Her Story is unlike any other detective game I’ve ever played – and I’ve played quite a few mystery/detective games in my time. This unusual title was created by Sam Barlow (who also created Silent Hill: Shattered Memories), a veteran of the game design world and mastermind of suspense and beautifully told stories.
Throughout the game, your objective is to discover what happened to Simon Smith, Hannah Smith’s (a protagonist’s) husband. The player is presented with a police database full of video clips, none of which are in order though I don’t think this actually has any bearing on whether or not you complete the game successfully. Your goal is to watch the video clips and determine what happened to Simon by searching keywords in the database and piecing the story together, bit by bit.
I really enjoyed this game. Like I said earlier, it is truly unlike any detective game I’ve ever played, and is extremely rich in its content and story. I had to break out a notebook and pen in order to write down all the keywords I wanted to search, which I haven’t had to do since playing the last Nancy Drew installment. Games with that level of interaction and thought process make for a really rich experience and Her Story definitely delivers on that front.
The acting by Viva Seifert is phenomenal and watching the many personalities she manages to pull off in the videos is impressive. At times she can be downright creepy to converse with – almost as thought she’s “checked out” of the conversation. However, she truly brings the narrative to life and her spot-on temperament shifts truly draw you into the story and drive you to keep searching out the truth in her interview clips.
The simplicity of this game yet complex nature of its content is what makes it so enjoyable. I found myself obsessively writing down keywords to search with every clip I watched – every name, every address, every potential main subject of any conversation. Sometimes I’d write down three or four words to search just from a ten second clip. Each search term I could come up with led me down a path of more questions that needed answers, but I was driven to learn more and more with every search result. It was an intense trip down the rabbit hole, and an incredibly gripping story that I believe I’ll be going back to again and again – at least until I’ve accessed 100% of the database!
Ultimately, Her Story is a fantastic game, especially if you like playing detective. If you’re looking for a game that has a sort of sure-fire defined “end goal” this game may not be for you… however, if you truly enjoy the experience of piecing together a mystery and truly cracking open a story, this game will undoubtedly provide you with hours of entertainment. Not to mention sharpen your key-word detection skills!