Developer: One-O-One Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment GmbH
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Serise X, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 31/10/2021
On sale until 19/11/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
I have always been on the fence for walking simulators. Some have a wonderful atmosphere and good story. However, none have really made to sit up and note. Maybe this one will as suicide prevention is my real life passion and this about suicide.
With a game built around the heart shattering event of suicide, the developers have to be very careful and serious about how they want to portray suicide. Let’s see how they do.
The Suicide of Rachael Foster revolves around Nichole, who reluctantly has to return to her parents’ hotel The Timberland after their deaths, in the middle of a snowstorm. Nichole had left with her mum after the then 16-year-old Rachael had an affair with your dad. Nicole is there to make sure The Timberland is in good shape to sell. However, the snow storm hits and Nicole is stuck there for over a week.
While in The Timberland, Nicole will discover the dark secrets of her family along with the reason as to why Rachael took her own life. Throughout her isolation, Nicole is not alone. There is an FEMA agent on the phone. Irving is there to act as a guide.
The story starts of strong, there is plenty going on. The handling of suicide and affairs is handled well. It is not glorified or made to be something it is not. Nicole goes through the five stages of grief, remembering more and more about her childhood and Rachael. But in the last section of the game, it just gets daft and loses all the tension built up and the story falls on its face. The twists can be seen a mile away.
It was disappointing in the end.
Let’s Take A Stroll
The Timberland is a good size hotel with many places to explore, and more closed off. The building its self is the main character in this narrative. As everything revolves around the hotel and it sets the whole tone of the game. As Nicole wanders around The Timberland, there is an eerie vibe let off by the hotel that something is not right and there is a lot of negativity within the walls. This feeling lingers the more you explore, for a good portion of the game. Then, like the story, it just gets daft. Events happen that are less scary and more ‘Eh! What was that?’
Each day, Nicole will have a task to complete, for instance, finding food or turning the power back on. Together they discuss where to find food, or how to get the power on and so on. With the help of Irving. Their relationship grows as the game goes on and it feels natural, but very odd at the same time.
If you played Firewatch or Gone Home, you know what type of gameplay you are in for.
The Suicide of Rachael Foster, does in no way glorify the act of taking one’s own life. It does, however, show the amount of devastation it can have on a family, the community and the lingering effects, even after 10 years.
As Nicole, still hurt by what has happened to Racheal and also what her dad and her did. Over the course of the game, her view of Rachael shifts, but the hurt of her taking her own life still cut deep. This feeling is the drive behind what Nicole is doing to find out why and what happened.
Overall, The Suicide Of Rachael Foster handles a heavy subject matter well, but it feels as if the developers did not know how to finish the story. The story just gets daft, and it loses most if not all tension it had built up. If it was not for the ending, The Suicide Of Rachael Foster could have been great.
Unless you are a massive fan of these games, or want to see how suicide can affect people, I wouldn’t visit The Timberland.