Her Story Review
Initial NA Release Date: June 24, 2015
Review Date: May 21, 2016
Reviewed on: PC
Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS
My experience with Her Story began abruptly and ended abruptly. As the game begins not explaining who you are or why you’ve gained access to police evidence files, you’re just thrown into finding the clue words and filter through video files to uncover what really happened regarding the murder of Simon Smith, the deceased husband of Hannah Smith who stars in the police interviews.
Presentation – Her Story is presented through an interactive movie, filtering through old tapes that were recorded in 1994 is the majority of the game. The slight blurriness and glare of the tapes—an option that can be toggled on and off—is a nice touch that adds to the feel of 90’s video capture, as well as the play on old computer screens.
Since the game revolves around watching police interrogation clips, sounds in the game aren’t too prevalent. There are random background tracks that play after you close out of clips but the main sound in the game is Viva Seifert’s [voice] acting, whom does an excellent job of portraying Hannah Smith as a character.
Gameplay –When it comes to actually playing the game, Her Story doesn’t ask of the player much, simply the goal is to find out what really happened in the case of Simon Smith’s murder. All of the evidence tapes are in a database and the way to filter and find all of them is to insert words that were used in the clips into the search bar. That way as the player listens to Hannah Smith, he can jot down notable words, names or places she mentions in order to find new clips that can piece the puzzle to completion.
The beginning parts of investigation are fun as the player is attempting to piece together clues to make sense of the story but it can get confusing a bit if you are not paying attention to the dates of the clips. Where the game falls a bit is in its later parts, as the database only shows 5 clips per word searched, so becoming more specific in searching is a must during the later stages, making the investigating process a bit rigorous.
My biggest gripe with the game however is pacing, and due to the nature of the game in which it is paced by what clips you find, the whole story can become very confusing if you are watching a clip of the investigation that happens before a clue or piece of information you have not found yet. That outcome forced me to backtrack on occasion, breaking my brain at times. The amount of evidence there is in the database can also become information overload, as there are so many clips, making filtering through them time consuming.
Final Impression – Her Story is definitely unique in its own right. An interactive movie that has an excellent twist and interesting ending. Viva Seifert puts on a great performance during the entire investigation of Simon Smith’s murder case.
However, when it comes down to gameplay, I found Her Story to be a bit confusing and a rigorous process of getting to the end. The story would have benefited if it would have been paced in order and if the search for the clips was opened up for more than just 5 at a time, which is what allotted at the start.
In summary, Her Story is an interesting take on investigative narrative that leaves an impact with a twist and its ending but the confusing and sometimes frustrating system of piecing together the story made my experience with the game one that I did not enjoy as much as I wanted to.
+ Viva Seifert’s Performance
+ Interesting plot
– Confusing pacing
– Frustrating search system
Final Score – 6.0/10 Okay