The Suicide of Rachel Foster is a mystery-thriller game developed by ONE-O-ONE GAMES and published by Daedalic Entertainment. It is available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch. For the purposes of this review I was playing on the PlayStation 4.
The Suicide of Rachel Foster comes with a Mature Content Warning. During the loading screen you are presented with this warning stating that the game contains sensitive subjects relating to grooming and suicide. It goes on to say that if you feel you may be a victim or that you have any similar issues, to refrain from playing the game without supervision, and to reach out to a friend or to contact a local support helpline.
Set in the early 1990s, you play the game as Nicole, who following your father Leonard's affair with a teenage girl, left the family hotel, The Timberline in Montana, with your mother Claire. Shortly after the departure, the teenager, Rachel Foster initially goes missing, then is found with a suicide note after taking her own life. It also transpires that at the time of her death, Rachel was pregnant. We are now 10 years on after those events, and with the family estate now left to you after both of your parents passed, you have to go back to the hotel to finalise everything for the sale of the property, and basically to just to check over that all is in order to complete the sale. However, once you get there a snowstorm rolls in and with the hotel being very remote and cut off, you have no option but to wait it out. Soon after arriving though, you discover there is a cell phone with a direct line to the local FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) agent, who is on call and there to offer any advice and assistance to you throughout the storm, while you are isolated at the hotel.
The Suicide of Rachel Foster is played in first person mode and as the narrative unfolds, there are some on-screen choices for you with your replies, so there is that added interactive element here. There is a lot of walking around, so yes this is a walking simulator, but the visuals are great, there is a lot of detail that has been put into the visuals here, the sound effects are probably more suited to headphones, and you will benefit more from the game by having the sound through your headset. Storywise, there is not a lot that I can say without involving some spoilers, so that is best left to your own playthrough. I think that my playthrough was round about the 4 hour mark, so you can take your time and allow yourself some exploration while you play through the game.
I did want to mention the first thing I noticed about the hotel, other than the fact that it is actually massive - it's spread over three levels with some outer buildings - is that there are quite a few little nods to The Overlook Hotel from The Shining. From the snow covered remote setting, to the pattern on the carpets, and there is even a little overlook section located on the first floor. There is an overall general look and feel here which reminded me so much of The Shining, and this was a very big plus! The game is very atmospheric, and there is a great sense of unnerving isolation as you wander alone around the floors and rooms of The Timberline Hotel with the wind blowing outside and the white landscape as far as the eye can see.
The controls are fairly easy to get to grips with, and you also get a map which can be called up and zoomed in on, with detailed floor plans covering the entire hotel. Icons will appear on items that can be interacted with, for viewing or picking up. You can walk or run, but there is no jump option. As mentioned, the sound design is where this game excels, with all those little creaking floorboards, or thumping wooden panels, and the wind howling and blowing outsite. Definitely make sure you play this game with your headphones on.
To sum up, The Suicide of Rachel Foster is an above average walking simulator, with some mystery and horror elements thrown in to the mix. The subject matter of the storyline is of a sensitive and very mature nature, which may be off-putting for some, and maybe even offensive to others, and there is a warning at the start of the game on the loading screen detailing this. That aside, there is a decent little mystery-thiller to be found here, and although quite a short playthrough, it is an enjoyable one for the most part. g1a5w3g1an's Rating: 4 out of 5.
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