It has been over a week since I finished Tacoma and I am surprised at how disappointed I still feel. I hadn’t really seen any footage of Tacoma since its initial reveal so I wasn’t really going in with high expectations. While trying to figure out why I’m as disappointed I surprisingly kept going back to my time with Gone Home. I say surprisingly because while I liked Gone Home it wasn’t one of my favorites games ever, and the stories and 90s nostalgia didn’t connect with me like it did others, but I really enjoyed the process of discovering the stories in Gone Home and I think that is where Tacoma lost me.
Starting with the setup in Gone Home the main character is trying to figure out why happened to her family and the ominous letter on the front from her sister does an effective job of making you want to explore and connecting you to people who lived there. While exploring the house is mostly a guided experience to discovery the right information at the right time, it’s still open enough to feel like you aren’t just doing the same thing over and over again. Tacoma loses that.
At the start, you are presented as a contractor sent to recover AI Data in three different areas and the process to do that is the same every time (go to area put data collector in wall, then explore the room on the left or the room on the right while data is collected). This repetitive process makes the game feel like you are killing time watching videos while waiting for work files to download. The linearity of the space station mixed with having most of the interesting information always be on the characters AR bodies made the exploration part of Tacoma feel tedious and boring.
I should also mention that I didn’t really find any of the characters in Tacoma all that interesting, outside of maybe Sareh and Odin who kind of felt like the only characters who had arcs or at least had the most complete ones. The rest had moments, and everyone was well acted, but the story was over before I could really feel invested in them as characters.
*side note I never believed either game would end with discovering dead bodies, but I was surprised at the amount of people who thought Sam committed suicide in the attic.
*another side note Having a shout out to Roberta Williams was cool, but also felt off like naming a character Bill Gates or Steve Jobs would.
Anyway, sorry that this has become a rambling mess, but I haven’t seen much discussion about Tacoma and wanted to see other opinions of the game.