Here They Lie review: Screaming forever
Muted colors, and atmospheric music will have your pulse racing in no time.
Here they Lie is a full length horror experience developed for PlayStation VR, and it is unsettling and terrifying in equal measure. It uses a combination of creepy music that will put you on edge, along with a mostly abandoned city that will have you peering around corners and over ledges.
When the game gets started, things look pretty normal. You board a train that it well lit and runs well. That really doesn’t last though. Soon you’ll be walking — or running — through claustrophobic alleys while…something chases you through the city. The big problem? You don’t seem to remember where you are, or what happened here. Only that you need to find the woman in yellow, Dana. This atmospheric thriller is a great game to try out if you’ve been looking for an awesome horror game to experience on PlayStation VR.
There is no color here
While Here they lie starts out with a brightly lit train station, things go wrong very quickly. Moments after you step on the train, things go dark and bad. One of the biggest elements that adds to the creepy feel, are the graphics. Often in muted blacks and greys, it gives things an almost sepia tone look that evokes the feelings of memory and nostalgia that are woven through the city.
The game can often feel claustrophobic with high walls pressing against you.
When you exit the train, you’ll find a decrepit subway station. If you take a closer look at the advertisements on the wall, you’ll see things like a drawing of a dissected frog. Looking at them for more than a moment, and you’ll notice they start to subtly shift, turning darker and darker as you watch. It’s really ominous and creepy in a low key way, but combined with the lack of color and the dinghy forgotten walls it’s enough to send chills down your spine.
While the graphics aren’t always particularly sharp, this works to the game’s benefit. Out in the city, you’re surrounded by empty streets, and buildings that soar above and below you. Shuttered shops, and detritus litter the street and there are stairs everywhere. While you may not be underground, the game can often feel claustrophobic with high walls pressing against you as you run down alleyways.
One of the few spots of color in the entire game, comes in the form of the woman in yellow. She’s gorgeous, and obviously important to you…you just aren’t sure why. Only that you need to follow her, to find her. Anytime she appears, her dress shines bright yellow which almost washes out the buildings around her more. Likewise, there is light from above her, as though the sun shines directly onto her when she appears.
As you traverse the city, the fact that things have gone very wrong here becomes more and more apparent by the environment itself. The streets are deserted and alleys are often blocked by detritus. It’s also not uncommon to see weathered signs for various shuttered businesses, or broken and bent bicycles that are rusting on the ground.
Caution and speed in equal measure
The gameplay within Here they Lie more or less consists of moving down into the city, and occasionally interacting with specific items. While it isn’t particularly fancy, it really only adds to the tension. That’s because as creepy as an isolated city painted in greyscale is, it’s even worse when you aren’t alone. There is something else in the streets of the city and it does not like you. At all.
The gameplay itself is simplistic, but it’s done in a way that keeps you on edge.
As you descend the many staircases built into the city, you can expect to hear plenty. Birds taking off in flight, the clap as an open shutter is blown about in the wind. Oh yeah, and when that monster is nearby, or behind you, you’ll hear it. More than once hearing the beast nearby had me fleeing as fast as I could run and corner. For the most part ducking into one of the few open doors saved me from being ripped apart, but in one case it caused me to run right into the monster.
The gameplay itself is simplistic, but it’s done in a way that keeps you on edge. Here they Lie also has a great sound that amps up the tension from moment to moment. The music gets more or less ominous at different points, and listening out for the best that wants to kill you might be the only clue that turning that next corner at a spring might not be your best call ever.
This game is equal parts discovery, speed, and caution. There are times when the best is right behind you, and the only real option is to take off as fast as you can and hope that dodging around corners, or through a doorway will let you outpace the thing. Caution is needed though, even if you’re in a fear fueled sprint, because if you aren’t paying attention you can run directly into danger, instead of away from it.
Discovery is at the heart of the game though. When you first get started, the city seems huge and that’s before you even get close to plumbing it’s depths. As you descend into the city, you’ll find breaks in the road, side streets, dozens and dozens of stairways and even catwalks that go both up and down. It’s dizzying, and the first time that you look up at a noise and see a new building emerging into the skyline you get the idea that things are not even close to okay in this city.
Try to remember
The story in Here they Lie is both integral to the game, and a mysterious affair. It’s clear early on that the woman in yellow is important, but you don’t remember exactly why. While you are still in the bowels of the train station, you’ll start to find sheets of paper with typed messages on them.
To call the messages cryptic would be a serious understatement but they all do have one thing in common. Each one is creepy in it’s own way. You’ll find them ever so often in rooms with open doors. Sometimes it is the only thing in the room, while on other occasions it’s just one of several objects you can interact with.
You’ll also receive telephone calls while walking through the city, Each of them comes from a friend who used to live in the city here, but he cannot recall what calamity befell things for the city to turn into an isolated ruin. He’s also the one who puts a name to the woman in yellow; Dana.
He’s quite paranoid though, and it seems for good reason after you discovery of the monster lurking in the streets. He advises you to stay off the streets as much as possible, and to follow Dana. She is, after all, why you are here. There are a half dozen different mysteries all swirling around one another connected. From the mystery of what happened in the city, to why you are here looking for Dana, there is plenty to learn and understand.
Between the tension of a murderous beastie chasing you through the city, and the mystery of what happened here the game managed to drag me in almost against my will. I was equal parts intrigued by the world, and the city I was walking through, and absolutely terrified of what I might find. The first time I came across a splash of color where a section of street had been burnt up was shocking. Every noise that deviated from the soundtrack, and even the soundtrack itself put me on edge.
While I was absolutely terrified, I was also totally in on what was going on. Thankfully, the game has built in spots for you to rest and take a break for a few minutes.These made a serious difference, especially since I was playing sitting down and starting to feel a bit dizzy. Even though the game had me jumpy and on edge, I still really wanted to keep going and try to deal with it. The longer I played though, the creepier things got, and the first time the monster managed to kill me I needed to take a break for a while to calm the hell back down.
Here they Lie does an excellent job of bringing a horror game to PlayStation VR. It’s got an atmospheric vibe that will put you on edge before you’ve even figured out the controls. While the graphics aren’t always particularly sharp, they do give you the feeling of wandering through a broken abandoned city. It delivers an awesome horror experience and intriguing storyline at a great price.
- Great soundtrack
- Creepy atmospheric game that doesn’t rely on jump scares
- Intriguing story
- controls were weird to get used to
- graphics were occasionally fuzzy at edges
- it was easy to get lost or accidentally backtrack in certain areas