Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: ONEOONE Games
Release Date: 02/19/2020
“Walking simulators” are something I enjoy if the story is great. This is literally the only driving factor of this genre so if your story isn’t solid neither is your game. There’s usually very little gameplay involved outside of picking up objects and wandering around an area. Rachel Foster does just this and thankfully has a decent story even if the ending becomes a little too predictable. This genre needs to have a story that makes your head spin and there are plenty of games in the past that have mastered this.
You play as a woman named Nicole who receives a call about needing to sell her family’s hotel, The Timberline, in Montana. You arrive in the garage and eventually receive instructions on an answering machine from the attorney who is assigned to sell the hotel. You then pick up a satellite phone and your only lifeline is a man named Irving who is from FEMA. Every so often he will chime in and the only characters end up being this voice and Nicole. Over time you grow to either like or hate these two characters and most of the story is unfolded through the phone conversations.
You will receive objectives on your map that tell you basically where to go and what to do. Finding out where to go in the game isn’t that hard and there are no puzzles here. It’s all story and atmosphere. The hotel is rather large with multiple floors and you will eventually explore every nook and cranny and find its secrets. The game does get scary with moments where you wander in the dark, hear strange noises, and even investigate possible ghost sightings. While it’s not a strict horror game there are elements at play here. You are alone, trapped in a winter storm, and can’t get out of this hotel.
You get three items throughout the game which are a Polaroid camera, a dynamo flashlight, and a microphone. These items are sadly useless outside of the scene they are needed in. I don’t know why all the effort went into making these items if you can’t really use them or anything. Outside of these three items, you find stuff that is related to that day. The game is broken up into nine days and each one will end after a specific scene plays out. I personally found the story was paced really well, but there were scenes that lasted quite a long time with me just standing there staring at the wall and listening to the dialog. There really isn’t any gameplay here outside of wandering around the hotel.
The story eventually picks up towards the last two days and starts heading toward a climax. The ending wound up being a little predictable and nothing heavy was dropped to give you that memorable “oh shit!” moment like the entire story was leading up to. It’s not a bad ending, just not a particularly memorable one. The visuals are fantastic though with amazing lighting effects, great textures, and lots of details to make you feel like this hotel is from the ’80s and ’90s. You can pick up and examine some objects, but in the end, this is completely useless as there’s no reason to do so and it doesn’t give any insight to the story.
Overall, Rachel Foster is a great adventure game and murder mystery albeit with a slightly disappointing ending. I loved the journey, and the game has tons of atmosphere that make it worth playing as the game is less than 4 hours long. If you don’t like walking simulators than this won’t change your mind at all, but there are also better ones out there.