The Suicide of Rachel Foster
Developer: ONE-O-ONE GAMES
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 09/09/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone
From the title of this game and the strange imagery of its accompanying photo, you can tell straight away it’s not going to be an uplifting game. When I saw The Suicide of Rachel Foster pop up on our review list and confirming its genre of thriller on the Xbox Store, I was wary. Horror games are not my thing; being the biggest wimp has me screaming bloody murder even in non-horror games, simply being chased has me throwing my controller down (remember The Rugrats: Search for Reptar? Well, I was terrified of the goose in the maze.)
But the description of this title’s narrative and mystery had me intrigued, and I thought, why not step out of my comfort zone?
Set in the 90s, the story revolves around Nicole, a young woman returning to her family’s hotel after leaving it ten years ago, since her father’s affair with teenager Rachel. Rachel was believed to have committed suicide whilst carrying his child. Now that both her parents have passed, her mother urging her in a final letter to sell the hotel, she is back and all too reminded of the past.
Clearly inspired by events in The Shining (complete with a ghastly carpet), a snowstorm leaves Nicole trapped in the hotel. However, she is not alone! Using one of the first radiotelephones, you keep in frequent contact with Irving, a FEMA agent. Despite Nicole’s apprehension, you end up discovering together the dark secrets of the hotel and what happened to Rachel.
With a first-person view, you move around the hotel interacting with objects, which ranges from finding the generator room to turn on the lights, to investigating clues. I found that being in first person made it much more immersive, and almost as if I was there myself. This increased the creepiness factor for sure!
The simple controls in The Suicide of Rachel Foster left me able to focus on my surroundings and the tasks at hand. I did feel, however, that there were almost too many objects to interact with. You could pick up and look at every bottle of cleaner in the entire hotel, which bore no relevance to the story or world-building.
Though I did like that I could search objects to make it feel as if I was there in the room; it was a little too much. I became worried I was missing out on clues to progress the story. This left me spending too much time looking at pointless things instead, wandering from room to room.
Though there was a map to look at complete with a to-do list, there were often times I didn’t know how to get to my objective. It’s probably just me, but I found the map a little confusing. There were times where the aim wasn’t entirely clear, taking me a while to figure out. I suppose this added to the investigative mystery element, however.
A Tale of Terror?
In terms of The Suicide of Rachel Foster‘s story, it did have plenty of twists and turns, slowly unravelling the mystery. It was unnerving and made me eager to discover more! To me, though, the pacing was not quite right.
It moved slowly for the majority of the game, and though the atmosphere was creepy, it was only towards the end things took a turn. Without spoilers, I think having more of these extremely shocking moments could have been littered through the story. The real horror in the climax ended too quickly, and the conclusion of the story left me confused. I’m all for open endings that make you think, but I felt more disappointed.
I think therefore it’s important to stress it’s not exactly a horror that I’ve seen some sites label it as. Instead, be prepared for more of a creepy atmosphere and narrative edge. More ideal for a wuss like me, but others may be expecting more. I only ever left properly scared towards the end when some footsteps and door slamming came into play.
Keep Your Ears Perked
I recommend playing this game with headphones, where you’re able to hear the howls of the wind outside and the creaking of the floorboards. The sound effects were great; you could hear the difference in what you were walking on, such as metal steps to wooden flooring.
Both Nicole and Irving were very well voice acted. Considering you don’t see what they look like, you have to rely on hearing the emotion in their voices. I liked hearing their conversations, going from a little flirty to annoyed with each other, to confiding in each other. This made the game seem more realistic.
The Suicide of Rachel Foster also impressed me with its visuals. The texture of the wood, for example, was spot on, and so was the lighting streaming through the windows or reflecting off objects. At a glance, it could be confused with a real-life scene, only adding to the immersion. The old architecture of the hotel emphasised the spooky atmosphere too.
Unfortunately, I encountered some issues that meant I had to restart some levels or ‘days’ from the beginning. In one level, two conversations were playing at once, which then affected my ability to complete the objective. You were meant to investigate the clues on the table in front of you, but I was unable to interact with them. After walking around the entire hotel and double-checking I definitely couldn’t look at the clues, I had to restart the game.
Another problem I had once was reconnecting my controller after it disconnected, the ‘controller disconnected’ box was stuck on the screen. I could move around, but everything was faded with the obscuring box slap in the middle, so this required another restart. My achievements have also glitched and stayed as secret ones for some reason. I looked them up, and the majority are gained simply by playing, which is disappointing. As I know the story, I don’t have a desire to replay to get these if they’re fixed.
All in all, The Suicide of Rachel Foster has done a great job with its visuals and sound to nail that feeling of being all alone in a creepy hotel! But for me, the story could have used some extra punches throughout rather than striking at the end. I was also let down a little by the ending. Of course, though, this is down to personal preference as it’s a relatively short game of around 5 hours long so I would perhaps wait until it goes on sale if you’re intrigued.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase The Suicide of Rachel Foster for Xbox at the following link: Microsoft Store.