Postmortem – Road 96

I managed to finish a single playthrough of Road 96. It’s not a particularly long game, sitting at about nine and half hours of total playtime, though there is a new game plus mode. I personally won’t be using it. Not because I dislike the game, quite the opposite.

It’s not that difficult for me to invest in fictional characters, and it’s hard not to love the ones in Road 96. Even the most annoying and dislikable ones have a very human quality that’s hard to actually hate. A lot of their stories are linked together, sometimes in weird and unexpected ways. Their motives, while sometimes misguided or wrong, are understandable and relatable. Except perhaps Tyrak, who’s motives weren’t explored in detail as far as I saw.

As a general rule, I found the scenery quite serene as well. The landscapes in particular were nice. There are a lot of natural spaces, though the pond by the tunnel on Road 96 is a particular favorite. There are a variety of scenes with nice backdrops though, if you stop and look.

On the whole it is, and presumably meant to be, a beautiful place containing a somewhat dark and intense series of events.

This is ultimately where my unwillingness to try the new game plus comes from. The entire series of events, even in their resolution, weigh heavily. I chose the path I considered to be a relatively positive one, and the choice I would make on a second playthrough would be somewhat darker. I have little desire to experience that right now. The real world is a dark enough at the moment and while the game is absolutely beautiful and well executed, I could do with slightly less reality right now.

I’m more than happy with the experience, though. I’ll look forward to playing it some more when there’s a bit less reality filling up my brain. If nothing else I’ll always look forward to seeing more of Stan and Mitch. A delightful pair of well-meaning criminal goofballs. I’ll also have fond memories of playing the trombone poorly at midnight, tripping balls in a limo, and robbing a Sooper Supper with a piggy bank. Good times.

Y’all take care. Don’t do anything Stan and Mitch would do. Seriously, don’t.

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