Tacoma: Review

Written by: Karen Benitez

Games | Aug 14, 2017

Fullbright game review Tacoma

When I was younger, my aunt would call friends and family over to her house and we'd drive as a convoy from Anaheim, California to Las Vegas. Along the interstate, I would spot road signs to a small town.

"Maybe it's a ghost town," one my cousins said. 

I longed to explore it. I imagined walking down its dusty streets and seeing the old establishments. Maybe I'd have some sort of ocular device to witness the town's history play out. 

Many years after, I drove with my family to a distant province while holding an urn that contained my aunt's ashes.

We arrived to an old but large home. It had four rooms, a garage, and a balcony. Just across the house was a forest; or rather, the remains of a forest as urbanization crept up. 

The house itself was a ghost house; devoid of my happy childhood memories. Some of the adults died here, and with my cousins all grown-up and married, the place rarely had visitors.

In a way, that's how I can relate to Fullbright's newest game, 
Tacoma. As an investigator named Amy, you try to figure out what happened to the abandoned Tacoma space station.

Through advanced technology, you can view recorded footage of the people who lived in the space station. You listen to their chatter and learn more about their backgrounds. You can even rewind certain scenarios to relive their stories or to find a missing piece of the puzzle. 

You wander through the halls, driven with the purpose of finding out the truth. However, Tacoma is best experienced when you stop trying to figure things out and just listen to the multiple narratives spread throughout the space station. 

Tacoma is a movie for you to explore. It feels like The Martian meets Life. It becomes a little disconcerting the more you progress. These people are missing. You are reliving their final moments. It's a haunting piece of narrative.

Some of the characters' interactions will leave you puzzled, but there will always be a chance for you to open up that character's personal files to learn more about them. The game wants you to understand each of these characters and get to know them on a personal level. 

Everything good in Tacoma can be the foundation for any walking simulator. While the narrative is its strongest point, it also happens to be the weakest. Not all the narratives presented in the game really latch onto you. Sometimes you get locked into something interesting only for it to abruptly end and leave you disappointed. 

Nonetheless, Tacoma only gets more intense the longer you play it. You will witness the people's struggle in the space station and learn their eventual fate. And that's more than enough reason to keep pushing forward.

About the author: Karen Benitez

Skater, musician, carpenter, gamer. Karen is interested in culture, science fiction, and Cthulhu. She participated in MMA bouts, got her ass kicked many times, and ended up with broken bones. Life is good.

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