Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition review – Black, white, and read all over

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Two questions crossed my mind before playing Three Fourths Home:

1. What does that title mean?
2. What kind of game is it?

Upon booting it up, one of my two questions were answered: Three Fourths Home is a visual novel, a genre I wasn’t too familiar with. They’re basically story-based games like Heavy Rain or The Wolf Among Us but rely very little on motion graphics and mainly feature 2D still images. Now that I’ve finished my brief lecture on visual novels, let’s talk about how well Three Fourths Home fits into this genre.

On Xbox One, the whole game (other than the epilogue) requires holding the right trigger the entire time to mimic the idea of driving since that’s what our protagonist is doing the entire time. If you let go of the trigger, it pauses the game. While this doesn’t take away too much from the experience, it doesn’t add anything either so I kind of wish they didn’t add it.

The story centers around Kelly, a 24-year-old woman who’s been forced to move back with her family in Nebraska. The game starts up with her parked by her late grandparents’ house just sitting there. As she begins to drive home during a storm, her mother calls her and what ensues is a 30-40 minute phone conversation between Kelly and her family all facing their own struggles. Her father has lost one of his legs making it harder for him to support his wife and autistic son Ben. Don’t expect to finish this game and feel happy, because you won’t be. It’s incredibly depressing and the dull color palette along with the music on the radio only adds to the effect; some people are a fan of dispiriting stories like these, I’m not one of those people. The epilogue exclusive to the Extended Edition somehow manages to be more depressing than the main story, which is a pretty big accomplishment if you think about it.

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The thing about Ben is that while he is socially handicapped, he has incredible talent when it comes to writing. His stories are featured in the extras menu, along with Kelly’s photography portfolio, and he shares one of them in the story. I checked to see if the different dialogue options affect what story he tells, but after looking at various playthroughs that doesn’t seem to be the case. This is why I appreciate the Extended Edition, the additions feel more like necessities and I imagine if I played the standard edition instead of this one, I would be majorly disappointed. Ben’s collection of stories are interesting to say the least, one of them is titled “Three Fourths Home” and it’s tough to find the connection between that story and the main one in the game. Either something is wrong here or I’m just not smart enough to figure out the connection.

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Final Reaction

I’m conflicted on my feelings towards Three Fourths Home. It could be that I’m just not a huge fan of visual novels, but I didn’t find it nearly as amazing as other people make it out to be. It has an interesting concept, a well-written dreary story, and compelling presentation, but it just didn’t click with me. If you’re a fan of visual novels, this might be worth checking out since it only costs $5, but it’s tough for me to recommend it to anyone.

Rating: 3/5 Atoms

NR 3 Atoms - C

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