In the 90s, Full Motion Video games promised that playable movies would revolutionise gaming. In reality, they were universally closer to grainy low-budget B-movies than playable games: Dragon’s Lair, Mad Dog Mcree or the infamous Night Trap, didn’t offer much in the way of gameplay above timed button presses. Unfortunately, due to this lack of interaction, and short length, they couldn’t live up to the hype and faded into gaming history. However, Her Story is an FMV game that truly engages despite the genre’s limitations.
Her Story has the player reopening an unsolved murder investigation from 1994. The only interviewed suspects were the victim’s wife, Hannah, and her twin sister, Eve. The clues come in the form of videotaped interviews that the player can access and search through using the game’s interface. Searching through the interview dialogue for words (such as ‘lover’ or ‘secret’) will find those interviews which mention them, and the player can view or review the recordings. However, the game is as much about reading body language, as it is listening for spoken clues.
The game environment within Her Story is an old PC desktop which allows the player to search and navigate through the investigation’s video database. The interface is atmospheric but doesn’t get in the way. Although I do recommend a pen and paper to take notes, this is an old-school adventure game format. There’s a mysterious crime to be solved—and you need evidence.
Her Story can be hard work as a game, due to the frequently enigmatic clues and the format’s laborious, repetitive nature. However, Viva Seifert is believable as Hannah/Eve. Her performance and the multi-layered writing really keep you guessing if either or both women are guilty—or not. As a result, the sense of tension and suspicion really drags you in. Highly recommended.