High concept games are becoming more and more popular. With less of a barrier to entry, this has opened game designers up to several new and inventive ways to create a story. In many ways, Her Story might be one of the next great leaps in how video game stories are told.
Her Story is a difficult concept to wrap your head around. You are sitting in front of a computer screen, searching through a databank of interrogation clips related to a murder. Clips are broken up into a few seconds to a few minutes. They aren’t presented in a linear manner, but rather you use each clip as a jumping pad to search for new clips.
In one clip, the person being interrogated, named Hannah, may make mention of a wig and how it was blond. You can then use the search bar to seek out video clips that mention the word blonde or wig. In this way, you have a bit of control of how the story goes.
If the murder aspect of the case is what really interests you, you can try searching for keywords related to the murder. However, if you are more interested in who Hannah really is, you can go down a massive rabbit hole of discovering her past. It creates a non-linear way of telling a pretty linear story.
In many ways, though, this might be the games biggest flaw. For as interesting as the story becomes, it lacks any real direction. You choose how you want the story to be uncovered, but because of this, you can discover some of the games larger secrets fairly early on while playing. This clears some of the mystery and tension very quickly.
The FMV video clips, however, are incredibly well produced. The actress playing Hannah does a great job of playing the character. Additionally, the production values make it feel like you are watching really old footage that might have played on a murder documentary. There are scan lines and the closed captions have an incredibly similar font to what they typically use on shows about murder mysteries. Sam Barlow, the writer of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (the only near universally well-regarded American Silent Hill game) wrote the story and it is better for it.
Her Story is really incredibly unique with its approach to telling a story. While it may not qualify as a “game” to some people, it feels like an incredibly well-developed puzzle game. You have a thought of exactly what word you should search for and it leads you down into the depths of the games narrative. Her Story benefits tremendously from its focus on doing only a few things but doing them really well. It has a low price of entry and really is something that any fans of story-driven games should look into.
SCORE: 9.5 out of 10
A code for Her Story was provided to Pixel Related for this review.