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The Suicide of Rachel Foster, developed by ONE-O-ONE GAMES and published by Daedalic Entertainment, is a narrative adventure that deals with highly sensitive and controversial themes. It’s a game that isn’t meant for everyone and can be a traumatic experience for people suffering from various personal and mental issues. In the times of the pandemic, a lot of us are struggling with similar issues, so it’s probably for the best that you don’t face your troubles alone and instead, reach out to the people who care about you. It’s okay if you let this one slide.

It’s Rachel Amber All Over Again

The Suicide of Rachel Foster is set around a hauntingly life-like hotel with an often questionable and ill-equipped take on sexual abuse, depression, and mental trauma. In the game, you’re are put into the shoes of a woman named Nicole, who’s visiting a hotel to sell off her recently deceased father’s property. Right from the get-go, we learn that it has been 10 years since she and her mother separated from her father following the apparent suicide of a 16-year-old girl named Rachel Foster. We also learn about Nicole’s father, Leonard, who is a renowned astrophysicist and the stakeholder of an insanely large hotel located in Montana Hills.

A series of bizarre events follow when Nicole finds herself stranded in her father’s remote, isolated hotel due to a strong blizzard. She’s contacted by a FEMA agent named Irving, who’s keeping tabs on her so that she can survive her stay in this haunting hotel. During her stay, she comes across Rachel’s belongings and is seemingly forced to investigate her father’s toxic relationship with Rachel that forced the underage girl to kill herself. Leonard and Rachel’s abusive relationship reminded me of Rachel Amber and Thomas Jefferson from Life is Strange in more ways than I could count – which we will get to in our next section.

‘Abuse’ or ‘Affair’?

[If you are willing to go in completely blind, please skip ahead to the next section]

I feel that the writers of The Suicide of Rachel Foster and I are not on the same page as far as narrative is considered. Leonard is like Jefferson but the writers tend to be more sympathetic and neutral towards him. His relationship in which he ends up impregnating the 16-year-old is often referred to as an ‘affair’, which just feels… wrong. The writers fail to address a serious theme such as this with the care and attention it deserves. Leonard was a man of authority for Rachel, he was entrusted by Rachel’s father to help her with speech therapy (as Rachel was dyslexic and was picked on by her schoolmates) and yet he does unspeakable things to a child for which he should be held accountable on all grounds.


How can someone be excused for such actions? Why did Rachel’s family settle for compensation rather than pressing charges against such a sexual deviant? All of that is beyond me as the narrative didn’t help me get any closure. Rachel Foster and Rachel Amber share contrasting traits, yet there are uncanny similarities between them. Amber was smart yet she met a terrible fate as she made a string of wrong decisions – ultimately falling for Jefferson. Foster, on the other hand, was not just a dyslexic kid, but was mentally impaired so she didn’t make decisions for herself – it was Leonard who made them for her. Things feel even more icky and distasteful when Nicole and Irving both refer to Leonard as ‘a very special man’ and claim that his feelings for Rachel were genuine. It sickened me to my very stomach.

Without giving away any more spoilers, I have to say that the shortcomings of the game cannot be addressed without delving into them. Nicole’s interactions with Irving remain the central theme, similar to Firewatch and Gone Home. But unlike those games, this one never really finds its footing. After finishing its 3-hour long campaign that has been stretched over the events of 9 days, I couldn’t draw any meaningful conclusion from all this.

Alone in the Dark

Since TSoRF can be referred to as a ‘walking simulator’, in terms of gameplay it is quite bare-bones. The highlight of it all is its level design and life-like representation of the hotel itself. Throughout the game, you will be guided by Irving to look for supplies, interact with items, and open up new pathways. The biggest challenge of it all is exploration. There are no objective markers to guide you to the next location, so you will have to refer to the hotel’s blueprints and floorplans to find your way.

This becomes even tougher during the events of Day 3 when the electricity goes out and Nicole needs to start the backup generator in the Power Room. To navigate through pitch-dark hallways, all she gets is a polaroid camera and a dynamo torch. The camera takes 3 seconds to recharge only to fire up a flash that lasts less than a second. Things got even more tedious when I found myself going in circles. Thankfully, I did find the dynamo-torch later on, even though I had to keep pressing R2 at all times to make sure it was lit.

The Hotel and its Crawlspaces

TSoRF has magnificent level design when it comes to the hotel and the effective use of its crawlspaces. Everything is connected to everything else, allowing for seamless traversal. The crawlspaces are difficult to find, but when you do find them, they act as meaningful shortcuts. Not only is it impressive how useful these crawl spaces are when it comes to traversal, they really make you feel claustrophobic as well, which complements the narrative well. Plus, there are lots of secret locations and rooms available for you to discover and explore. The basement, the ballroom, the master suite, the staff-quarters… there’s an impeccable amount of detail put into them all. Since there are no HUD elements in the game, the life-like level design and unobstructed field of view offer one of the most immersive experiences to date for a narrative adventure.

The experience at hand is similar to titles like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture if we take the supernatural elements out of those games. However, this may be heavily overshadowed by the game’s highly underwhelming and disturbing plot.

Lively Visuals Complimented by Ambient Sound Effects 

In terms of visual fidelity, TSoRF does not disappoint on the PS4. It is brimming with subtle little details – thanks to the impressive light, shadow, and reflection effects. There’s a good amount of global Illumination present during the daylight hours and the night times are nothing short of a horror movie – thanks to the state of the art surround sound effects. Whether its creaking doors, dripping pipes, or slight hitches, you can feel all of it. I strongly recommend using a set of earphones or a headset while playing for the full immersion.

During my playthrough, I constantly felt like Nicole was being watched and that feeling never really went away. For a non-horror adventure, it sure doesn’t pull any punches.

The only thing that is underwhelming when it comes to the visuals is the texture quality at a few places and the mediocre draw distance. While exploring the hallways, I could barely see what’s what at the end. Plus. at times, there are resolution drops at the distance and it also affects the mesh quality. But all that is seemingly okay as it holds a stable 30 fps at all times.

Real Talk

The Suicide of Rachel Foster does try to take on strong themes but fails to execute them in a respectful manner. The end game here remains inconclusive no matter how you try to justify it. For a walking simulator, it does most of the gameplay side of things right thanks to the outstanding level design and sound design. Sadly, the disturbing narrative leaves much to be desired.

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