The Cream of the Crap – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Time to revive an older article from the older site! Here’s a Cream of the Crap article, dedicated to those games so bad they deserve an entire post about their achievement
We entered November of 2016 and Sony graced us with its mighty benevolence and gave us Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture for “free”. Not knowing much about it, besides being a so-called “walking simulator”, I decided to download it and give it a shot, mainly for pure curiosity. The result was so sad and disappointing that I had to share my sorrows with the global population of the World Wibe Web. Rapture, you’re next.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture isn’t that kind of bad game that is actually fun to bash, like Pimp My Ride or E.T.. It is more of a severely disappointing and infuriating experience than just a broken mess. Technically wise, I cannot complain much about it: its visuals are indeed pretty good, its soundtrack is okay and the voice acting is well done (even though I have no idea of what they are talking about, given the storytelling). What really infuriates me about this game is about everything that has to do with the core principles of gaming itself.
Yes, Everybody Hates Chris is a walking simulator, like the bagillions of artsy IPs that have flooded the market over the past years. Now, let me clarify that I have nothing against walking sims in general, as there are some great examples of games from that genre that are actually truly remarkable experiences. The Stanley Parable is one of the most original and hilarious games I have ever played, a game that managed to introduce such a great level of interactivity even though all you do is walk. P.T. is another example of a game in which, in paper, wasn’t supposed to be good: all you do is walk in a circular corridor. The thing with P.T. is that the setting and tone were so well done that made the game a truly remarkable and terrifying experience. Plus, the hidden Silent Hills trailer was also a bonus feature.
So, what do you do in Everybody Rock Your Body? You walk, you watch the story unfold (with no degree of player input or interactivity whatsoever), and you have to solve the following mystery: where did all the inhabitants of a village in rural England go? Well, thanks to the developers’ genious decision, you don’t even need to play the damn thing in order to solve this mystery. Everybody’s gone to the rapture. There, the title says it. You won’t find a damn person in the whole game, because they have all gone to the rapture. Case closed, case solved, let me boot up Doom again.
You watch the five main stories unfold by walking to pre-determined locations and watching light flashes talk to you.
And here we have the three main experience-killing problems from Everybody Needs Somebody:
First of all, the walking. It is incredibly slow. Yes, I knew that before installing the game, but reading that on a gaming website doesn’t do the game justice. You walk as fast as a wheelchair-bound 97 year senile old lady, which infuriated me even more after realizing that every single piece of game-progressing plot is miles away from each other. In order to add insult to the injury, there’s also this little light “thingy” that roams around the main overworld and supposedly helps you by guiding you to the next plot point. Thing is, I don’t know if that was bad programming, artificial game time elongation, or if that was just the developers making all gamers look like complete idiots, but the damn flashy thing won’t always take you straight to where, making you walk three times as needed in order to reach the next goal. May I remind you that you walk at a pace that makes a snail look like Usain Bolt on cocaine? And yes, I know there is a sprint button, but calling that “sprinting” is somewhat insulting. That wheelchair-bound 97 year senile old lady could still catch you up.
Second of all, the storytelling. I won’t say that the story itself is that bad (it’s not very interesting as well, however), but the way the game tells it to you doesn’t help at all. It is completely non-linear. Yes, there is a main path you have to follow that will show you the main plot points, but there are also small bits and pieces of plot info scattered throughout the unnecessarily large map that need to be found that are easily missable, making the story even more confusing than it already is if you forget to find them all. Add that to the furiously slow walking pace and you’ll have one hell of a dull treasure hunting adventure. It doesn’t help as well that there aren’t fully rendered characters in the game: all you see are somewhat human-looking flashing lights that are meant to be like flashbacks of the characters interacting with each other. There are so many characters thrown at you, that the fact they are never actually shown hinders you from actually caring about anyone at all, or being able to differentiate some of them at the end of the day.
Last, but not least, I’d like to point out a few trophies in this game. Three of them, to be more precise.
First of all, you can get a silver trophy by walking in and out of a medical office ten times in a row. Already thinking it is quite stupid? It gets worse.
Secondly, you can get a god damn GOLD trophy by locking yourself inside any phone booth scattered throughout the game for three entire minutes. Find a booth, lock the door, leave your controller on the floor and go grab a drink, or go pee, I don’t know. Get a GOLD trophy by doing so.
Finally, the stupidest trophy I have ever seen in the history of gaming. Stand still for ten minutes straight without touching your controller at all. Do that, and a bronze trophy is added to your catalogue.
For a game that tries too hard to be artsy and serious, those infantile trophies don’t add anything to the gaming experience. If anything, they show that you can get rewarded by not playing the game at all. Baffling.
I can make an analogy of this game with a movies. Let’s say that there are, mainly, three types of movies out there: fun movies made simply to entertain, movies that are technical achievements in storytelling and crafting but are also incredibly entertaining to watch (The Godfather, The Departed) and pure artsy movies. Rapture is the videogame equivalent of an artsy Iranian film, something only a snobby art student can enjoy and will bash you for “not getting it”. Rapture fails as a game in the sense of entertaining its players, but also fails in the core principles of the games from its genre, also adding infantile achievements that detract players from the game’s depressing experience.
If you really want to listen to a story while walking like a zombie in rural England, grab a flight ticket to the UK, get a train to any random village in Shropshire or County Durham, grab an audiobook and put all chapters on random, and start walking around like an idiot. You can even burn a few calories while doing so, and that’s already a plus over Everybody Put Your Hands in the Air Like You Just Don’t Care in the Rapture.
By the way, if not enjoying games like this one makes me look like a gaming neanderthal, well, I’ll gladly accept this title. Come with me and let’s Walk the Dinosaur together, shall we?
Also available on PC