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Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition

Score: 70%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Developer: [bracket]games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Three Fourths Home is an intensely personal work of interactive fiction. That alone should let you know if youíre the kind of person who would get anything from this kind of release. It isnít a game, so if youíre looking for an experience that gives you that special characteristic degree of player agency, look elsewhere. But if youíre into this kind of stuff, it might interest you.

Three colors. Black, white, and gray. Thatís all Three Fourths Home needs to accomplish its objective. Itís an experience of limited means that uses those limitations to construct something original. But even though there isnít much in the way of visual wizardry, it is this exact subtleness that makes the experience more effective. Just be sure to look closely and pay attention to your surroundings. You might be surprised.

I canít talk too much about Three Fourths Homeís sound design without coming dangerously close to spoiler territory, and since this release is 100% storytelling, Iím not about to chance it. But what you need to know is that itís much like the art style, though not as austere and pure. It puts you in the moment and keeps you there. Additionally, the soundtrack is included with the Extended Edition. I canít really speak to its significance as it relates to the story, but itís effective nonetheless.


Gameplay:

Kelly is driving home. She makes a phone call. Things escalate from there.

I canít delve too deeply into the story elements without essentially relaying the entirety of the experience, but Iíll try to deliver the broad strokes. Throughout Kellyís phone call, we get glimpses of a family on the brink of destruction in more ways than one, and we get to hear from all of the members. Through the conversation choices you make, you gain insight into these troubled characters. The writing is conversational, but all of it is positively laden with subtext, and itís a realistic depiction of realistic people dealing with real problems. It paints a shockingly frank picture of debilitation, mental illness, alienation, and nostalgia with a sense of restraint; its cohesiveness couples with its brevity to create something you probably havenít experienced Ė though in many ways, thatís a good thing.

Three Fourths Homeís gameplay revolves entirely around two actions: driving/walking and talking. The conversations that make up the story are what will command your undivided attention, though youíll always have to keep a button held down to keep moving. Thatís really all there is to say. You drive, choose responses, and read.


Difficulty:

Three Fourths Home is not a game. There is no objective, and therefore no way to fail. There is no factor that even remotely resembles difficulty or challenge.

Thereís no replay value, and that even takes into account the different response options that present themselves. You, as the player, are not allowed to project yourself onto Kelly; she is her own character, and you have very little control over her attitude and what she says. Naturally, this will inevitably create a disconnect; by the end of the experience, I simultaneously hated her and empathized with her. I absolutely understand the impossible desire to go back and do it all over again.

One thing that I will recommend (if you choose to buy Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition) is that you make a conscious effort to go for all the Achievements. One of them in particular seriously impresses me, in that it actually manages to add a new dimension to the narrative Ė and more specifically, the Extended Edition exclusive epilogue.


Game Mechanics:

You can only move in one direction: from left to right. You can adjust the radio. You can honk the horn. And you can choose from one response or a series of them to progress the conversation that constitutes the meat of the experience.

Three Fourths Home left me feeling hollow and unhappy, and thatís undoubtedly by design. If this story really does have a basis in the writerís life, I consider this short story a rather gutsy share. This is an experience that youíll only have the heart to sit through once, unless youíre some kind of emotional masochist. In the end, Three Fourths Home is an enriching experience, but not an enjoyable one.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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