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Everybody's Gone to the Rapture review



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Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
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  • Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
  • Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
  • Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
  • Everybody's Gone to the Rapture


Our Score:



  • Beautiful and believable rural setting
  • Fascinating, well-acted story
  • Superb use of sound and music
  • Intriguing, non-linear storytelling


  • Limited interactivity
  • Fragmentary nature can be hard to connect with

Exclusive to PS4

It’s a very English kind of apocalypse; one that takes place without much fuss or obvious violence or screaming in a quiet Shropshire valley in the mid-1980s. There may be odd signs that not everything is right, but this is an apocalypse where the victims appear to have quietly disappeared, leaving a radio blaring in the garden, doors unlocked, a van left open on the side of the road. By taking inspiration from a very British vein of sci-fi, and most specifically the fifties novels of John Wyndham, the team at The Chinese Room have created a post-apocalyptic game unlike any other, as locked into a place and era as Kubrick’s 2001, the Quatermass movies or Tarkovsky’s films of Solaris and Stalker.

Frankly, the less you know going in, the better. The smartest thing you could do right now is purchase and download the game, play it, then come back and read the rest. In any case, we’ll keep things as spoiler-free as humanly possible because, in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, the game and the narrative are indistinguishable from each other.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture 11

That doesn’t mean that either is predictable or linear. This is a story-led game in the style of The Chinese Room’s earlier Dear Esther or Fullbright’s Gone Home, but it’s one where you put the story together piece by piece, finding snippets in mysteriously persistent phone calls and radio broadcasts, or in reconstructed scenes played out by spectres formed from glowing trails of light.

Some you can find in any order, just through wandering the Yaughton valley. Others only trigger once you’ve triggered other sequences, and here the way and order that you do things seems – and it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on here – crucial. It’s not that one player will have an entirely different experience of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture than another, but each experience will feel different and give you different information and a different slant on the story, even as each leads to the same conclusion.

See also: Best PSN Games 2015

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

There are trails you can follow through the game, and The Chinese Room has been extremely clever about how these work. Beyond following strange lights you’ll find yourself pulled in by a range of audio cues. A ringing phone or the sound of bells might pull you in the right direction. A crackling noise with hints of speech will drag you back into some scenario. It’s a game where you feel directed rather than placed on rails, and while Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture puts some limitations on your exploration, you’re still free to roam and discover to a large extent.

As with The Astronaut’s The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a lot of time and effort has gone into making Yaughton and its environs a place worth exploring. The landscape in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is every bit as beautiful as The Vanishing’s, but it’s so much more lifelike and detailed, resurrecting the sights, sounds and textures of an England that itself vanished years ago.

See also: PS4 vs PS3

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

It’s not 100 per cent authentic and there are oddities, like the fact that everyone in the area seems to have the exact same make and model of radio, but it is believable. Houses have the kind of jumbled, inelegant interiors you might associate with rural areas of the period. Even the insides of the vans and cars have the right look and feel. And while the landscape might pack a suspicious amount of scenic beauty into one area, the lush planting, all gently moving in the breeze, is right on the money. From its tranquil cottage gardens to its rocky streams and forest paths, this is a seriously beautiful game.

Of course, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture faces the same challenge so many other narrative-led games have faced: how do you give the player a sense of agency, and make them feel like they’re actually playing a game? Here The Chinese Room doesn’t take any obvious route, ignoring puzzles, hostile forces to run and hide from and even basic tasks like collecting objects or notes. Instead, what gameplay there is comes down to following the trails, interacting with a few key objects and a kind of ‘tuning in’ manoeuvre with the DualShock 4 controller when you reach some scenes. None of these activities is going to exactly challenge many players, even if it is perfectly possible to get left behind if you’re not paying attention when following a trail.

See also: PS4 vs Xbox One

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Does this matter? In a sense, it does. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture makes you an observer rather than a participant in its drama, and at times the lack of interactivity is frustrating. In fact, the lavish detail of the setting can make it more so. When there are so many things you want to touch or look at, the inability to do so is unsettling. What’s more, there are times when you’re held back by an obstacle that is anything but insurmountable or impossible to displace. Why can’t you squeeze past that garden hedge, climb over that gate or simply kick down that locked door?

And – let’s face it – if you’re the kind of gamer who labels these things ‘walking simulators’, then the paper-thin interaction here won’t change your mind.

