The Good Life: Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods DLC Review – A Reason to Return to Rainy Woods (PS4)

If you enjoyed the original adventure in The Good Life, a fun RPG by SWERY, you should consider getting the DLC, Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods, which adds 12 new side quests. But is it worth returning to Rainy Woods with photojournalist Naomi Haywood for these bonus quests?

The Good Life Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods Review - A Reason to Return to Rainy Woods (PS4)

The Good Life by SWERY provided many with a good time when it was originally released. Now, a year and a half later, almost out of the blue, a DLC has been released for it. Titled Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods, this DLC adds 12 new side quests to the original game. Some are just more eccentric side quests, but others expand on the original story, such as the mystery behind Elizabeth’s murder. The Good Life DLC gives you that opportunity to find out, if you so wish. Is it worth it though, and does this DLC deliver what it says? 

The Good Life: Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods DLC is available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch for $9.99. You’ll need the original game if you want to play Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods, priced at $39.99.

Make sure to read our review of The Good Life.

Be aware that this review may contain spoilers for The Good Life and the DLC.

The Good Life - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Story – The Mystery of Elizabeth’s Murder

If you haven’t played The Good Life or have forgotten the story already, here’s a quick reminder. You play as Naomi Haywood, a photojournalist from New York, who has come to the town of Rainy Woods, set in rural England. It’s full of interesting and quirky characters, and at night whenever there’s a full moon, all the townsfolk mysteriously turn into cats and dogs. Naomi also learns how to transform into a cat and dog at will, which provides useful abilities such as being able to follow scents and dig as a dog and jump up high as a cat. There’s also a murder mystery, when one of the residents, Elizabeth, turns up dead in a river. We won’t give away here the whole story, except for one spoiler: after all the events of the original game, Elizabeth turns up alive and well, and not just that, but she’s no longer in a wheelchair. This strange and bizarre mystery is never explained… until this DLC for The Good Life came along.

The main purpose of Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods is to reveal what really happened with Elizabeth’s murder. Naomi is sent by her boss, Lucy, to investigate the original events to get to the bottom of it. If you played The Good Life, you’ll probably be intrigued as well, so this may give you a purpose to return to The Good Life with this DLC in tow. Also, you don’t have to worry about starting the whole game again: you can jump right back into the game where you left off at the end like I did; this is where the DLC side quests kick in. Just note that if you want to access Elizabeth and Lucy’s DLC side quests, you’ll need to do Lucy’s quests via the emails on Naomi’s PC in the original story.

It’s a bit of a surprise that this DLC for The Good Life was released. Many players, including myself, have had questions about some of the mysteries surrounding the story, and this DLC feels like a long awaited gift. For the purposes of this review, I should at least hint at whether you do get the answers you’re looking for: you still don’t get the full story, probably to keep us wanting more and keep us intrigued with Rainy Woods’ mysteries, but you do get some more lore behind the quirky England town as you play the two core DLC side quests. I’ll admit that this is somewhat disappointing, as I really thought we would get all the answers, but I still enjoyed playing the DLC side quests, and it at least gave me a good excuse to play this game again, which I enjoyed originally.

Whether or not you really do learn all of Rainy Woods' mysteries, it's still an interesting quest to go on.

Whether or not you really do learn all of Rainy Woods’ mysteries, it’s still an interesting quest to go on.

Gameplay – Same Old

Since this is DLC for The Good Life, I did wonder if there might be new gameplay added in, even though the DLC’s description specifically states that it adds 12 new side quests. Here’s the answer: there isn’t. There’s nothing new gameplay wise, just the bonus side quests. The original game’s gameplay included things like photography, using scent as a dog to search for locations, people and items, climbing buildings as a cat, taming and riding sheep, cooking, plus that tricky DrinKING game. Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods doesn’t add any new gameplay, which seemed like a missed opportunity. Even just one new element to the game would have be good.

Quirky New Quests

So there’s no new gameplay, but there are new side quests added to The Good Life. Many of the new side quests aren’t really short, so they’ll keep you busy for a while and keep you playing The Good Life for a bit longer, and some of them provide a good challenge to get you scratching your head.

What exactly are the new side quests? You can expect the same kind of side quests as you got in the original game. Someone might ask you to cook a dish using certain ingredients. You might have to take a specific photo of something – or more than one subject in the same photo, not always an easy task! You might have to track an item or person in dog form. Generally speaking, some side quests are harder than others, just like in the original game.

Expect the same kind of side quest activities: photography, talking to people, and cooking.

Expect the same kind of side quest activities: photography, talking to people, and cooking.

Is it bad that the new side quests aren’t much different to the original ones? Possibly, but I honestly have enjoyed completing them, even the more challenging ones. The Good Life can be a  challenging game at times, regarding puzzle solving, but I like this. After all, would you really enjoy the game as much if it was too easy?

Then again, some of the side quests I found quite tricky to work out and complete. Without giving away too many spoilers, there was one where I had to take a photo of two characters at the same time. This was a tricky puzzle to solve because although they never moved, they were on opposite sides of a building and you had to stand in a specific spot to get them both in frame, then make sure the in-game camera picked them up. Another frustrating task had me playing hide and seek with a different character at a quarry, using the dog scent ability to find them, but I searched all over the area and couldn’t find them (I did eventually).

I never wanted to give up on anything though, particularly the more challenging quests, and you get a good sense of accomplishment when you do eventually get it. It was almost an obsession trying to beat the quests! I at least had multiple quests on the go, so if I ever got stuck on one, I could switch focus to another and then return to that one later.

This particular side quest provided me with a clever challenge.

This particular side quest provided me with a clever challenge.

DLC Bonus Gift

There’s one other thing I ought to mention. When you first load The Good Life after downloading this DLC, outside Naomi’s house, you’ll see a box labelled DLC Celebration Gift. If you open it up, you’ll receive some goodies. The most significant one is 50 aluminium cans. This item, used in many DIY recipes, is hard to gather because it’s not a very common item to find and can only be found in trash bins, or you can acquire some by trading items with a merchant. SWERY must have acknowledged that many players found it frustrating gathering these cans, so to add this as a bonus for the DLC pack is quite a generous gesture.

There's a special bonus gift waiting for you outside Naomi's house when you first load the DLC.

There’s a special bonus gift waiting for you outside Naomi’s house when you first load the DLC.

Graphics and Audio – Nothing New Here

There’s not really much to say about this section. There’s nothing new graphics wise, or sound wise. This isn’t a huge deal though because the DLC focuses on adding new side quests and expanding the lore of The Good Life.

The Good Life: Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods DLC was reviewed on PS4 with a game key provided by PLAYISM.

Behind the Secret of Rainy Woods gave me a great reason to jump back into The Good Life, a game that while challenging and sometimes frustrating, was also very enjoyable, not to mention memorable. I had a lot of fun getting back into this game and doing the new quests. While they don't provide any new gameplay aside from extra quests, it at least gives you something extra to do. If you liked The Good Life, then you should think about checking out the DLC.
  • More eccentric antics and adventures with Naomi Haywood
  • Side quests provide addictive and satisfying challenge
  • No new gameplay added
  • Doesn't fully give all secrets on mysteries surrounding original game

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