Tuesday, June 30

Her Story (iOS) Review: Her Benevolence

Some of my favourite games from my childhood used full motion video (FMV) to create some narrative context for fantastical violence. Crusader: No Remorse, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, and the original Command and Conquer are just some of the games that made "cinematic" a staple adjective in modern games writing. Looking back on the aforementioned examples though, it's hard to see these hammily acted scenes as anything other than kitschy. 

Her Story is anything but kitschy. 

I can't say much for fear of spoiling any revelations, but know that Viva Seifert, the sole subject of Her Story's multitude of film clips, puts on a chilling performance. Her efforts, coupled with a melancholic, unsettling score, had my heart racing long after shutting down the app. The clacking of a worn keyboard and humming of a monitor long past its prime serve as punctuation for short punches of powerful dialogue. 

I made the mistake of starting my playthrough in bed, late at night, just after receiving an SOS from a family member. I had an hour to kill before I was needed, and started searching through the 90s era database for clues as to what her story was really about. Within minutes I was hooked, and by the close of the first hour I was well and truly spooked. 

I hardly slept that night, and I didn't dare restart my investigation until daylight hours. The crazy thing is that your sole means of interaction across 2 hours is typing in search terms. Picking the right keywords brings up clips that provide additional vital clues. There'll be those who try and argue this isn't a game, but who would pay that any mind when the results are so compelling? 

My only complaint is that even after viewing the majority of the clips, I didn't get a satisfying resolution. I just heard some scary shit and had trouble sleeping for a couple of nights. I mean I know what happened, but there are loose ends that are killing me!

For me, in the Year of our Lord Luigi 2015, the sole measure of a game is whether or not it can pull my attention away from Destiny. Her Story is so captivating that I forgot about upgrading weapons and plundering vaults for days. Now go. Go pay the paltry price of admission, turn off the lights, and make sure your doors are locked tight. 

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