Why everyone should play To The Moon

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Posted by -INKling- (4237 posts) -

To The Moon has the best story in any video game I have ever played. However, in order for you to experience it I can’t tell you anything about it which makes this a bit of a tough sell but I will give it a shot. The premise is fairly simple, in the future a technology has been developed to change a person's memories in a setup similar to Total Recall. The procedure is then administered to patients with only days to live so that they can die happily, knowing that all their dreams were fulfilled. To The Moon follows two scientists who are called to grant the wishes of a dying patient named Johnny whose desire is to go to the moon although he is not sure why.

This is where I stop.

The rest is an exploration through one man’s life that is moving and personal. The game falters with the occasional goofy joke and will be classed as slushy sentimentality by some of us hardcore stone-hearted gamers but at it’s core it is a fantastic piece of intimate storytelling. If it were a book it would sit alongside Never Let Me Go and The Time-Travellers Wife as the kind of novel that takes a sci-fi staple and adds a deeply touching human element to it. This is a videogame that could work as a play. Seriously.

Is it really a game? Well I am pretty bored by that question but it’s worth mentioning that the game contains very little actual gameplay. For the most part you are moving characters between scenes with the odd treasure hunt or mini-game to break up the conversations that you are reading. Personally I quite enjoyed these brief interludes and apart from one slight exception towards the end of the game they are never intrusive or difficult - gone before you know it with you put right back in the story.

In the end your enjoyment of To The Moon will be irrelevant of whether you enjoy games and more about whether you enjoy story. Although the developer Freebird games have stated that the game can be completed at around the 5 hour mark I found that as a fast reader I finished the game in just over 3 1/2 hours. For $9.99 this seems steep in game terms but we have all been coloured by the free-to-play model and this is cheaper than a cinema ticket or a new paperback. What I am saying is go and buy it (wait for that inevitable Steam sale if you must). If you are not moved by the end of this amazing tale then you are clinically dead - seek medical help.

#1 Posted by zanelli (860 posts) -

I replayed again it last week. That one bit always gets me.

#2 Edited by Cwagmire21 (5896 posts) -

Bought it a month or so back for $2.50. Haven't played it yet, but I may move it up in the list in my backlog for it being this good (and short).

#3 Edited by kozzy1234 (35312 posts) -

Loved the game to, got a copy of it when it came out to review and boy was it a wonderful surprise.

Def one of my fav stories, not sure if I woudl say best ever in a game, but def one of my favs! Was a sad game to, cant wait for the new one!

Below is the review I did for it when it came out if you care to check:

http://thickonline.com/reviews/video_games/index.php?&content_id=5829

#4 Posted by IxX3xil3d0n3XxI (1508 posts) -

I played it about a month ago. Omg the feels. Made me tear up a bit at the end.

#5 Posted by Cwagmire21 (5896 posts) -

Just played through it in one sitting. Man, a game hasn't made me feel anything like that in a long time. Great game!

#6 Posted by DarkblueNinja (970 posts) -

I hate to play this kind of game on PC because it look like the old Final Fantasy Style game. If this game get to PS Vita then I'll buy it for sure but right now I'll just wait. On the other hand I like game with good story and its not too long. 3-5 hours is perfect for me if the story is good. maybe I'll try it out someday.

Btw anyone know when there is Steam Winter Sale?

#7 Edited by AmazonTreeBoa (16745 posts) -

I already own the game, just haven't played it yet.

EDIT: Okay after reading this thread and seeing how short the game is, I have moved it up to being the next game I play once I finish The Cave.

#8 Edited by nutcrackr (12805 posts) -

Good story, certainly emotional towards the end. The gameplay is quite terrible though, thankfully there isn't too much of it.

#9 Posted by CoolSkAGuy (9665 posts) -

I beat it. I thought it was alright.

#10 Edited by Lucianu (9538 posts) -

@ Thread starter, i highly recommend you play Planescape: Torment and The Longest Journey. It will blow you away, because they are leagues above any other video game story.

@nutcrackr said:

Good story, certainly emotional towards the end. The gameplay is quite terrible though, thankfully there isn't too much of it.

I wouldn't call the gameplay terrible at all. It's passable, it didn't hinder my enjoyment. It's just that it's incredibly simplistic compared to other legendary adventure games such as the likes of The Longest Journey.

