Everybody's Gone to the Rapture - A very British apocalypse

No Spoilers

What video games can do better than any medium is establish a sense of place. By being able to move around an environment and explore it at your own whim the world feels more real. But this can also lead to immersion being broken, when invisible walls appear or the exploration is noticeably cut short. However, what Everybody's Gone to the Rapture does is create a town that feels real, and thus making the absence of people and sense of ruined beauty more tangible.

What immediately struck me when playing the game was how accurate the game portrayed a cut-off English countryside town. The place felt very recognisable to a degree that I have never felt before in a game. The way the roads bend around as if awkwardly built around the landscape, the way the doors and gates lie agape, welcoming people in. It nails the sense of community that these small villages have, which makes it even more apparent that there isn'ta community there any more. Whereas a lot of apocalyptic settings in games have the iconography of a broken world you can rarely feel the loss of humanity which this game manages to deliver.  The town itself is built in a winding way that encourages you to move forward but with a myriad of interlocking short-cuts and side-paths to further indulge yourself in the story. However, you don't get lost unless you deliberately back-track on yourself. Again, the way the villages bends round on itself helps both the player from a gameplay perspective but also highlights how closed off this place is, as if there is no escape.

As someone who has a painfully middle-class Mother I often have to put up with The Archers playing in the background. Rapture seems to play of this idea with accents of the characters coming from the same area and the fact that the plot is given to you entirely through audio. This voices are even mixed in a way which is reminiscent of radio, with the acoustics and the use of sound effects a perfect replication of how The Archers sounds. As well, many sub-plots within the over-arcing narrative having a soap-opera feel to them, hinging around affairs and problems with the local priest. This makes the game feel like the logical apocalyptic end to the middle-class anxieties portrayed through rural soaps and a parable about how close-minded attitudes eventually destroy the communities they were meant to preserve.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a brilliant and unique piece of story-telling that could only be done through games. It mixes themes of sci-fi with British angst on-par with the best episodes of Doctor Who. If you relate to the setting it's incredibly powerful, and if you don't then this game is a interesting piece of escapism of people bored of the generic apocalyptic setting.