Genre: Adventure     

Developer:  One-O-One Games

Publisher:    Daedalic Entertainment           

Released:  February 19, 2020              

Requirements: Minimum

 

OS: Windows 8.1 64-bit or Windows 10 64-bit

Processor: Intel Core i5 2500/AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

RAM: 8 GB Ram

Graphics: 1GB, GTX 660/AMD Radeon RX 540

Storage: 10 GB available Space

Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible sound card with latest drivers

Additional Notes:  Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system

 

 

 

 

 

By Dan Peach

 

The Suicide of Rachel Foster is a 1st person horror mystery game developed by ONE-O-ONE GAMES and published by Daedalic Entertainment. It's available for PC, but I played it on PS4.

This game would be described as a "walking simulator", similar to games like Dear Esther, Gone Home, and What Remains of Edith Finch. But, unlike those games, where you literally are just walking around, here you have a little bit more interaction and a little bit more to do. There are no puzzles per se, but you do have an objective to complete each day. You have to go here, you have to go there, do this, do that. For me it's a perfect balance between walking simulator and traditional adventure game. You won't get bogged down with tricky puzzles or inventory items, but you also won't feel like you're on rails.

So, you play Nicole Wilson. Your mother is dead. And your father just died. You have to go back to the hotel that your family owned, which you left in somewhat of a hurry 10 years prior. You gotta get it ready for sale. Jenkins the lawyer is on his way with some paper work, but he gets delayed because of the storm, and the incoming 70 million inches of snow. You have arrived just in time to become trapped there for however long it takes the Montana snows to clear. Your only friend is Irving, a FEMA agent, tasked with supplying the hotel in times of emergency. He talks to you on this new fangled device called a "cell phone". The game is set in 1993, so the cell phone is not really that new. Plus, it's one of those massive brick style phones from the 80's, so it's like "Come on, Irving, why you so excited about this phone thing, dude? Get out of the office a bit more!" Anyway I digress...

Let's talk about the story, because unfortunately, it's very very weak, and this being a walking simulator, mystery, solo exploration game, that's a bit of a problem, since that is where these games are supposed to excel. When the game starts we're given a pretty stark warning that this game deals with the issues of suicide and grooming. Great, you might think. You're prepared for a deep foray into the darkest recesses of the human mind, spirit, and whatever. But, I mean, really, aside from mentioning the reason 16 year old Rachel Foster killed herself, that's about as far as the story goes with the issues of suicide and grooming. Actually, I don't think there even is any real mention of grooming at all. There are some subtle hints...at something...maybe...but they're far too subtle to matter. And that's the problem. This games can't decide what it is. Is it is a daring and thought provoking exploration of those aforementioned dark themes, or is it a haunted hotel ghost story? It doesn't know. It can't decide. It wants to be the former, but it just doesn't get there. It wants to be an onion that is slowly peeled, revealing layer after layer of subtle characterisation and "hmmm" moments, but there's NO onion! It's an orange! It has one layer! And it isn't peeled until the end. By which point you're just kinda bored of the smell of....unpeeled orange! Why am I having a dream of a retainer stuck in the snow, as I call out to "daddy?" Why have I put up a Christmas tree? What is the significance of my dad being some kinda astro-physicist? What does Rachel's reverend father have to do with it? Why do I play hockey? Why is it important that my mom was some kinda great cook who cooked soup for the townsfolk at Christmas? Why did those ghost hunters come to the hotel? Just so I could watch their old VHS tapes? Is Rachel still here at the hotel, haunting us for some reason, or isn't she? Do I care? Well, I guess I care a bit, because I know there's more to the mystery than what I thought, otherwise there wouldn't be a game, but I'm not feeling that intrigued. I just want some of that orange! Get it peeled already, so I can know what happened! This ain't no onion!

Ok, maybe I'm being a bit harsh. I was just expecting more. If you're going to warn me about the issues you're exploring, then I have certain expectations. I expect to be taken down a certain road. I expect to get something out of this story. And I didn't. Nothing at all. And that is a shame, because as a haunted hotel mystery game...it is very very....GOOD! Omg! This is a creepy game. It looks beautiful. And the sound design is perfect. There is one section where you're using a special microphone that the ghost hunters left behind when they fled in terror. You have to follow a weird sound to its source. And...well, there are other sounds along the way. Make sure to use headphones because these sounds will make you literally turn your head as if they were right beside you. It was awesome. This was easily the best thing about the game. All throughout the game there are ominous noises. It's just enough to keep you chilled but never terrified. I don't like games that terrify me. I avoid them. Avoid them like a can of 10 year old beans from the hotel freezer. But I DO like to be chilled almost to the bone. That's what I got here. Couple that with the eerie water damaged nature of the upper floors, and YES, we have a great and creepy haunted hotel game. And THAT is what this game should have been from the start. Just come up with a suitably mysterious story about who or what is haunting the hotel, and you would have a great game. 10 out of 10 for sure. Leave the in depth exploration of the difficult issues to those who are clearly better at exploring them.

That's about it, I guess. It probably took about 5 hours to complete. I had some issues along the way. The game uses an "auto save" feature, which you need to be aware of. Basically it only saves after each "day". So if you quit before the day is done, you're starting that day again when you return. Very annoying. I have no idea why developers do this, but they do, so we just have to live with it. Luckily, the days aren't that long so it's not a huge issue. But it's something to be aware of. Also, I had some dialogue audio issues. The dialogue audio would cut out at various points, dropping out entirely at one stage. I don't know what caused this, or if it's something that affected everybody (I couldn't find out much about it), but I quit the game and restarted, and the issue went away. Just something else to be aware of.

Overall, and in conclusion, I would say play this game if you like creepy hotels. There is very much a Shining feel to it. If you HAVE been affected by the issues the game is supposedly about, I would say you should be cautious, but I think you'll be safe enough playing. Seriously, unless I missed something, these issues were not explored in any great depth. Go in at your own risk though. That's all I can really say.

 

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