I was intrigued when The Suicide of Rachel Foster was announced. I’ve really enjoy walking sim titles in the past but playing one with more of a thriller vibe really tickled my fancy. If you have played games like Firewatch and What Remains of Edith Finch then you’ll know that a walking sim needs a strong story. The game starts well but never reaches the storytelling heights that the previous two games did.
The premise for the game is simple, ten years ago, teenager Nicole and her mother left the family hotel after discovering her father Leonard’s affair with, and pregnancy of Rachel, a girl her own age who eventually committed suicide. Nicole is forced to return to hotel to fulfill her mother’s last will to sell the hotel and make amends to Rachel’s relatives. Although Nicole is hoping for hoping for a quick sell, she discovers the Timberland Hotel is shadow of its former self. The weather then plays its part and Nicole discovers she wont be going anywhere soon,
Nicole makes contact with a FEMA agent called Irving, who guides you with advice as you play. I felt like I was playing Firewatch in a hotel at first. Nicole is understandably short with him at first but as time goes on they become friendly. You’ll be given choices within the dialogue as you build your relationship with this faceless character. As time goes on Irving brings more awkward memories for Nicole and the story begins to touch on some sensitive topics. The voice acting is good, I really felt the impact of the actors work and it helped make the story believable. There were time where the conversations almost went on too long, to the point where I had reached a section but couldn’t progress until the conversation had finished.
The Timberland Hotel feels massive and even later on in the game I found myself getting lost quite easily, there is a map to help you but even that took a little getting used to. The hotel is well designed and is full of creepy corridors and rooms that tell their own story. I was constantly expecting something to happen every time I opened a new door or when I found myself discovering a new corridor. A combination of clever lighting and well composed music all added to the eerie atmosphere. I found the walking pace of Nicole a bit too slow, even with the ‘run’ button active, however that’s a just a minor niggle.
The Suicide of Rachel Foster is a game with a well written story and plenty of intrigue, the atmosphere keeps things tense and excellent voice acting.