See also: Best PS4 Games 2015

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

In another sense, though, the limited interactivity doesn’t matter, because – on some higher level – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture still functions like a game. Here it’s all about how you piece together the story, both in the landscape surrounding Yaughton and in the landscape inside your own mind. In a way, the story itself is the puzzle, and linking the events together, both geographically and temporally, becomes your real task, gathering the hints and clues and scenes that make it all make some kind of sense.

That’s difficult in a game that can be deliberately obtuse, but this is also an emotional exploration, and why the fragmented narrative makes it hard to care about all of the characters, the excellent voice acting and an absolutely amazing choral score give many sequences real impact. Like any good science fiction Everybody’s Gone is driven by ideas, but it also wants to talk about love, sacrifice, fear, loneliness and acceptance. And while it likes to keep its sci-fi subtle rather than whack you with ‘wow’ set pieces, there are some serious hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck moments here, where sound, vision and story come together to produce something amazing.

See also: Best Games 2015

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

It’s a relatively short four to five-hour game, and I’m not 100% sure that Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture always hits its targets, or that the story reaches the heights of wonder and emotion that it’s pushing for. It’s good, but if you’re looking for ‘end of Bioshock Infinite’ levels of revelation, you might not find them here. Yet I am 100% sure that it’s a fascinating game, and that there’s something in its strange, eerie, melancholy atmosphere that’s worth experiencing – and worth experiencing more than once. You will miss some things in your first play through, and the second will expose new details that transform the way you see things.

Sure, it’s neither a thriller nor a shocker, and some will find its deliberate pace boring or tell you that it’s yet another over-rated, pretentious ‘notgame’ dud. Don’t listen. If you’re in the mood for something strange, imaginative, thought-provoking and distinct, then Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a wonderfully weird piece of fiction.


Stunning production values and superb graphics and music collide in a fascinating work of interactive science fiction. Some many be put off by the lack of real interactivity and the slow pace of the gameplay, but more will find the story as interesting and resonant as the way it’s told. Is it a game? Who cares? It’s a stunning experience, whatever you want to call it.

Overall Score


Alex Walsh

August 10, 2015, 1:22 pm

Experienced it at Sony's Summer expo last month. I say experienced rather than played because I'm not entirely sure there is any gameplay in there really :/

Dead Words

August 10, 2015, 2:30 pm

I greatly enjoyed the review. I've been waiting for this review since you released the preview. It seems like a fascinating game although doesn't seem to have the exploration of games like Proteus which I loved.


August 10, 2015, 4:38 pm

Any PC version on the horizon? I'm sick of these PS4 exclusives. I want to play Last of Us but I'm not going to buy a PS4 just for a couple of games!

David Bowater

August 10, 2015, 5:28 pm

from what I've read, the guys behind the game are leaving it up to sony as to weather or not it should be release for PC.
me personally I'm kinda pissed about it. console Exclusives are ruining the industry.


August 10, 2015, 6:46 pm

This game looks stunning! Thank you for that review.


August 10, 2015, 8:21 pm

PC Beggar's Race


August 11, 2015, 10:32 am

I am looking forward to this game a lot :)


August 11, 2015, 5:09 pm

Imaginative Sedation. Interactive Anaesthesia. IGN gave this game 8.0 out of 10 even though the development team admits “the only fail state in the game is if the player doesn’t care.” Well, I'm here to say caring will only get you so far in completing the EVERYONE GONE TO THE RAPTURE experience. You will also need stimulants.

In order to get this title to the point where I would feel comfortable actually calling it a game, the developers would've been wise to offer some concrete objectives and other conventional gaming aspects. By design, EGTTR is more like a "walking sim" with an abundance of emotional baggage. It plays out more like a very, very slow paced e-novel with only minor differences in play through depending on the order that you choose to progress across the town and countryside.

In DEAR ESTHER, the Chinese Room's glitchy previous title, they offered flag collection tasks as well as other standard game play conventions like object manipulation and problem solving. Some structures like this to assist in solving the mystery of RAPTURE or a real presence of danger to the player would have added greatly.

That said, I've given 2 out of 5 stars because the environments are beautifully constructed and the story is enhanced by a haunting soundtrack.

I sincerely hope this studio is able to continue together. I feel, in spite of the troubled titles so far, it's clear to see the potential for this small crew. With a solid game idea built around their obvious skills, they could be the independent crew that gives us the next DISHONOURED or PORTAL.


August 16, 2015, 9:00 pm

I finished it last night, no stimulants needed. Overall I enjoyed it, but it's a story and an experience rather than a game. If people know that going in, as I did, then they shouldn't have a problem with it. There's plenty of room for new genres.

I felt the ending left too many loose ends though, and I don't think that's just because I missed some bits.