The pace is perfect and it doesn't overstay its welcome, the game is short and can be finished in one playthrough with ease. It's a great story, though the quality of the writting is mediocre at best. Definitely worth playing for 10 bucks.

#11 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (17142 posts) -

@ -INKling- "Well I am pretty bored by that

question but it’s worth mentioning that the game

contains very little actual gameplay." By gameplay do you mean conventional gameplay or interaction in general, Because I played Beyond and although it had little gameplay in the traditional sense it was still fully interactive. So the real answer I wana know is will the player be doing more reading/watching than actually playing ? If so then To The Moon aint worth it.......as a video game. Rather get Fahrenheit, thats on PC right ?

#12 Edited by JigglyWiggly_ (23764 posts) -

should just be a movie because the gameplay is boring

#13 Posted by -INKling- (4237 posts) -
@Lucianu said:

@ Thread starter, i highly recommend you play Planescape: Torment and The Longest Journey. It will blow you away, because they are leagues above any other video game story.

Thanks for the recommendations. I have ummed and ahhed about The Longest Journey for ages. I should just go for it.

#14 Posted by -INKling- (4237 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:
By gameplay do you mean conventional gameplay or interaction in general, Because I played Beyond and although it had little gameplay in the traditional sense it was still fully interactive. So the real answer I wana know is will the player be doing more reading/watching than actually playing ?

Yes, you will be doing more reading than anything else. Think of reading in To The Moon being as being like cutscenes in MGS!

#15 Edited by Lucianu (9538 posts) -

@-INKling- said:
@Lucianu said:

@ Thread starter, i highly recommend you play Planescape: Torment and The Longest Journey. It will blow you away, because they are leagues above any other video game story.

Thanks for the recommendations. I have ummed and ahhed about The Longest Journey for ages. I should just go for it.

Definitely. If you liked To The Moon, you are going to love The Longest Journey. Better gameplay, better production values (everything is voice acting, iirc) and one of the best stories ever told.

Though i recommend you start with Planescape: Torment first, and play that like an adventure game. That's how the game is best enjoyed, in my opinion, because the combat is quite simplistic. Put the difficulty on the easiest settings (it only affects the combat) and pour most of your points into Intelligence and Charisma. 9 times out of 10 you can avoid combat alltogether.

The fantastic soundtrack, the beautiful hand painted visuals, the puzzles (both environmental and dialogue) combined with the quality writting of the plot and amazing characters all create an incredible experience that has no modern equivalent.

Though you will be spoiled. No character or story in a video game will ever impress you once you experience this game.

#16 Posted by kozzy1234 (35312 posts) -

Some other stories I like in games:

- Neverwinter Nights2: Mask Of The Betrayer- Planscape Torment

- KOTOR2

- The Walking Dead (telltale)

- The Longest Journey

- The Wolf Among Us

- The Last Of Us

- Mafia

- Witcher 1-2

- Half Life 2

- Fallout New Vegas

- Grim Fandango

- Vampire: The Masquerade

- Max Payne 1-2

- Heavy Rain

- Baldurs Gate series (Underrated stories imo)

- Golden Sun

- Red Dead Redemption

- Lost Odyssey

- Fallout 2

- System Shock 2

Some of my favorite storie over the years!

#17 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (17142 posts) -

@ -INKling-

that Doesn't exactly inspire alot of confidence. :(

#18 Edited by Brendissimo35 (1930 posts) -

@-INKling- said:
This is a videogame that could work as a play. Seriously.

Is it really a game? Well I am pretty bored by that question but it’s worth mentioning that the game contains very little actual gameplay. For the most part you are moving characters between scenes with the odd treasure hunt or mini-game to break up the conversations that you are reading. Personally I quite enjoyed these brief interludes and apart from one slight exception towards the end of the game they are never intrusive or difficult - gone before you know it with you put right back in the story.

The problem is that it would work far better as a film or a play or a novel than as a game. The fact that it has been created as a game actively impairs the narrative (especially the retro presentation), and while you may have found the gameplay to be a nice change of pace, I personally found it to be jarring and often tone-deaf, or simply boring.

