Her Story Review
Uncommon gameplay allows Her Story to shine
I've always been a lover of indie games. In particular, I enjoy indie games that use unique concepts I've never seen before. Her Story was one of those needle in the haystack types. While it isn't a household name, it is definitely still worthy of positive attention.
I don't want to give away too much of the story since figuring it out yourself is the best part. I can tell you however, that Her Story features recorded police interviews with a woman revolving around her missing husband. The actress in these videos, Viva Seifert, brings a compelling performance to the game. In addition, the story that the game tells features enough plot twists to keep even the most doubtful soul involved.
Her Story walks a fine line between video game, and something else entirely. It's a sort of interactive video library in which you use search terms to discover even more videos to watch. This is an objective that you essentially have to teach yourself. The game starts with its dated desktop computer view, with a database open. A search term (MURDER) waits patiently in the database for you to click enter. Once you do, it brings up five video clips for you to watch. As you view these clips (some as short as three seconds), a story begins to unfold. This story, "her story," is what really hooked me into the game. All of the typical climax moments that you would find in a linear tale were much more gratifying in Her Story. There was a fantastic sense of accomplishment in having found it yourself. Nothing is revealed to you in a planned way, you could find defining moments faster than someone else, or they might not learn something you did in the beginning of your playthrough. The lack of firm explanation at the beginning of Her Story might lead to a learning curve for some, but it's worth it if you give it your all, and plow through the original uncertainty.
Listening, and furthermore retaining, are the most crucial skills one has to master to succeed at Her Story. When watching the video clips in the game it's important to listen to what you're hearing, and retain key words that you can use to search in the database. It is only with these key words that the game can continue. Personally, I kept a growing list of search terms in a different program as I watched the videos. Then I referenced that list whenever it was time to make a new search in Her Story.
Once you get to an acceptable amount of videos watched, a messenger will pop up asking you if you are finished. I replied "no" since I wanted to discover more within the database first. A database checker on the in-game desktop shows how many videos you've unearthed. When I ran out of ideas for search terms, I then responded to the mysterious messenger with "yes." That concluded my playthrough of Her Story quite contentedly. Now that I have finished the game, I've made it a personal mission to find every single one of the available videos. This is obviously not necessary to finish the game, but Her Story brought out my inner completionist.
While Her Story isn't your typical video game, it features an incredibly unique form of gameplay. It can take some getting used to, but the way it rewards you for listening is very fulfilling. I finished the game without finding every single video, and still felt that I had a firm grasp on the tale that Her Story had to tell. You can always go back after completing the game to find more videos, so this was certainly not a negative point. And with a price tag of $5.99, you really can't go wrong with Her Story.