Now Playing: Here They Lie (2016)

So I got that Playstation VR. Aww yeah. Here They Lie is not the most impressive of the many titles I’ve tried out for it so far, but it’s the first one that I’ve completed, so here it is…

Now, a lot of what people are saying about this game is true. It is definitely a flawed game. About the first 1/3 of the game is absolutely boring, having you walk around in empty, colorless areas with almost nothing happening at all.

And I don’t know if it was because of these earlier grey and fuzzy areas or if I just became used to the weird motion of the game over time, but I almost had to put the game down more than once because of motion sickness. No other game I’ve tried in VR has made me feel like this, even ones with more frequent and fast-paced movement. When you finish a chapter in this game, you hit a checkpoint where a chapter end screen comes up and suggests that you take a break. I HIGHLY recommend that you listen to this message, or you’re going to find yourself getting very sick. I felt this effect a little less with each chapter, so like I said, I don’t know if I just got used to it or it was something to do with the way that the earlier parts of the game are so grey and fuzzy and the later parts become more clear and colored.

Making matters worse is the absolutely incomprehensible design choice for turning your character. You look around with your head movements and it changes your movement direction a little, but not enough that you can actually control your character fully that way. No, you have to use the right analog stick to turn and instead of proper turning, they decided to make you pressing left or right on the stick turn your character in blinking 45 degree increments. This is just…insane. Why would anyone want to move like this? It’s not just an ugly effect, but it’s incredibly inaccurate and makes the simple act of turning an unpleasant chore.

Now, luckily you CAN change this to another mode, but this alternate mode is equally puzzling in design. In this mode you can turn in real time, but while turning, the view closes in to a little fisheye view that I guess is supposed to be you squinting? I don’t know. You can see it in action in all these videos. It’s really annoying, but it’s slightly better than the default mode. I have no clue why they thought either of these methods of turning was a good idea.

But anyway, after all that I was about ready to quit this game and move on to something else, but right about then the weird animal people and other strange creatures finally appeared and things began to finally get interesting. The more you play, the weirder it gets, and the more detailed and colored the environments start getting. The game becomes a showcase of jaw-dropping debauchery performed by these mysterious animal people, and then moves on to some absolutely insane, hallucinogenic-style visual set pieces that are just amazing to see in VR.

As much as I think these guys need a good slap on the wrist for their turn design and to work on their pacing a bit, I felt like the second half of the game redeemed it and made it something that was ultimately worth experiencing. It’s definitely not for everyone. You need patience and a strong stomach (literally, for surviving the motion sickness), but for serious horror fans, I’d say the payoff is worth it.

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