Top Critic Average
Despite my sense that this chapter is not quite the equal of those before it, it is entirely unmissable if you have played those, still as beautiful and unpredictable and as forlornly romantic as ever, and this time it shows me at least two places I wish I could go and live in forever. And though some water may be overtly trodden this time, be in no doubt that things are moving towards a conclusion.
Route Zero: Act 4 constantly alternates between serene and unsettling, with the occasional dash of humor thrown in. The comic visual and dialogue nods help immensely, keeping the dense, introspective writing from simply becoming too much navel gazing. And Route Zero certainly seems to understand this about itself, poking cleverly at its own art-film aesthetic from within while still unapologetically engaging topics like spiritual exhaustion, death, orphanage, and existential angst. The balance works.
From the room of VHS tapes, to the security footage, to the bat sanctuary, to the theremin performance, to the camera’s final, extended retreat up the rickety helix of a spiral staircase; Act IV confronts us with scenarios that test and limit our perception.