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The Joy of Far From Noise’s transcendental sunset

Teetering on the brink

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Far from Noise‘s protagonist has gotten herself in a bit of predicament. She is stuck in a car that is delicately balanced on the side of a steep cliff. To make things worse, the car’s engine has flooded and it needs all night to cool down. Now staring death in the face, and with a long night ahead, she starts to question aspects of her life and her past decisions. It’s a narrative-driven game where the player gets to pick dialogue options and participate in light but thoughtful conversations in a visual novel style.

These conversations take place in front of a beautiful setting sun, which is used as both an atmospheric and symbolic icon in service of conveying ideas of transcendentalism.

Transcendentalism focuses on the embrace of spiritual identity, personal freedom and having a romantic connection to nature, and Far From Noise presents these ideas in a slow and intimate way. As the sun sinks into the ocean, the character and player are slowly submerged into a calm and reflective place. It’s the perfect backdrop to prompt certain reflections within the character and player.

In a moment of enlightenment (or insanity), a lone deer meanders up to the car and starts to talk to the unseen driver, philosophising about life, death, souls, nature: all the deep stuff.

As you continue to converse with your thoughtful friend, it comes to light that the woman in the car has escaped to the peacefulness of nature to get away from her life’s failures. She feels like she doesn’t belong and is in constant disappointment, she is at a time in her life where she doesn’t know what she wants or how she fits into the world – a daunting thought and one that I think we can all relate to. The dialogue options can be humorous, optimistic or painfully realistic. Depending on your dialogue choices, you change not only the way the game ends but the mental state and outlook of the main character.

Early on in the game you are given a choice between two dialogue options that really capture the binary mindsets of the game: “Right. Just… Breathe” and “What’s the point?”. Two beginnings of very different paths. However, watching the sun setting and the sound of the ocean prompts a certain response. I felt inclined to pick the more hopeful dialogue options because of the atmosphere and vibe. The game has these long pauses during which the only thing to do is gaze at the sunset and it’s these quiet moments that make you participate in its transcendentalist dialogue.

Even if it teeters on the brink of being pretentious, Far From Noise invites you to learn and experience a new perspective on life and death, and it lets you witness some light philosophical questions without throwing you into the deep end. From choosing to click on those optimistic dialogue bubbles, we can decide what to feel in times of hopelessness.

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Rachel Watts

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