HER STORY

PrintE-mail Written by Callum Shephard

Her Story is very much an older approach to video games not seen often today, retaining far less hand-holding and more reliance upon using a pen, paper and your wits to get ahead. Relying upon you watching multiple videos and piecing together a story involving a potential murder, it proves to be a game of intrigue which takes a very conservative approach to game mechanics. This will likely put off some people thanks to the widespread negativity surrounding previous artsy minimalist attempts (the blame for which falls squarely upon Dear Esther’s shoulders) but it sidesteps the biggest problems. Rather than being dragged along throughout the game and force-fed a story, the progression and development is purely down to the player. You never feel as if you’re a third wheel in someone else’s narrative or that you have no impact. In fact it’s quite the opposite, and the game rewards outside the box thinking multiple times.

The moment you’ll realise just how far Her Story goes to reward intelligence and perception come down to incredibly subtle clues. Rather than purely paying attention to what the character says, you have to pay attention to almost everything in each scene, from the timestamps to the very clothing they are wearing. At one point a tattoo might suddenly appear and disappear. At others, tapping on a table might be a form of coded signal that you need to translate then figure out for yourself. There has to be a focus upon authenticity and analysis in each video, and through this it proves itself to be one of the best deductive video games of the decade.

If there is one definitive failing of the game, it’s more that it doesn’t go far enough in the detective work idea. The videos are expertly put together and brilliant brain teasers, but it really seems as if there should have been more methods to gradually piece together this puzzle. Rather than just a video archive, it would have been far better to have additions such as personal documents, photos to root through or paperwork to root through to enhance the experience. It would have added far more depth to the player involvement. As such, while what we get is astounding and a fantastic proof of concept, there’s definitely a lot more room to expand into new areas.

If you’re the sort of person who isn’t a fan of incredibly difficult puzzles or lengthy cutscenes in games, this certainly isn’t one for you. Everyone else though, definitely give this one a shot. It’s easily one of the most original ideas in years and well worth the low price of purchase.

HER STORY / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: SAM BARLOW / PLATFORM: PC, MAC, iOS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
 


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