I think the lesson of To the Moon is that just because it can be made as a video game doesn't mean that it should be.

#19 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (17142 posts) -

@ Brendissimo35 "I think the lesson of To the Moon is that just

because it can be made as a video game doesn't

mean that it should be."

Hell Yeah ! I'l drink to that !

#20 Posted by -INKling- (4237 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@ Brendissimo35 "I think the lesson of To the Moon is that just

because it can be made as a video game doesn't

mean that it should be."

Hell Yeah ! I'l drink to that !

While you are right, I don't think that this 'lesson' has come from To The Moon as a number of posters above very much enjoyed it as a game. For you the game was a failure but for many others it worked well. Sure it had a few misteps (that horse bit was a strange one) but there are plenty waiting for the next game by this developer who I wouldn't encourage to give up the games and write the book instead. I view MGS4 in a similar way to you but I wouldn't want to see Hideo Kojima give it all up and move into the film industry.... although I am sure some would!

Obviously we will disagree but as we are drinking to it: 'Me, lager. Finchy, Lager. Gareth, lager sometimes cider, so different drinks for different... needs.' David Brent said is so well! :D

#21 Edited by RyviusARC (4685 posts) -
@Lucianu said:

@ Thread starter, i highly recommend you play Planescape: Torment and The Longest Journey. It will blow you away, because they are leagues above any other video game story.

@nutcrackr said:

Good story, certainly emotional towards the end. The gameplay is quite terrible though, thankfully there isn't too much of it.

I wouldn't call the gameplay terrible at all. It's passable, it didn't hinder my enjoyment. It's just that it's incredibly simplistic compared to other legendary adventure games such as the likes of The Longest Journey.

The pace is perfect and it doesn't overstay its welcome, the game is short and can be finished in one playthrough with ease. It's a great story, though the quality of the writting is mediocre at best. Definitely worth playing for 10 bucks.

Sorry but I would have to disagree.

Planescape: Torment and The Longest Journey are not leagues above any other video game story.

But I will say they have great stories with great writing.

To The Moon is also great but as you mentioned the writing quality is not quite up there.

To The Moon excels more at creating an emotionally touching experience.

On the subject of the best video game story I would have to go for YU-NO.

Of course this is based on what I have played but I feel like it excels in all areas that are important for a story.

I disagree with some of the people here who think if something is lacking in gameplay that it should stay as a film or novel.

For one a film is too short and a tv show would lose a lot of the dialogue. A book would lose the voice acting and visual cues.

And before someone tries to imply anything, I do read books and quite a lot of them but I still enjoy these types of games which can do some things better.

#22 Edited by Lucianu (9538 posts) -

@RyviusARC said:

Sorry but I would have to disagree.

Planescape: Torment and The Longest Journey are not leagues above any other video game story.

But I will say they have great stories with great writing.

To The Moon is also great but as you mentioned the writing quality is not quite up there.

To The Moon excels more at creating an emotionally touching experience.

On the subject of the best video game story I would have to go for YU-NO.

Of course this is based on what I have played but I feel like it excels in all areas that are important for a story.

I disagree with some of the people here who think if something is lacking in gameplay that it should stay as a film or novel.

For one a film is too short and a tv show would lose a lot of the dialogue. A book would lose the voice acting and visual cues.

And before someone tries to imply anything, I do read books and quite a lot of them but I still enjoy these types of games which can do some things better.

YU-NO.. is that a visual novel? Never played a visual novel, but it wouldn't be hard to believe because those types of games excell at storytelling even more so than point 'n click adventure games.

#23 Edited by RyviusARC (4685 posts) -

@Lucianu said:

@RyviusARC said:

Sorry but I would have to disagree.

Planescape: Torment and The Longest Journey are not leagues above any other video game story.

But I will say they have great stories with great writing.

To The Moon is also great but as you mentioned the writing quality is not quite up there.

To The Moon excels more at creating an emotionally touching experience.

On the subject of the best video game story I would have to go for YU-NO.

Of course this is based on what I have played but I feel like it excels in all areas that are important for a story.

I disagree with some of the people here who think if something is lacking in gameplay that it should stay as a film or novel.

For one a film is too short and a tv show would lose a lot of the dialogue. A book would lose the voice acting and visual cues.

