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Gamers may get used to seeing or hearing actress Kaitlyn Dever soon. She is starring in the second season of The Last of Us though her character was teased before she was confirmed in the show. Before that, she was cast in the role of Tess Devine in the adventure game Open Roads. First revealed in 2020 with a target release date of 2021, Open Roads’ development faced some challenges. But fear not, for gamers who’ve been waiting – the wait is over! Open Roads is finally available on all major platforms. To jog your memory, here’s the original teaser trailer from back in the day.

I’ll use the official Steam page description to give a quick overview of what you can expect from Open Roads.

One fine fall day, Tess Devine and her mother, Opal, discover a cache of old notes and letters carefully stashed away in the attic of their house. Hints of deep-rooted family secrets, decades-old burglaries, a lost treasure somewhere near the Canadian border… What they uncover suggests a much darker mystery, best left well enough alone.

But that’s not going to happen.

In Open Roads, Tess and Opal embark on a road trip adventure to explore a series of long-abandoned family properties, unearthing the past. They’ll search the ruins of these places that hold buried memories, things Opal has tried for years to forget. And in this search, they’ll discover not just the truth they’ve been seeking, but each other.

Featuring star performances by Keri Russell (The Americans, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker) and Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart, Uncharted 4).

And for the gameplay features

  • Experience the story of Open Roads as 16-year-old Tess Devine, on a road trip with her mother to discover what has been left behind in evocative places forgotten to time.
  • Bask in classic road trip vibes as you chill in the car en route to your next destination, fiddling with the radio and chatting with your mom.
  • A groundbreaking art style melds detailed first-person environments with beautifully hand-animated characters, bringing the adventure to life.
  • A unique and engaging interactive dialogue system moves the narrative along, exposing character flaws, secrets, and buried truths.
Open Roads

How Does Open Roads Hold Up

While the game is available on consoles and PC, the developers haven’t made it super demanding for PC users. I played through it on Xbox Series X and it runs well. Here are the minimum PC specs listed on Steam for those interested:

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2300 | AMD FX-4350
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 460, 768 MB | AMD Radeon HD 6870, 1 GB
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 7 GB available space
Open Roads

Gameplay

The game isn’t breaking any ground with gameplay and it’s all done first person except where we have the dialogue between Tess and her mother Opal (Keri Russell). Here it switches to a more cinematic feel as if you were watching a TV conversation. Exploring the settings we find ourselves in is easy enough except sometimes turning around at a desk or picking up certain objects the game doesn’t seem to let you unless you slightly reposition first. So you can be briefly stuck by some invisible wall. Thankfully though these occurrences are rare but frustrating when they happen.

While exploration is the core mechanic, some players might find it lacking in interactivity. Examining objects can feel repetitive at times, and some items might not offer significant story clues.

Open Roads

Graphics

The game’s most striking feature is its art style. Experience the world in first-person, where environments occasionally push the boundaries of realism for the game’s requirements. The unique blend of detailed environments with a captivating cartoon character style creates a truly eye-catching experience. This unexpected combination sets the game apart and injects much-needed personality.

Audio

While the voice acting shines with strong performances from both actresses, the rest of the audio presentation falters. Sound effects are serviceable but lack impact – even the most creative sound designer can only do so much with footsteps on wood. The most significant issue lies with the soundtrack. It’s present on occasion, but the music is mixed so low it’s practically inaudible. This uneven soundscape leaves the overall audio experience wanting.pen_spark

Story

The game excels at quickly immersing you in its events. You take on the role of Tess Devine, voiced by Kaitlyn Dever. The gameplay mechanics seamlessly weave into the narrative, with more interaction leading to deeper discoveries. While conversation choices offer varied responses, they don’t appear to significantly alter the overall story. Despite this, the narrative becomes increasingly engaging as you progress.

However, the game’s brevity is a drawback. It can be completed in just a couple of hours, which feels short for a £15.99/$20.99 price tag. This might be attributed to the original development team disbanding mid-project, with the remaining members taking over.

Open Roads

To Conclude

This game is a mixed bag. It shines in some areas, but stumbles in others. As someone who was hyped for it, I was left a bit disappointed. The troubled development seems evident at times. The game has a few instances where progression feels unclear. One example is a locked drawer where the key’s location remained elusive. I searched extensively, but perhaps I missed something. While it’s not a terrible game, it doesn’t quite reach its full potential. If you’re curious, try it on Game Pass. Otherwise, waiting for a significant sale might be wise.

Open Roads

£15.99/$19.99
6.9

Gameplay

7.0/10

Graphics

8.5/10

Audio

4.0/10

Story

8.0/10

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