07/10/2020

๐Ÿ“ผ ๐Ÿ’ปTelling Lies | Review | Nintendo Switch | "An interesting concept, if you have the patience for it to reveal itself" ๐Ÿ“ผ ๐Ÿ’ป @A_i @mrsambarlow #GameDev #IndieGames

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Sam Barlow’s previous game, Her Story, put the player in the position of a person watching the interview of a woman (in VHS format, natch) as she reveals more about herself and her situation. 

Naturally, the order in which you watch the clips is scrambled and thus the player must make the story cohesive in their own mind from what they have seen. 

This approach reminded me a lot of Simon Meek’s performance piece, Marnie Wakes, which is presented as 32 cards with fragmented thoughts and dialogue on each. This means that the order in which you approach the information dictates how the story plays out in your head, a different story for each person but the same cards are provided. Saucy.
Whilst there are new twists in this tale, starring most prominently the always-excellent Logan Marshall Green (The Invitation, Upgrade) as well as three other main characters and several smaller roles, the player is put in the shoes of a woman who is watching clips on a laptop, piecing together an as-yet-unknown story. 

There are some truly amazing touches in the initial presentation; the constant reflection of the silent protagonist as well as a fully-interactive desktop behind the media player that takes up prominence on screen and the ambient hard drive and fan noises of the laptop to name but a few. I was also a big fan of the main gameplay mechanic whereby you click on certain words and phrases spoken by the characters which then bring up clips with related words in them, fundamentally the same as Her Story. All of this, especially the acting, is groovy.

There are some fundamental drawbacks, however. In Telling Lies, you are always watching one half of a conversation with the other character remaining off-camera and silent. This means that you’ll sometimes be watching clips that are minutes long and consist of someone staring at a screen, occasionally saying a couple of words and nodding. 
Whilst this is accurate of how such conversations work, it doesn’t make for engrossing gameplay. The whole setup, story and quality is here but there’s something about the foundations of piecing the story together through hours of chat footage that, whilst impressive, didn’t fully grab me. 

Telling Lies is a really interesting concept that takes Her Story and opens it up to a far greater scope. 

Whilst the pacing didn’t fully click with me, I can imagine the more patient sleuths out there will really get a kick of putting this media jigsaw together, it’s not a breakneck thrill ride, but it is definitely rewarding for those with the time do unravel the depths of the tale.

Right, I’m off to charge my laptop.

❄️๐Ÿ’ฆ RATING: MELTING ❄️๐Ÿ’ฆ


Ratings Explained

ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)

MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)

MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)


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