Top Critic Average
I was deeply disappointed to find after all my worrying and all my sacrifice that The Novelist's conclusions are suspiciously neat, too mechanical and too implausible in the family permanently cutting off one option in favour of another rather than pursuing compromise later in their lives – the destination is, sadly, not the measure of the journey. Some familial interactions ring hollow too, sound too scripted, too dramatic, too perfect. Nonetheless, it's a journey I'm glad I made.
The Novelist is the most personal and beautiful game I have ever experienced. The creator, Kent Hudson, has quite plainly poured his heart and soul into this game, and the outcome is genuinely something to behold. Never before have I felt so emotionally involved in the characters, their situation and potential future, as in this truly player-driven story.
We're simply not used to having real emotional reactions to video games. Sure, some titles are getting better at it, but for the most part that's something truly lacking in the medium.
I'd easily recommend it for anyone interested in thoughtful, emotionally-driven story — though, its focus on this is likely a detractor for many more "traditional" gamers.
It's an interesting short experiment in narrative choices, then, but perhaps I'm just missing the point because I'm single, young, childless, and will never be able to afford that house. In any case, I really hope Mr Ghost gets to flip a table over one day or spew some food just once, because he's really earned it.
The Novelist still remains an interesting experiment that you will find yourself getting caught up in. Playing as an outsider to the family gives you a significant amount of objectivity but also prevents you from ever really connecting.