Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Here They Lie - Review


Here They Lie is an interesting game. It's a game by The Tangentlemen and Santa Monica Studio, with some of the staff being the great minds behind games like Spec Ops: The Line, and even Tomb Raider. These people are known for their adventures, their shocking stories, and twisted psychological elements, so when you see them come together to create a game like "Here They Lie" for the PlayStation VR, one can't help but be excited for it. Of course this is a small title, not some large AAA budget release, but even so it's something a lot of fans may have had on their radar. But how is it? Is this a must have game for the PSVR? Well, that's not an easy question to answer. In fact, it's going to depend completely on you.

The Story:

Here They Lie is the story of a man going to the city to find his ex girlfriend. Apparently something happened to them in the past that caused them to break up, but now they're willing to give it another go. What exactly happened isn't clearly said, and shortly after boarding the train in the beginning, things quickly go to Hell. Literally.



This city, isn't right. Strange creatures lurk around every corner, the world has lost it's color, and there are strange surreal sights everywhere you look. What is happening? Why are things like this? Who knows. The only thing you can be sure of is, you just walked into a nightmare, and you can't wake up. This is the story of Here They Lie, and it only gets stranger as you go. Rather than clearly telling you what is happening, the world itself tells the story, and the things you see have meaning. Each and every disturbing image you come across is somehow related to the main character (similar to what was seen in Spec Ops), and it's not until the end that you'll have enough clues to figure out what the story is for yourself. That being said, figuring out the mystery is a large part of this game, and it may take more than one playthrough to catch everything that you missed.

The Gameplay:

Like many other adventure games out there, Here They Lie is what many call a "Walking Simulator." The only gameplay to be found is you walking through this strange world. You explore the city, get the heck scared out of you, see disturbing images, and push forward towards the end of the path. There are no puzzles, most sections of the game are extremely linear, and there's only a handful of notes to read and pictures to be found. This isn't some massive classic PC styled puzzle game, it's a virtual nightmare where you only have one way forward. Of course, that's all this type of game really needs to be. Rather than focusing on the gameplay, it's more about the atmosphere, and the scares. While there are a handful of jump scares, most of the game's fear comes from the unknown, as well as the disturbing reality you'll come to understand as time passes on. While in general the game actually isn't that "scary," the fact that you basically have to play it in VR makes it MUCH worse than it would be to just look at a screen. Because of this you'll constantly be on edge, and that alone will add a lot to your gameplay experience (and possibly make up for how short the game actually is). Although there's not much to the game, VR does offer some impressive sights from time to time, and the few gameplay choices and two endings do give you a reason to go back to it. Running from start to finish might only take an hour, but if you really want to soak in this world and take your time, it can last much longer.

The Issues of VR:

Like with VR in general, this game may not be for everyone -- or rather, not everyone may be able to handle it. As this is an adventure game where you must walk through the world, motion sickness is actually pretty common. Those who have built up a tolerance to VR shouldn't have any issues with this, but new comers and those who haven't gotten fully used to VR games such as this may feel sick. While the game uses a snap turning to turn left/right, there's also a secondary head turning that kind of pulls you into the direction that you are looking. Although that doesn't seem like that big of a deal, the slow pull movement is a bit dizzying, and can make things a lot worse for those who aren't used to these sort of games. There are no other options to help with motion sickness in this one, so you're stuck with what the game gives you, and if you can't handle it, it's something you may need to put off playing until you can.

The Good and the Bad:

Here They Lie was a short but fun trip through a nightmare world. While it isn't overly scary, the fear of the unknown keeps you on edge, and the handful of jump scares WILL make you jump. The world has a great sense of scale, the story is very strange and disturbing, and when it's over there's at least some incentive to jump back in. Although the world is largely linear, there is some exploration, a few moral choices, and two endings, and there is plenty for you to stop and look at. It's a unique experience, and well worth going through at least once if you can; however, it isn't perfect.



The main issue with this game is how it looks. The graphics aren't that detailed, a lot of things look blurry, and although there are some impressive sights, a lot of the game is dull and gray. For an early PSVR game it isn't that bad, but one can't help but wish things did look a little nicer. These areas you are exploring aren't the largest ones out there, so there's really no for the PSVR to not be able to render more detailed objects. Other than that, some may still find the $19.99 price tag to be a bit too high for what is offered, but that really depends on you and if you feel it is worth it.

In general Here They Lie isn't a bad game, but it also isn't that amazing. It's a great PSVR experience with an interesting twisted story, but it doesn't do anything that outstanding. If you have a PSVR it's worth trying, but it's not something you should go out and buy a PSVR just to play.

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