Open Roads Review

Published by Annapurna Interactive and developed by the Open Roads Team, I was so excited to play Open Roads and made even more excited when it was revealed it would be coming to Game Pass on day one. If you check out my ranking of the Life is Strange games, you will know that I am a big fan of story driven style games like this. Add to that the fact this was published by Annapurna Interactive and it had a great visual style along with some actors I like providing the voice work and you had a game that was perfect for me.

Open Roads is the story of a teenage daughter called Tess and her single mother Opal. Tess is voiced by Kaitlyn Dever who I first saw in the awesome, Last Man Standing and she is going to be playing Abby in the second season of The Last of Us. Opal is voiced by Keri Russel who I have seen in all kinds of movies and TV shows over the years. These two have great chemistry and are very believable and bring these characters to life very well.

Set in 2003, Tess and Opal are on hard times, their mother/grandmother has just passed and has left them in a tricky situation that is seeing them losing their house. While looking through her belongings that were left after an estate sale, they find out that she was not the woman they thought she was. It sets the two of them on an adventure to first of all an old summerhouse and then an old houseboat in Canada. I feel that Open Roads is one of those “the journey is the destination” kind of stories as it is the interactions between Opal and Tess that get you invested.

Do not get me wrong, I wanted to know what the deal with the grandmother/mother was and the breadcrumbs of a potential secret lover, a robbery, and more were all interesting stuff. However, while the premise, the performances, and the setup of things were fantastic. Just when it really gets going, Open Roads is over! I beat the game in around an hour and in all honesty, if the game had a run button, I probably could have shaved 15 minutes off that runtime! It was not a bad experience at all, but it left me wanting more and me wanting to know more about what Tess and Opal were going to do next.

Gameplay wise, Open Roads has us playing as Tess and it all takes place in the first-person. It is a basic exploration/puzzle style of game. Finding keys, reading notes, and making a few dialogue choices here and there. It is a rather linear game and even with making different dialogue choices, it does not make things turn out all that differently. It is more about experiencing the relationship between Tess and Opal which it does do very, very well, but as I just said, it leaves you wanting to know more. When the game ended, I was kind of like “is that it?” as it ends at a point where you think you are just about to head off on another adventure. The only issue I had with actually playing the game was the speed at which Tess walked, she moves really slow, not so slow that it is painful. However, there were a few times where I was wishing for a run button or at the very least a walking a little quicker button!

The presentation of Open Roads is spectacular. Tess and Opal are brought to life with this amazing, hand-drawn 2D art that is animated very well and the voice acting is some of the best I have experienced this year. What makes the game pop is that the environments are all done in full 3D and are detailed really well. I got a kick out of the 2003 setting too from the flip phone that Tess uses to the way they had printed Google Maps to help them find their destination.

While it was over quicker than I would have liked, Open Roads was still a fun and good experience. I do think if you enjoy games like Life is Strange and other Annapurna Interactive story driven games, Open Roads is well worth checking out. I would love to see a follow-up to this as it would be cool to see what Tess experiences when she goes to visit her father.

If you have played Open Roads, I would love to know what your thoughts on it are in the comments section down below.

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