Okay, so after spending a long time putting this off, I finally dove into Kentucky Route Zero... And I couldn't be happier that I did. Ugh this game is just so good! I would even argue that it's perfect. It has everything I love, and if it's not my favorite game of all time it's pretty damn close.
So here's the thing: I absolutely love my pretentious/artsy/hipster games. Vanishing of Ethan Carter? Hell yeah. The Stanley Parable? Obviously. Hotline Miami? Limbo? Grow Home? Papers, Please? Check, check, check, and check. I think you get the picture. I want games that give you this greater sense of depth, this feeling as if there is something big, something important behind what you're experiencing that you just can't quite grasp, and Kentucky Route Zero pulls that off perfectly. Does this game's story make sense? Not really, and yet in a way it still does. As you get further into the game and more deeply immersed into the world, it all starts to feel as if while you don't have all the pieces necessary to solve the puzzle you're still not too far behind, and if you pay close enough attention you'll start to make some really interesting connections and have some really awesome moments of clarity.
On top of that, Kentucky Route Zero has some of the best dialogue I've ever seen in a game. There's no voice acting so you'd better get your reading glasses but believe me, it's worth it. Not only is it insanely well written but what makes the dialogue in the game all the more incredible is how you can interact with it. For instance, you can have sudden perspective changes where suddenly you're participating in a conversation as a different person than you were before. On top of this, you often get dialogue options that essentially give you multiple ways to respond that will actually shape the past. For instance, you have a decision right at the start where a guy asks what your dog's name is. The way you respond actually determines what the dog will be called for the rest of the game, and while that may not seem too significant, I still found it to be super cool. Later on, there are some moments where these decisions do seem to be slightly more significant as well, I'm definitely not gonna spoil those though. All of this excellent writing does wonders to build this incredibly beautiful, strange world of magical realism that I've quickly fallen in love with and found myself wanting more of.
Of course, that brings me to an unfortunate point: This game will be composed of 5 acts, of which only 3 are currently out. I've looked at the history of their releases and it took about a year for Act 3 to come out and it's been almost a year since then with no Act 4 in sight. However, the amount of love and work that went into Act 3 was so evident that I have nothing but the highest hopes for Act 4, there's no doubt in my mind that it will be absolutely mind blowing. In the meantime, I'm probably gonna have to replay the first three acts once or twice because I just can't wait to dive back into this world and see what else I can find.
Happy trucking on the Zero.