Hold on… Can’t type—my trigger finger has a cramp from holding down R2 two hours straight…
I’m don’t know what Three Fourths Home was supposed to be, but it definitely shouldn’t have been a video game. There was nothing about this story that warranted it being played or visualized in this medium. The graphical element of a car driving through cornfields added nothing to the story, the controls and playability added no feeling or connection with the characters—if anything these components distracted from the plot and created a barrier between the “player” and what the story was trying to convey. To me, this story could have easily been a novel or perhaps a film—as a video game it was a frustrating and underwhelming experience.
So let’s break it down—all that’s on the screen is a silhouette of a car and stick-figure cornfields that you drive through during a thunderstorm. And when I say “drive”, I use the term loosely as you simply hold the gas (R2) and the car drives for you—no steering or anything fancy like braking. During this time, a phone conversation is had by an early 20 something female and her parents. The only thing of importance in the game is this conversation, so naturally to you begin to ignore the driving car, the corn, and thunderstorm and focus on reading the dialog. However, you must be driving (holding R2) in order for the conversation to continue—tape down the button, because it’s a long, uneventful ride.
I will give them this—the dialog does seem authentic. Whoever wrote the story is either from or spent a lot of time in Nebraska as they nailed the cadence of speech and expressions of the region. Beyond that, as a human interest story goes, it lacked the “interest” part. It’s a character piece with way too little connection with the characters. The protagonist, Kelly, is obnoxiously eye-roll-snotty mixed with the dissatisfied realization of a long-sigh-welcome-to-adulthood. For some reason those qualities were endearing when they came from Chloe in Life Is Strange but irritating and grating coming from Kelly. Maybe it’s because Kelly is older and should know better—or because she seems to lack compassion for her family that is dealing with serious real-life issues.
I liked Kelly’s brother the most, though even reading his “short stories” felt like a chore. I know there was symbolism and deeper meaning within these stories that gave greater insight about the family, but I wasn’t compelled to do anything more than skim them. This game fell flat on creating a connection or giving me a reason to care about what was going on.
Three Fourths Home is, apparently, one of those games where your choices are supposed to have an impact on how the story unfolds. However, I never felt like my word-choice held any stake and I’m not sure how the game could have ended differently. To be honest, I wasn’t captivated during the first time through, leaving me with little curiosity in going back and experiencing how the conversation could have turned out differently. By the end, I was wishing for a tornado to whip across the screen and put the entire family out of its misery. Maybe I played it wrong?
This “game” is an odd paradigm as it wasn’t “poorly” written and the idea isn’t straight up garbage—but as a game, it just doesn't accomplish anything. It wasn’t fun, engaging, entertaining, moving, or thought provoking—it just was…an empty cornfield of game-space. I don’t see how the developers enhanced this story through digital interaction—or how they justified their art direction and playability. That’s not to say that there isn’t something here with this story—but a video game was the wrong medium or it just wasn’t presented in the right way.
I don’t feel like I can recommend this game to anyone as there is very little to recommend. If you like having vague melancholic conversations with your mother—homerun.