The Suicide of Rachel Foster is published by Daedalic Entertainment, and developed by One O One Games, Reddoll Games, Centounopercento – 101% and Reddoll S.R.L. Walking sims are a category I never really knew existed in video games until this game was handed to me. I did a little research, as usually any horror game that comes in gets handed to me, and I’m not going to lie, it looked pretty good and I was excited.
The Suicide of Rachel Foster is a mystery game about a woman uncovering her past in her family’s hotel. After not seeing her father for ten years, she receives a letter from her mother explaining her dad has died. The main character, Nicole, is tasked with returning to the hotel she left behind all those years ago, getting it ready to sell and intent on leaving the family of Rachel a portion. Ten years ago, it was found out that her father had been having an affair with Rachel and gotten her pregnant.
Ten years ago, Rachel had been the same age as Nicole. Sixteen. With the memory of Rachel’s suicide freshly on her mind, Nicole wanted to sort things out as quickly as possible, but low and behold, a snow storm hits, leaving Nicole stuck at the hotel as she unravels the mystery while confronting bitter memories. Progressing through the story I felt like the game would tackle the narrative and would shed light on child abuse and predatory adult behaviour, not glorify it the way it did.
The controls are super simple, as The Suicide of Rachel Foster is a walking simulator. The analogue sticks to move/look around, while (A) is used to look at things, (B) will pick things up, and the (LT) will have you sprint. Well, it’s more like a waddle. Like a penguin. It really wasn’t much faster than walking.
The audio was top notch, particularly the voice acting, and believe me there’s a lot of talking to listen to. While the hotel is basically empty, Nicole does have one companion as such, in the form of Irving, the FEMA Agent on the other line of your old fashioned cell phone. Nicole and Irvin will make small talk, along with talking about your family’s troubling past.
Visually the game was good, giving off a bit of a “The Shining” vibe, with the only things that were missing are the creepy twins or an elevator that opens to a torrent of blood. If only that had happened in it. Exploring the hotel was the one major enjoyment I got out of the experience.
The story takes place over the span of nine days, with each day containing its own game mechanics, and unfortunately no warning as to when the day will end, and something as simple as placing a can of soup in the microwave to heat it up apparently constitutes a day. Playing through the game, I stumbled across useful items like a screwdriver or a flashlight, and I figured they’d be useful later on in the game, but I had no option to pick and found myself having to backtrack, only able to pick them up when they were actually required.
One useable item I did find particularly handy though was the microphone. You’ll use it to trace a sound that you hear in the hotel to find a clue, and it was disappointing that I only ended up using it once or twice. The trailers for the game make it out to look like there’s a person or spirit out to harm you, and while it took roughly 4-5 hours to complete the title, not one jump scare.
The only unnerving feeling I got was finding out more about the backstory, as it seems to focus more on making me sympathize with Leonard; a child abuser who took advantage of a child he tutored who suffered with depression due to her dyslexia. It literally made my stomach churn. They could have done more with the base material, like showing Rachel’s perspective of events.
I want to say it was a great experience, but all it did was make me want to get my 4-5 hours back. There are only two endings, but I only I played through once as it left a bad taste in my mouth. As I uncovered more to the story, I stopped caring about the different characters and I had no intention of doing a replay. Again, the source material would have been so much more impactful if it shed light on the horror of child abuse and predatory adults, but instead I feel it put the abuser on a bit of a pedestal, making it seem like the only bad thing he did was cheat on his wife. They really missed the mark with this one, and I really can’t see anyone really enjoying this title.
- The Hotel
- Source Material
- Waddle Run
- Glorifying Predatory Behaviour
- No Jump Scares
- No Replayability