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Home: A Unique Horror Adventure E3 Hands-On Preview – Home is Where the Horror Is (Vita)

June 23, 2014 Written by Paulmichael Contreras

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Home is finally coming to the PlayStation 4 and Vita! That’s right, Home: A Unique Horror Adventure is making its way to current-gen PlayStation systems. If you were thinking of that other Home, well, this isn’t it. What this is, however, is a different take on the horror genre of games. We got some hands-on with this stylized game, and have our impressions for you here.

If you’re not yet aware of Home‘s premise, it boils down to this: you awaken in a dark room that you are not familiar with. It quickly becomes apparent that you are not where you are supposed to be. You’re in a dank, decrepit, creaking old house, full of unwanted things and nobody but you around. Piece by piece, you unravel the mystery of where you are, what is going on, and who, or what, is the source of all the death you see around you. Did you wake up in time to save yourself and your loved ones? Or is it already too late, and you will now be witness to whatever horrible fate awaits you?

We played Home on the Vita. While the show floor was loud as usual, the headphones Sony provided worked well enough to drown out most of the noise so that the game’s sounds could come through. This is very important for any horror game, but especially for a game like Home, which relies almost exclusively on audio to keep you on your toes. While the game is presented in a morbidly colorful pixelated style, it’s not really the visuals that suck you in. It’s the sound of a door slamming shut when you walk past an area that had a door that you know you closed already. It was too loud to be anything but that door slamming. Do you go back and investigate, or continue onward, pretending like that never happened?

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I noticed in my brief playthrough that tension was built up without anything really moving or creeping in the shadows and attacking me. No, instead, this tension was built up in my own head. The story is told through short dialogues, which mainly consist of the main character thinking to himself. What he thinks usually reflects the actions that you take. It seems like he is recounting the events in a diary of some sort. For example, along the way I was given the option to pick up a knife, and at a later time I was also given the chance to take a gun. While I didn’t pick up the knife, I did choose to bring the gun along with me. The main character thought he was going crazy to bring a gun with him when he hadn’t actually seen anything too morbid yet. Later on he started complaining about the various things I had made him pick up, and he questioned just what he was going to do with it all. This gets you to relate to the character, and reminds you that you are playing as a confused, mortal, regular person, with hopes and fears just like the rest of us.

While many horror games go for the cheap scare these days like a zombie or demon suddenly jumping out at you, Home: A Unique Horror Adventure is trying to make you your own worst enemy, as the tiniest noise can make you paranoid. This is a refreshing take on the genre, and it seems to translate well to the Vita. Time will tell if the game’s short length (only an hour and a half, according to the game itself) will harm or help the game, but rest assured we’ll let you know what we think when the full game is released.