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Narrative in gaming is possibly one of the harder hurdles to go over if you want your game to be story-focused. You want to be invested, be a part of the world, and become the main driving force behind the story. So many times we have seen the writing be unintentionally laughable, pretentious, and flat out terrible. Of course, we have seen good writing with games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and brilliant characters like Vas from Far Cry 3. The point is, writing is tough, and it seems much tougher when you are making a visual novel that puts heavy emphasis on mature themes and a focus on character interaction. This is where Three Fourths Home comes in. This is a visual novel-style game that touts a deep narrative about a young woman and her family. Does it hit a home run, or would you rather read a book for your narrative experience?
The game’s story revolves around a young woman named Kelly as she drives from her grandparent’s farm and back to her family’s house in Nebraska before a tornado hits their area. Sure, the story sounds simple, but the narration and the interaction between the characters is where this game shines. With Kelly talking to her family, you notice themes like depression, fear of change, anxiety of being a young adult, parents that constantly judge you, and so on. It’s a pretty heavy story, and I never felt like it came off as pretentious or trying to be more than it should.
Three Fourth’s Home is a visual novel with a heavy emphasis on narrative. You will be playing as Kelly driving through Nebraska’s countryside and, well, talk. The main goal of the game is to talk to your family over the phone as you drive by cornfields and other locations that are brought up in the conversations. The big appeal of the conversations is that they can go into different directions with what is apparently very popular with most games these days, narrative trees. Depending on what you choose, the backstory will be different, and even the short stories that your brother tells you will differ as well. With this new version of the game, you will also get an epilogue-style story that happens before the events of the main game, where Kelly and her mother talk over the phone while she waits for her bus. The overall game is not very long at about 45-60 minutes. The main replay value comes in the form of the different conversation choices and the brother’s short stories. Luckily, the game is not super expensive at about $6.
Graphically, Three Fourth’s Home is minimal in its approach, with about three different colors, and it executes them with flying colors. This isn’t a happy game. It’s a somber experience that really grabs the player, and you want visuals to represent that. The music is gloomy, yet enjoyable to listen to. If you can find the soundtrack to the game, I would highly recommend listening to it! The presentation does what it sets out to be. It brings you into this subdued and quiet world with nothing, but the ambient sounds and the music from your car’s radio that fills the atmosphere around you.
With all that said, I do have a few complaints. I do think this game has a lack of replay value. It’s one of those experiences you play, enjoy and think about, but don’t pick right back up. I’m sure replayability was not a main priority here, but just be prepared for that kind of experience. I also feel like the ending was somewhat underwhelming. It wasn’t bad, just too ambiguous. I can get what happened, but maybe it was just me who didn’t get the full ending.
I like Three Fourth’s Home. I think it is definitely one of the better narrative games I have played this year. I know the version I played and got a review copy of is an expanded version from a year ago, but I think it deserves your time. It’s cheap and only last 45 minutes or so. I could think of games that are not worth your time and cost a lot more, like Yasai Ninja. If you are up for a narrative gaming experience, then you should get this game!
This game gets a 7 out of 10