Here They Lie, for Playstation VR, truly demonstrates the immersion Virtual Reality can provide. There were moments when I actually felt like I was flying out of my body, standing close to a fire (my brain was tricked into feeling heat), or standing close to an attractive woman. In general, a character being physically close to the player has a much stronger effect when in VR. This leads to especially confusing emotions when over-sexualized, Silent Hill-esque, monsters will use their body language to flirt with the player. I often felt a physical presence when this occurred that I have never experienced when looking at a television or computer monitor. This is also effective when some of those same creatures hunt you down, jump on you, and beat you to death. Essentially, being in VR, makes the game more frightening and disturbing than it otherwise might be.
The story is heavily inspired by Dante’s Inferno. It is about a man searching through Hell to find his lost love. However, the temptation of sin may prevent him from achieving his goal. The game’s world is mostly depicted as a series of abandoned villages and subways.
Throughout are scattered pictures that, when picked up, provide audio logs of people speaking about spirituality and philosophy. It is unclear if these were scripted or excerpts from real life interviews. But each picture / dialog discovered represents the tone of the environment in which it was found.
Like many VR games, that provide 360 degree movement, I initially felt motion sickness every time I would have to turn with the right analog stick. However, the game gives the player a couple of options to decrease this effect. One option allows the player to snap the camera into place, when pressing left or right, therefore eliminating the turning motion. But I found this annoying when I desired to investigate a corner of something that I couldn’t quite get straight on. The second option allows the player to turn in the same way you would any first-person game. But in order to decrease motion sickness, while turning, the game gives you a sort of tunnel vision blackening the player’s peripheral view. Personally, I didn’t think that helped. What did help me was being able to dial the turn-sensitivity all the way up (to allow for fast movement), and physically turn my head left and right along with the analog stick. This actually gave me the illusion that I was in control of the turn and therefore eradicated my feelings of motion sickness. To learn more about this method, click here.
There were a couple of bugs that I discovered throughout my play-through. One bug actually required me to restart from the last check point, since I became stuck in the floor and behind a wall. Let me tell you, being stuck in a bug in VR is very…weird. Also there was a bug that I actually began to use as an advantage in the game; If you approach any wall, door, box, etc. and lean in with your head, you can see right through it. I started to use this as a mechanic to see if enemies were gone while I was hiding from them. It was, also, pretty cool to see unfinished parts of each level or un-rendered areas. But, seeing enemies that could not see me, gave me an unfair advantage that it does not seem the game’s designers intended.
Overall, I very much enjoyed my 4 or 5-hour experience playing Here They Lie. If you have a Playstation VR and enjoy psychological horror, then I recommend giving it a try. However, if you’re expecting the polish of a big studio horror game, or a game that has fully worked out the kinks of how to move in VR, you may be disappointed by this effort.