Her Story

IMG_4795Date Completed: December 23, 2015

I bookmarked ‘Her Story’ in Toucharcade  when I first heard about it so I was informed immediately when it went on sale.  A few days prior to the sale the game had received multiple recognitions at the 2015 game awards so it seemed like a good opportunity to buy a good game at a discount.  I didn’t know a whole lot about the game but I suspected this was the kind of game my wife would enjoy so I bought it for her and put it on her iPad.  Thanks to the convenience of family purchasing I was able to install it on my phone as well.

After starting up ‘Her Story’ you are greeted by screen that looks similar to an old Windows based computer.  There is a single modal dialog in the with the world ‘MURDER’ typed into it.  You click search to find video clips that mention your search terms (a maximum of 5 results) and then you get to the interesting bit – watching videos and uncovering the story.

IMG_4796

The screen new players are greeted with.

I started the game a few days before my wife and then I badgered her to start playing because I wanted to talk about it.  The rabbit hole on this game gets very deep very quickly.  After she got into it she quickly surpassed my level of completion with the game.  We had fun sharing keywords with each other that would uncover additional videos and help reach 100% completion.

I can’t say anything else about the game because if you know anything about it whatsoever it is completely ruined.  This is the kind of game you can only play once.  Uncovering the story is what makes the game fun and after you know it all there is nothing left to do.  It must have been challenging to design a game that could be played like this and I think the the designers did a great job.  I’d say it’s worth the money and I highly recommend it.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length: 2-3 hours
System: iOS
Genre: Interactive Drama

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Heavy Rain

Date Completed : September 4th, 2011

Sometime around the time that Heavy Rain came out I added up all of the money I must have put into my video game hobby (addiction?) and decided that I needed to buy fewer games.  I came up with the great plan that I’d only buy half of the games I was interested and I’d trick a friend into buying the other half which I could then borrow for free.  My plan would have worked out too, if my friend hadn’t been robbed.  Sadly I was forced to scour eBay for a decent deal on a used copy of Heavy Rain.

Heavy Rain is officially an ‘Interactive Drama’.  This isn’t one of those lame ‘old school’ video games where you’ll find yourself jumping over bottomless pits and taking on armies of ninjas with nothing but chopsticks.  In Heavy Rain you get to use the restroom, take showers and dress yourself to ultimate victory. 

The game is broken up into several scenes where you will control one of four characters.  There are multiple actions and paths through the scenes and depending on your actions there may be a different outcome at the end of the scene.  There are 7 different endings to experience, all dependent on your actions as you play.  The game itself isn’t that long but you’ll need to play through it several times to get the full experience.

The story itself is a pretty cliche crime drama but that doesn’t make it bad.  The writers took elements from traditional stories and threw them together to make a story that would work.  The new and intriguing part is how the story is told.  You interact with the game with Quick-Time-Events (QTEs).  QTE gameplay might sound awful but they way it has been done in this case is tasteful.  If your character needs to do something quickly you have to press buttons quickly.  If you are doing something physically difficult you might have to hold a series of buttons that are actually physically difficult to press at one time.  I played the game using the Playstation motion controllers and often I had to set down the nun-chuck controller and use two hands on the motion controller to be able to reach all of the buttons.  In some of the time-sensitive scenes you’re dropped into a scene with no idea what actions to take and all you know is that you have to do something quick.  These are the scenes that really pull you into the drama and get your heart racing.

Heavy Rain is one of the best looking games of this generation.  All of the primary characters are extremely detailed although there is still a bit of a zombie quality to each of the characters.

Brains….

The secondary characters have not been treated with the same level of care but everything does still look quite a bit better than most titles.  The realistic graphics are an important part of making the story believable.  While they might not look quite real they’re more than real enough to get the job done. 

Overall I loved the experience and I will probably play through it again to pick up the extra trophies. 

My Wife’s Take :

  • I’m leaving the room.  Your game is distracting me from my book!
  • You’ll never see Mario and the Princess doing that!!!

Pros:
* Genre defining ‘Interactive Drama’ experience
* Multiple paths through the game with 7 different endings

Cons:
* QTE driven game play.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  ~10 hours
System: PlayStation 3
Genre: Interactive Drama