The first thing that stikes me about The Suicide of Rachel Foster is the atmosphere of the old hotel. The main character Nicole has arrived under legal obligation to check the condition of the building before selling it, but unfortunately for her a blizzard hits upon arrival and forces her to spend time in a place that holds bad childhood memories. Exploring the hotel Nicole recounts stories from her childhood while wishing she were anywhere else. Every creak of a rotting floorboard and rattle of a loose tile fills me with unease and a chill that seems unnatural even considering the piling snowbanks outside.
It’s not long before she is contacted by Irving, a local FEMA agent checking to make sure she’s holding up ok in the storm and the two keep in contact by phone over the duration of the game. As Nicole explores, interacts and discovers more about the hotel Irving insists on having his say on every little matter. During the early game these calls are incessant but become more meaningful later on. As the days pass trapped in the delapedated hotel, Nicole discovers that her family hitory was not as clear as she thought.
Rachel Foster was her fathers love affair, it broke her family apart and Nicole hated him for it. Rachel ended her life in guilt and despite a body being found, Nicole had discovered reports of her sighting in the hotel years later. Sharing this information with Irving she decides to investigate further, delving deeper into the hotels secrets than she had dared to even think about since leaving with her mother all those years ago. As she probes her family’s darkest hour she discovers the lies and treachery are worse than she could have imagined.
The Suicide of Rachel Foster is a good looking, well polished game with good voice acting. The general gameplay and mystery of the story kept me interested for a large quantity of the short game but unfortunately this is where the enjoyment stops.
Suicide is always a tough subject to confer in any medium and so I cannot recommend this game for everyone, not least because the way in which the game handles the topic is verging on terrible. It’s mentioned a lot in the game, often with no meaningful or constructive comment at all.
Some people may try to defend this by referring to the content warning at the start of the game, but for a game with no age rating or clear warning on it’s Steam page this seems irresponsible to properly warn someone at the last moment. The game is also quite short, meaning that characters are not given enough time to develop the intricacies of their situations. This leads to the feeling that suicide and the other mature subjects mentioned in the game are commited at a whim, devoid of thought, reasoning and without the player learning anything valuable. The final scenes of the game is symbolic of this feeling.
If the game had served as a way of teaching the player a valuable lesson or developing a better thought out story I could forgive the content. Suicide and mental health struggles are not something that should be shoved away in a box for people never to talk about. It takes a certain sense of awareness and understanding of the subject to be able to be able to handle it correclty and The Suicide of Rachel Foster misses the mark.
The Verdict – Off Target
Platforms Available – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Platform Reviewed – PC
Please see this post for more on our scoring policy. Steam review code supplied by PR.