Open Roads Review – PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch

Open Roads Review
Open Roads is an adventure mystery-thriller video game developed by Open Roads Team and published by Annapurna Interactive.
 

Introduction

Open Roads, a narrative adventure game developed by the Open Roads Team and released by Annapurna Interactive, follows Tess, a 16-year-old who is struggling with grief and family secrets, and her mother Opal, a woman who has her own past weighing heavily on her. Although the game does a great job of capturing the realism of family dynamics and has a striking visual aesthetic, its predictable plot and lack of significant player agency leave the player feeling let down.

A Story That Hits Close to Home

The game skillfully uses nostalgia to establish a bond with its audience. Tess and Opal argue early on about reaching for a bag in the rear of the car, which reminds us of similar incidents from our own childhoods. One of Open Roads’ strengths is its capacity to evoke strong feelings in the reader, which helps to instantly relate to the characters and their challenges.

Loss, Grief, and the Strains of Family

The story revolves around Tess and Opal’s process of accepting Tess’s grandmother’s passing. Complicating issues are financial instability and the dissolution of their nuclear family. Tess personifies the complexity of adolescent mourning because she is torn between her upbeat outlook and a wellspring of suppressed feelings. These unpolished conversations are elevated by the superb voice acting of Keri Russell (Opal) and Kaitlyn Dever (Tess), which further enhances the characters’ realism.

A Dreamlike World

One notable aspect of Open Roads is their artistic approach. The game has a distinct surreal quality because it combines finely detailed 3D scenery with hand-drawn 2D figures. This contrast is especially noticeable in scenarios when players study commonplace items, such as a bulky iMac imitation, which the intricate textures give new meaning to.

Finding Solace in Solitude

The game deftly interjects moments of tranquility despite the road trip’s inherent solitude. A lone tree swing swinging in the breeze, or sunbeams dancing through dust particles—these small elements bring calmness amidst the emotional chaos.

Unearthing the Past

Tess and Opal embark on a quest to solve a multigenerational family mystery after discovering a mysterious briefcase filled with artifacts and a mysterious postcard. Players explore dusty attics and deserted summer cottages, each teeming with environmental narrative and lost riches. Using a “fine-tooth comb” to examine these artifacts turns them into a fascinating exercise that offers insights into the past and discreetly signals the passage of time.

Light on Puzzles, Heavy on Atmosphere

Open Roads puts more emphasis on emotional exploration than complex problems. The main focus of the game is to interact with objects that cause Tess to have internal monologues or talks with Opal. Although the initial discovery of these connections is satisfying, players may wish they could find more because they are rare.

A Passenger on Your Own Journey

Even though they are physically there in the car, gamers frequently experience a lack of agency compared to active participation. Even if simple behaviors like texting or switching radio stations are possible, they don’t have a big effect on the story. There was a chance for deeper involvement lost with this disassociation from Tess’s behavior.

A Rushed Resolution

The story feels hurried because of how short the game is (around 3.5 hours). Predictably, the main mystery develops, and the “safe” climax falls short of providing the desired emotional impact. Although dialogue options are initially alluring, they always result in the same predefined conclusion, which lessens the player’s sense of agency.

A Missed Opportunity

There is much potential in Open Roads’ investigation of intergenerational trauma and mental health. But these principles are conveyed through superficial discussions that aren’t deep enough to have a lasting impact. The conclusion, which feels like a “messily applied Band-Aid” over deep wounds, makes players hunger for a deeper examination of human conflicts.

Conclusion

With an amazing cast and an engrossing world, Open Roads is a charming game. Its portrayal of family interactions and nostalgic themes are undoubtedly sympathetic, but its predictable plot and lack of significant player agency keep it from realizing its full potential. Open Roads offers a pleasant, if uninteresting, road trip experience for anyone looking for something lighthearted and visually appealing. People who are hoping for a story that challenges them and a more profound emotional connection can end up disappointed.

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FAQs

Open Roads is a narrative adventure game, focused on story and character development rather than action or complex puzzles.

pen Roads focuses more on atmosphere and exploration than puzzles. There are a few light puzzles, but they’re not challenging.

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