Review: Here They Lie (PSVR)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Required
  • PlayStation Move None
Title: Here They Lie
Format: PSN (6.14 GB)
Release Date: October 13, 2016
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Tangentlemen
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: M
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
VR and horror seem like a match made in Heaven or Hell. As PS Nation’s resident coward it only makes sense that I be the one to review the potentially scary Here They Lie.

This is one of those titles that might be called a walking simulator since outside of walking and reading some notes there aren’t a lot of interactions or mechanics to learn. The story is very vague and it takes a long time for the game to get anywhere interesting.

You begin in a train station following a ghost-like woman wearing a bright yellow dress which is important to mention because the game is mostly sepia toned like an old faded photograph. You follow her when she appears and walk around the world picking up notes and telephones when they ring and get a vague sense of narrative from those sources.

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You do this for quite some time before the game lurks into the horror genre with some bizarre antlered human creature popping up and doing some jump scares. You have no way of defending yourself. You can either run away or walk around him.

The experience moves slowly from a gameplay and story perspective. It takes a long time before it goes from walking simulator to horror. After about two hours the story gets bizarre and you end up in probably the most intriguing part of the game.

… a rough experience …
The bizarre area is disturbing. You end up in a town where people have animal heads and it appears to be some sort of Red Light District or slum. Creatures are killing, drinking and doing all sorts of debauchery here.

It was fascinating and I was intrigued in the crazy turn the story took, but there was one problem, I was sick to my stomach.

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Up until Here They Lie I had a pretty good experience with all the games I played using PS VR. This was the first time I felt nauseated and sick to my stomach, and it had nothing to do with the content.

From the start I noticed how “off” the world looked, textures were sort of fuzzy and a lot of them were flickering and popping in and out of the world as I approached them. This is the only game where I’ve experienced that. This was bad enough, but when added to the control scheme it made for a rough experience.

… they both saw the same problems as I did …
The controls involve using the Left Stick to move forward and back and using the Right Stick to turn. That sounds fine except every time you turn in a direction, the game blinks you to that direction. When doing so, motion sickness ensues as all those flickering and popping textures settle after each turn, and they rarely settle.

There is another control option that does away with the turning blink and lets you control it like a standard FPS game, but it still has a disorienting issue. In this alternate mode you can turn blink free, but now the game squints at every turn.

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Thirty seconds using that control scheme made me switch back to the other one and I tried my best to trudge forward only having to take the headset off before I made myself too sick.

I asked Glenn and Dave to try the game to make sure it was not just me and they both saw the same problems as I did. Glenn tried to play as much as he could and even he had to quit because he was feeling motion sickness as well.

… there’s some great artistic talent behind the game …
I wanted to continue trudging forward because the game had grabbed my interest with some of the twists it was taking and it was not as scary as I expected. I tried multiple times to get through it and I was unable to do so.

Visuals:
The world is mostly a washed out sepia tone with only certain colors breaking through like the woman in the yellow dress or the red of blood and fire. I really liked some of the design choices, but could not enjoy them due to all the technical issues.

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The character designs are interesting, especially when you enter the weird animal head people town. It’s disappointing that I was not able to see more of it. You can see in the screenshots that there’s some great artistic talent behind the game. It just tends to get lost in the disorienting issues when wearing the headset.

Audio:
One thing that worked perfectly was the game’s audio design. Here They Lie takes great advantage of the 3D audio with it becoming vital for survival against the main monster you have to avoid.

… every attempt I made left me with a headache …
It’s great design overall. I felt anxiety in some moments when I heard the snarling monster nearby but being able to know exactly where he was just using sound effects is a great and scary effect.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
I wanted to like this game, I really did, but the technical issues made it damn near impossible for me to get through the full experience. There were so many roadblocks, from the textures popping in and out and the textures flickering at alarming rates, to the bizarre design choices made for the control schemes, it all made me sick and every attempt I made left me with a headache.

At this point I cannot recommend picking this up unless something changes. I would honestly prefer to play this on a TV because there is some solid art design and I was intrigued enough with the story that I want to see more of it, just not wearing a VR headset.

Score:
4.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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