And before someone tries to imply anything, I do read books and quite a lot of them but I still enjoy these types of games which can do some things better.

YU-NO.. is that a visual novel? Never played a visual novel, but it wouldn't be hard to believe because those types of games excell at storytelling even more so than point 'n click adventure games.

It is a visual novel but it also mixes in some old style adventure point and click.

The reason I hold it in high regards is for many reasons.

RELEASE THE WALL OF TEXT!

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One: The plot (sci-fi/mystery)..... is outstanding!

There is so much the goes on in the 80+ hour story and despite that the writing is always able to support the immense weight of the responsibilities it has to keep everything in balance.

Every mystery and every twist has an answer, and every answer reveals enough to satisfy the most skeptic of minds.

With YU-NO, the story manages to keep at height by concentrating on a smaller cast of characters.

The author was never in doubt how one would get from A to B, and as such the story never takes a shortcut or leap simply to get past a tough spot.

Ironically, while many games today struggle to establish a concise world and narrative through numerous sequels and merchandise, YU-NO changes its world in an instant multiple times, yet remains a much more complete entity.

YU-NO demands the fullest attention and requires some dedication, not through a steep learning curve or general difficulty, but to immerse yourself fully and feel the plight and troubles of the characters.

For those who truly sit down with it and let themselves be taken emotionally along the ride, it's one of the best crafted stories in game history and the true ending to the game is one of the most exhilarating and incredible experiences you will ever have while playing a video game.

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Two: Characters are well constructed.

Despite the characters seeming to be rather cliched on the outside they are very well made and have depth.

The main character is especially noteworthy.

Takuya leads a life of duality.

The exterior behavior, in which he shows little to no sign of pain or sorrow over the loss of his father, acting foolishly naive to the people around him and the inner dialogue, which shows his anger, frustration and intelligence.

And the parallels of Takuya are reflected in all the surrounding characters in his life. Double lives, hidden secrets, conspiracies, everything has more than one side to it.

Even more telling is the fact that the way Takuya describes his father's flaws, are easily seen in Takuya himself in the way he addresses and behaves to the people around him.

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Three: Voice acting from all cast members is superb.

A large portion of the 80+ hour game is made up of voiced dialogue and all through out the game it remains high in quality.

The voice acting works so well because the dialogue is written with care.

In YU-NO, every spoken line has meaning, comes from something real and is never treated as a throwaway aspect.

And though the spoken lines are Japanese, the emotion of the delivery is universally understood, from the times of laughter to the times of deadly fear, the performers are able to communicate the intended message without any doubt.

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Four: The music is full of variety and enhances the atmosphere immensely.

Despite the heavy limitations from a 1980s fm synth chip the composer was able to create a large list of quality music.

His approach to music was with shocking amount of care and detail.

The soundtrack is not the kind that immediately kicks up to 5th gear and remains high in adrenaline and tempo, but rather one that always keeps the emotional background relevant and in place, telling a story in music as much as the game does in writing and speech.

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A summary of the beginning (for those who actually care);

The main character is a high school student named Takuya.

After three months of being reported missing from a cave-in, his father,Arima Kodai (a successful historian and researcher), is declared dead.

The whole town is shocked by his father's death. The only person who seems largely unaffected is Takuya himself who has always struggled to bond with his traditional and strict father, and lost his own mother at a very young age.

But while the young student may not outwardly show much in the way of emotion, his grades have begun to suffer, and his surrounding individuals at school have taken note of his inner struggles.

Summer vacation is nearing and Takuya finds himself questioning the circumstances of his father's sudden disappearance, feeling it was a typical dramatic ending as his father always seems to strive for, and having been left alone only to live with his stepmother, fills him with anger and frustration.

Aimlessly wandering the hallways at school and treading home to the all too quiet home, he suddenly finds a package left for him. The contents startle him. A letter. An unknown device consisting of mirrors.

The letter tells of a theory of alternate dimensions, gateways and usage of the alien device to bend time and space. While most of the information goes over Takuya's head, one thing clearly grips him; the letter is signed by his father. His mind races to resolve the mysterious revelation, could his father still be alive? How, and most importantly, where?