Dead Words

August 18, 2015, 10:51 pm

Ah...this review made me excited about the game. It really seemed quite...unique. Magical.
But this review score doesn't match the game. Why? Because it isn't what it says it is, and what it is it doesn't do well enough.
It's not the story that ruins this game, it's the game design itself. It's a stunningly beautiful game, with an amazing soundtrack...and that's all. The massively fragmented story, horrid navigation, horrendously slow walk speed, confusing map, and severe lack of interactivity drive me away from this game.
If they had just said "Explore, and find the story yourself by going through everyone's stuff, reading and observing visually and with bits of audio." I would've gone for it immediately. Gone Home proves that story driven games are possible. Gone Home is in the same genre as this game. Instead, they call themselves a game and try to tell a story, but they either restrict you to try and drive you towards a particular bit of the story or set you free among dozens of dead ends and paths that go nowhere to try and find pieces of a story that don't fit together quite well. They sell you people that aren't realistic and in a manner that throws you off. You don't become connected to people because they're awkward, inhuman, blurry blobs that don't do anything but talk.
This game should've been something completely different. It should either have not been a game at all, or just let you explore and nothing else. Release me into this beautiful, open world and truly OPEN it. Let me go into every house, and explore every drawer, and give me the personal lives of HUMANS. Let me piece the story together at my own pace and however I want it, and for human's sake let me do it faster than a sick snail if I choose to. I would much rather they have gotten rid of the orbs altogether and let me read through letters and watch recordings, hear snippets of phone calls and recorded conversations, witness evidence and events myself, all through the world itself.
Real potential in this game, but not quite there, and it's just not for me. I'm not saying you won't enjoy it, but I won't. It tries to push itself as a game about exploration, people, and a story but it isn't. It's confusing, poorly designed, inhuman, and you feel completely, utterly, and altogether unnecessary. The only thing I can say about it that's good...it's vivid, colorful, detailed, and beautiful. The sound track is lovely.


August 20, 2015, 9:38 pm

"Overall I enjoyed it, but it's a story and an experience rather than a game. If people know that going in, as I did, then they shouldn't have a problem with it. There's plenty of room for new genres"


And thank you. I posted my thoughts at several gaming websites where I felt the reviewers score was unnaturally high considering the inherent flaws. Your reception and response to it was by far the least combative and probably best reasoned.

Thanks for restoring my faith in internet commentators.

Yes, had the pre-release reviews and videos been more clear about how EGTTR would play, then I couldn't have been so upset by the $15 loss (however, had they been honest, they likely wouldn't have got the money out of me in the first place).

It's a good point about genres, also. EGTTR doesn't really fit neatly, like previous titles from Chinese Rooms. My hope early on was that it would turn out similar to a fully rendered 3D MYST (Cyan Studio) - like experience, but obviously fell short.

Did you have games or genres that you feel it fits into?


August 20, 2015, 11:50 pm

Thanks tralf. I think it's the first game of its type I've played, but I have to say the story and characters have stayed with me, my thoughts do return there sometimes, and I plan to explore more to find the bits I missed. I've already done a bit of that.

I guess it's basically an adventure game without the puzzles. A good adventure game has a good storyline and good characters; this game has those things but without the puzzles and tasks. For many that won't be enough to hold their attention but for me it was, and the great visuals helped with that.

I just wished I could ride the bicycle...

Amanda Lynn

September 15, 2016, 8:32 pm

WTF! SO BORING! I nearly threw up! This is not a game. You walk around following a light and listening to phones, radios, and images talk! No collecting things, no quests, and no fighting! Yes it is beautiful and scary real. I would not suggest this torment on anyone!

Clive Barratt

December 19, 2016, 4:12 am

Hmmm, i downloaded this on Playstation Plus the other night for PS4 - played it for 45 mins or so before realising that this 'game' looked like it was going to take literally days to complete and life is far too short. If you are looking for a video game version of BBC Radio 4's country-folk soap-opera "The Archers" (only far and away more boring and with much less suspense) then you should rush out and buy this game immediately - it sounds exactly like it!
I have to say that the environment does look absolutely amazing - almost photo-realistic - however it soon becomes clear that the PS4's processor is likely only able to render this much detail because of the stunningly, ridiculously slow pace you are allowed to move through the game - this is definitely not Battlefield 4!
I would seriously rather play an old early 1980's text based adventure game on a 32k BBC Micro than this. There is just NO adventure in it at all. None. I stopped caring very quickly about where everyone was - in fact the experience was so boring I'm not surprised everyone left for the Rapture - I'd rather be anywhere else too.

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