Open Roads – We Never Die

REVIEW – In this game, the gameplay is essentially secondary, as the characters and story are more important in the approximately two and a half hours of gameplay, and therefore it is a short, quick game that is not technically complex.


It is a very simple game with only three characters, and consequently the gameplay itself has no great depth, so spending time with Open Roads is not recommended from this aspect.



A minimalist cartoon from the 1970s


Graphically, the game looks like something you would have seen 45-50 years ago from independent, smaller teams, and the lack of precise mouth movements of the characters (they stop moving after a short time, hence the minimalism), and although you can get through the story quickly, in 2.5 hours, it becomes very noticeable in that time. There is no gameplay as such, as it will be more or less a walk between locations, with some interactions. Your main character is Tess Devine, who is helping her mother Opal move out of her house. The house used to belong to Tess’ grandmother, and in the process they discover a hidden drawer in the attic, and there’s a key in it, and so mother and daughter make their way north to her summer home, and the story gets much deeper by then, because the grandmother has kept several things from her family, and it all goes back to the sixties. The deceased grandfather, but also Opal’s sister August will play a role in the events. It all seems ungrandiose, but that is the point and the positive of Open Roads: it offers a down-to-earth experience where the antagonist is not another person, but the distance between the two characters, which can be felt between Jess and Opal as they go from scene to scene talking.

Tess’ other communication is through text messages with her father and her best friend Francine. Ultimately, the point is to slow down and try to get to know everyone. Sometimes through the environment, sometimes through the dialog, we will learn a few things that will improve the atmosphere considerably. That’s a good thing, because even though there’s no lipsync in Open Roads, there is good voice acting: Keri Russell and Kaitlyn Dever give a lifelike, believable performance as mother and daughter. But even if you can overlook the odd lack of lipsync, the game itself is pleasing to look at, despite the fact that it feels old-fashioned. It’s a bit anachronistic: the story is set more in the late 90s, when there were still cathode ray tubes and the development of the Internet was still a big career (and then stopped by the bursting of the dotcom bubble at the turn of the millennium). Back then it was a joy for a young person to get a cell phone, but now everyone is glued to them; that’s how much the world has changed in over 20 years, however unusual that may seem.



The essence of looking to the past


Open Roads is perhaps a good product because it reminds us how much better things used to be than they are now. The developers have shown us that we were in a different era, and they have captured the atmosphere of that time very well. Aside from the visuals, the exploration of mostly indoor 3D environments was a nice touch, and the brighter colors can separate the irrelevant objects from the ones we should all be exploring. But the dialog is no longer played in three dimensions: with the aforementioned lack of lipsync, the switch between the two styles feels almost crude. The budget seems to have run out during these scenes (and we’re not talking about a huge publisher behind the team; Annapurna Interactive is mainly open to indie titles, and even Microids, which is grabbing francophone IPs with both hands, is bigger than them), and this is perhaps also noticeable in the fact that the pace of the dialog is not natural.

There are sometimes incomprehensibly long pauses in the speech. However, if you can get past that, you won’t be disappointed on that one afternoon or evening when you sit down to experience Open Roads. In this case, the word experience is more appropriate than the word game, which Microsoft and many other major publishers use instead. It’s a good experience, and once really worth having, but more often than not it’s a moot point.



Locked player on the open roads


The player is locked because he really doesn’t have much to do. And maybe that’s why Open Roads can’t get higher than a 7/10. Because although the experience itself and the ambience are good, there are flaws in the execution, and as a result you can really say that it could have been better. But still, it is not far from “better”, so the adjective is only “good”. Maybe it’s better that it wasn’t too long, because the minimalist style of the conversations would have become too distracting after a while. However, it can be said that it is recommended for a playthrough.



+ Mood
+ Retrospective
+ The dub


– Sometimes excessively minimalistic
– It’s a bit short and replayability is questionable
– There are many strange pauses in the dialogues

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive

Developer: Open Roads Team

Style: indie/adventure

Release: March 28, 2024.

Open Roads

Gameplay - 4.7
Graphics - 6.8
Story - 7.8
Music/Audio - 7.7
Ambience - 8.5



Old-fashioned, but it suits it

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Grabbing controllers since the middle of the nineties. Mostly he has no idea what he does - and he loves Diablo III. (Not.)

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