeople begin appearing at random, carrying on conversations that provide hints as to what might have happened. You can't interact with these entities or, indeed, much of the world, save to open doors and press certain buttons. The only way you can unravel the secrets of Yaughton Valley is to move, look, listen, and think.
Is it any good?
This open world is surprisingly vast, wonderfully detailed, and brimming with objects and items that help tell an impressive story. Filled with a huge array of characters -- all presented as golden balls of light floating in the air -- it paints a picture of a quiet town composed of families, a pastor, gossips, lovers, tourists, and other people whose lives are quickly torn apart when a calamity they can't comprehend befalls them. How they react and their discussions about its meaning make for compelling viewing. This is a game that doesn't often tell players what to think but instead presents events and conversations that need to be digested and interpreted. Once the credits begin to roll, no two players are likely to completely agree on what it all means.
Unfortunately, one glaring interface issue threatens to derail much of this fine work: movement speed. The player's character crawls forward at a default speed. You can speed the pace up a bit by holding down the R2 button for about five seconds, but even this barely qualifies as a light jog. Depending on the player's disposition, this slow movement speed has the potential to make exploration painfully slow -- especially when you're doubling back over previously covered territory, which happens a lot. But if you can get past this deliberately snail-like pacing, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture makes for an engaging and thought-provoking story-driven adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about substance use in media. Should all books, films, TV shows, and games whose intended audience includes children explicitly avoid showing people smoking or drinking?
Families also can discuss religious faith and scientific theory. Are the two mutually exclusive? If not, which one should trump the other in a case of conflict? Why?
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