Telling Lies

2개월 전

Telling Lies is very much a spiritual successor to Her Story, just with a much broader scope and ambition. The general concept is pretty similar - the entire game is basically a simple desktop interface, where you can type in keywords and get results to a collection of videos.

The central gimmick here is that you're a former FBI agent who has access to a whole plethora of video surveillance following a particular undercover agent. From there, it leads to 3 other characters being spied upon. The video footage is pretty creative - from a variety of sources. Some video chats, some spycams, some video logs, some home video footage etc.

The gameplay mechanic is as minimalist as it gets. All you can do is watch a video, learn something, type in a keyword, watch more videos, learn more, so and so forth. There's no helping hand of any kind - you're left completely on your own. That is Telling Lies' greatest strength and weakness.

On one hand, it gives you remarkable freedom, and it's incredibly rewarding to piece the mystery together by yourself, in your own unique way. It also makes it quite replayable, as you can discover the story in many which ways. Unfortunately, the story told here is so complex that it's nearly impossible for all but the most dedicated player to find and piece together every bit of it. Indeed, it's probably going to require several playthroughs.

Most of the game is watching these 4 characters go about their lives, so the acting has to be spot on. And it is remarkably good and consistent throughout. You forget that they are acting, after a while, it truly feels like you are spying on these people, to the extent that it feels rather creepy! The overall plot is engrossing but pretty convoluted - I'd say, overly so for a game like this. As a result, some major plot points and twists feel pretty contrived and unconvincing, though it could have something to do with the order I was discovering them. You see, the game is so open ended that you can find the final twist first, which is basically a spoiler for a lot that came before. Definitely cool, but it doesn't make for the most engaging narrative experience.

Unfortunately, many of the videos take realism and authenticity too far. The game requires a lot of patience to sit through the videos - they unfold in real-time without any editing. Fast-forward is certainly an option, but you never know when you'll miss an important keyword. At first, this level of realism is pretty cool and surprisingly immersive, but it gets tiresome a few hours into the game.

Telling Lies is an uncompromising vision of the "desktop thriller" genre. It is, however, a rare case of offering the player too much freedom and realism for their own good. A bit of "compromise" would have made this game much more playable and enjoyable.

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