I had high hopes for this game after reading the glowing review on Gamespot, and seeing similar high reviews on other gaming sites. And even during the process of writing this comment about Gone Home, I can't say that I totally hated the game.
But this game flat-out does not deserve a 9.5 score. The brevity of this game is unforgivable, and at the summation of the game the solution is so hackneyed that you have zero desire to replay the experience again. No multiple endings? Weak sauce. Tons of stationary items are present that seem like an afterthought: with limited utility and pointless implementation. The atmospheric touches like lightning and static TV's are well-executed, but eventually lead nowhere. Sometimes, I felt like I was playing a demo.
The romantic element of the story is believable, but the gamer should have been able to have accountability to interpret the events differently if he/ she uncovers a set number of evidence pieces. We should have been able to misinterpret the evidence present throughout the house. Love is a strong theme, indeed, but the main story seems like the first in a sequence of episodes; not the entirety of a video game plot. Cutscenes would have been a nice touch, too, but dialogue and stationary items are all that we get in Gone Home.
Graphics, game play, a jarring ending, and bang-for-the-buck aspects of Gone Home all disappointed me. I would rather play a game like Riven and feel intellectually challenged than trudge through someone's empty home to solve a Nancy Drew Mystery. I appreciate that some gamers are enjoying the mysterious atmosphere and 90s-era touches that are well executed throughout Gone Home, but neither element made me want to play the game ever again after the story had commenced.
To compare this game with a technically proficient offering like Dark Souls (totally different genre and experience, but vastly greater gaming depth and variety) or even Grim Fandango is a grand misstep for the Gamespot crew. Gone Home is an average-looking, limited gameplay experience whose theme greatly surpasses the gaming elements. I could accept a 7.0 score for this game, but it could use much more depth, polish, and gameplay before it approaches a score in the 9 range