#24 Posted by Brendissimo35 (1930 posts) -

@-INKling- said:

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@ Brendissimo35 "I think the lesson of To the Moon is that just

because it can be made as a video game doesn't

mean that it should be."

Hell Yeah ! I'l drink to that !

While you are right, I don't think that this 'lesson' has come from To The Moon as a number of posters above very much enjoyed it as a game. For you the game was a failure but for many others it worked well. Sure it had a few misteps (that horse bit was a strange one) but there are plenty waiting for the next game by this developer who I wouldn't encourage to give up the games and write the book instead. I view MGS4 in a similar way to you but I wouldn't want to see Hideo Kojima give it all up and move into the film industry.... although I am sure some would!

Obviously we will disagree but as we are drinking to it: 'Me, lager. Finchy, Lager. Gareth, lager sometimes cider, so different drinks for different... needs.' David Brent said is so well! :D

Of course it is a matter of opinion, and I don't mean only to argue that the developers should give up on telling stories through video games. I just think that if a game is not really going to be a game, and is mostly about the narrative, it should either embrace that and leave behind "gamey" conventions like minigames, fight sequences, etc., or it should not be made as a game at all.

To the Moon focused on narrative, but kept many of these "gamey" conventions intact, to its detriment. It doesn't mean its narrative wasn't good enough to endear itself to a significant number of players.

#25 Posted by demi0227_basic (1037 posts) -

I got this game a long time ago, had other games I was playing and forgot about it. Read your' post, played it last night and today, and LOVED IT SO FREAKING MUCH. Thanks for the blog yo...it was an experience!

I broke down and had to shower after.

#26 Posted by Lucianu (9538 posts) -

@RyviusARC: That sounds absolutely amazing, i'm definitely going to check this game out.

#27 Edited by RyviusARC (4685 posts) -
@Lucianu said:

@RyviusARC: That sounds absolutely amazing, i'm definitely going to check this game out.

Word of warning this game has its flaws.

Just like with a lot of old adventure games it can be hard to advance in without a walkthrough.

Even with the walkthrough it is confusing.

Here is the walkthrough to show you what I mean. It only covers the main body.

The prologue and epilogue of the game are straight forward and more like a regular visual novel but the main body of the game is rather complicated.

It will take time getting used to the branching plot.

The main body of the game is split up into 4 separate routes dealing with 1 or 2 characters and each route must be completed, because each route has a jewel stone that you need to eventually fill up all the empty slots in the time/parallel travel device.

Using the device you can leave jewel saves to travel forward and back in time and through similar parallel worlds but they must be strategically placed as you only have certain amount of save points depending on the amount of jewels you have at any given time.

This game might be a little off-putting if it's your first visual novel, especially if it's your first game with large amounts of Japanese spoken dialogue (albeit with english subs).

Don't judge to quickly. The main character can seem a bit perverted at first but if you look closer you will see there is a reason he acts like this towards others.

Another flaw and a bit bothersome was that the game liked to sometimes unnecessarily flaunt panty shots with very little reason but I quickly got over that when I realized how great everything else was.

Some of the female characters also seem a bit unrealistically proportioned with a larger bust and slim waist but I quickly forgot that annoyance when I saw how well done their personalities were.

On a similar note, this game is mature and does feature sex scenes but there is always some form of justification leading up to them so they are not just randomly thrown in.

They only appear once for certain characters and hardly distract from the over all game, they can also be quickly skipped by holding down the ctrl key.

Those are all the flaws that I have found in the game.

As I said before, if you do decide to go through this game give it some time.

The game is over 80 hours long for 100% completion and doesn't start to build up until after the prologue which is about 5 hours long.

Most of the time in the prologue is spent introducing the characters and setting.

The game doesn't spoon feed you everything so some of the information with be slowly shown through hints in the dialogue.

Sometimes what seems like random chatter actually contains clues.

The best feeling is when you start to put the pieces together.

The picture is much more grand than what you can imagine when you first start out.

I might as well throw in a few videos to show off some of the music. Keep in mind this music is being made with the limitations of a 1980s fm synth chip.

If you just want to experience the game for the story you could always watch the videos i uploaded since I cover everything in the game and I am almost finished with recording. I already have over 63 hours of footage uploaded.

Youtube Playlist

Here is the first video just to show the quality.