The great genre of horror; suspense, terror, unnerving visuals… When it comes to horror, it’s hit or miss – There’s no middle ground.
When it comes to the games that go bump in the night, there’s few titles that evoke the word ‘great’ to a broad spectrum of the world. Whether it be a movie, book or game, horror is a hard genre to do well. You’ve got your atmospheric masterpieces, ala Silent hill, your cosmic classics, like the works of Edger Alan Poe, or the brilliant mind of Guillermo Del Toro.
…So where does the surreal walking simulator through hell ‘Here They Lie’ fall on the spectrum of horror? Well, let’s delve into this under-talked little experience. Here They Lie is a walking simulator originally designed for VR when it first came out, following the journey of a man with some tragic or unfair life, who traverses what can only be described as his own surreal purgatory or hell. Transposed as a massive, de-saturated city of some sort, with sprawling tunnels, twisting dead end streets and narrow, maze like back allies.
It’s more in the atmospheric vein of horror with lots of subtle sounds, disturbing or bizarre imagery and spooky vibes. As you go through the maze of a city, devoid of any semblance of humanity, you constantly hear the narration of a heavenly and womanly voice, urging you on, talking about things in your past, eluding to a regret of some sort, possibly a failed relationship… I wouldn’t know, however, as it’s a surprisingly long game, and I have yet to finish it.
As you go through Here They Lie, you do encounter beings of some sort; two distinct sorts, some sort of fast moving daemon thing that’s always obscured by shadows, and human looking people who wear grossly realistic full-head animal masks. They all act like aliens, or at the least inhuman, grunting, growling, whimpering and groaning… It’s rather unsettling, and of course all the sins of hell or whatever purgatory this is are on full display; from lust to wrath – The people you encounter, if you can call them that, are not to shy about getting violent. Most act aggressively, some not so much. Maybe there’s some meta-political statement to make? Those who wear predator masks act aggressive and uncaring, the ones wearing prey masks act meek and afraid, and so forth.
It’s a good title overall, but nothing to really brag about; it’s not too heavy on scares, but it’s got good atmosphere which more than makes up for it in spades. Most of the time you just feel alone, the landscape around you making you feel off put or uneasy. It is honestly nice to see some effort put into games of the horror genre, as I think many of us were very upset to hear that Silent Hills was cancelled – Though I’m sure Death Stranding will stand out above most of the crowd for what it’s trying to achieve.
The colour pallet is heavily de-saturated, near monochrome, which makes the blood stains and humming flouresant lights stand out all the more starkly – That being said, there’s no fighting; there’s not much of anything really. It’s a walking simulator. The haunted house ride at Disney. It moves at one speed, and that speed is dawdle – Aimless and unabated wandering akin to that of an old lady with an A-Frame. I feel it also goes on for longer than it necessarily needs to… Which quickly gets tiering as well.
Published by Sony Interactive and developed by Tangentlemen and SIE Santa Monica Studio, Here They Lie was a 2016 VR release for the PS4 and PC, with a non VR edition released later on in early 2017.
If you’re looking for what is essentially Dear Ester on a bad acid trip, then this is a good game to try out. That being said its irritating pace and unnecessary length makes it wear out fast.
All that being said, I still give it a 7/10, because it’s not a bad horror game.