Like many in my predicament, I have made it a monthly tradition to sift through the ghastly amount of games that I’ve accumulated from various sales and odd 4am impulse buys. I do this in the hope that I’ll stumble upon some gem that I, at some point planned on playing before giving into temptation and hopping back on Witcher 3 for another couple dozen hours.
Three Fourths Home was a game that I had all but forgotten about ever having bought. It’s rare that I go into a game with no real knowledge as to what it’s about or what type of game it even is. I’m the type of person who finds it hard not to look up trailers or previews for the things I’m interested in and this can be a blessing or a curse. A blessing in the obvious sense that I generally know if the thing I’m buying looks to be any good or not and a curse in terms of the lack of surprises I get from many games now.
In the case of Three Fourths Home, I felt that the experience really benefitted from me having forgotten it existed for months. I assumed that the gameplay would be minimal and the narrative would be at the forefront but besides that I had nothing but an image of a car driving past a field to go off. It took me around ten or so minutes before I realised that I would be spending the entire game (minus the epilogue) in said car.
Gameplay consists entirely of holding down a single button to keep your vehicle moving through various striking monochrome backgrounds. At one point you get to move about on foot a bit and that’s it. That being said, for me, this wasn’t an issue. I feel as though ham-fistedly incorporating some further form of gameplay wouldn’t have worked with the story they were trying to tell so I’m glad they didn’t force it. So be warned, go in expecting anything other than a dialogue centred visual novel and you will be disappointed.
In a similar way to the excellent movie Locke, the narrative slowly unfolds through the conversations that our main character Kelly is having with her family. Tension peaks and valleys throughout as you decide upon what type of daughter you want to be and what dialogue options would best suit your desire to mend or break the already damaged relationship you have with the other members of your family. This all culminates in a fantastic epilogue that brings all of the games themes into sharp focus, few games have snuck up on me quite as effectively as this.
So many of these narrative-driven games have tried and often failed to deliver convincing dialogue. Life is Strange, despite the fact that it is absolutely charming and surprising is still somewhat infamous for it’s often cringe-inducing lines. So thankfully one of the biggest compliments that I can give this game is that I never felt the dialogue was anything but natural.
Smartly the developers Bracket Games give all of Kelly’s family recognisable flaws and instead of desperately trying to subvert your expectations of them it simply commits to its characters as genuine people without any forced contrivances or overly odd quirks as is often the case with many indie game characters. The game also boasts some very interesting extras such as Kelly’s brother’s stories or a collection of her own photography. All of this additional content helps to further our understanding of these people and so none of it feels like a tacked on afterthought.
Ultimately I’ve tried to shy away from spoiling anything because I feel that just saying it’s an interesting visual novel should be enough to give you an idea as to whether or not you would enjoy it. Whilst it may not have left me thinking as much as The Beginners Guide and I didn’t have that same urge to replay it more than twice like I did with The Stanley Parable or Journey, it still does what it does so well that I can strongly recommend it for its dialogue and smart, satisfying narrative alone.