I’m of the firm belief that Virtual Reality and horror are a match made in heaven. So when I finally acquired a PlayStation VR Headset, Here They Lie was among the first titles I wanted to play.
Developed by Tangentlemen, Here They Lie, is a three-hour, first-person psychological horror game that places you in the shoes of its main character. You’d be forgiven for drawing comparisons between Here They Lie and walking simulators of the same vein. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is one game that immediately came to mind as they both deal with the aftermath of the end of the world. However, whilst Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture rejoices in its beautiful solitude and lifeless environments, Here They Lie’s streets are filled with darkness, blood, and grotesque inhabitants.
From the outset, we are thrown into a sombre and mysterious world that is both visually absorbing and unnerving. The game’s opening moments find you walking through a derelict, post-apocalyptic subway station and as you emerge from the underground darkness to the streets above, you can’t help but gasp in awe at the sheer size of the world you’ve been thrown into.
The game perfectly utilises the VR technology and you find yourself turning in all directions and taking in the scenery just as you would if you were in the character’s shoes. The world around you feels massive and I wanted to explore its horrors it all its monochrome wonder.
Whilst, the game starts off strong, it soon falters under a handful of irksome mechanics and a flakey storyline. Like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (I did say they had some similarities), Here They Lie follows an obscure narrative that is revealed through symbolism and discovering clues that reveal what happened to the world that came before. The problem, however, is the story is ambitious but not particularly engaging or thought out. Imagine a three-hour, avant-garde music video; it’s rife with symbolism but short on context.
Gameplay will be another drawback that I’m sure will bother some players. Interacting with the environment is frustratingly limited and fighting off the creatures that inhabit this world is impossible. If you’ve played walking simulators before, you’ll be accustomed to this lack of gameplay and will either love the game for it or not.
Here They Lie is an encouraging, yet imperfect, foray into the VR horror world. Whilst it does have some interesting overarching themes of morality, the game ultimately suffers from its own ambition as it seemingly tries to fill the first-person Silent Hill void that was left behind when P.T was pulled from the PSN. The game does deliver some jaw-dropping moments but the storyline may be a little too obscure for some to follow, despite the surprisingly satisfying conclusion.
The gameplay may lack diversity but it is an undeniably compelling game and an enthralling world that perfectly uses the VR technology to deliver an immersive experience. Herein lies one of the game’s biggest shortcomings – without the technology behind it, I can’t help but think the end result would simply be a below average walking simulator that is plagued with jump scares.
I can’t say that Here They Lie is a game that players must check out. However, as one of the earlier horror titles available on the PSVR, the game does offer an adequately scary experience for those that aren’t quite ready to tackle Resident Evil 7 in VR.
You can buy Here They Lie from Amazon.