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Posted June 22, 2016 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature
 
 

E3 2016: Here They Lie PS VR Preview


Here They Lie is an interesting and offbeat PlayStation VR title, developed as a side project by Santa Monica Studios. It’s a surreal horror experience, the demo at least involving the exploration of abandoned subway tunnels underground, which if Jacob’s Ladder and Silent Hill 3 taught us anything, is a fantastic setting for a scare.

I only played a short demo at Sony’s E3 booth, but it was enough to get a glimpse into what Santa Monica are intending for players. You don’t have much control apart from interacting with certain objects such as doors and turning your flashlight on and off, as you slowly walk around the environment. Obviously, you can look around in VR, but to turn around, you use the right analogue stick. This doesn’t rotate you as such; instead the screen fades to black and back up again to reveal you facing the direction you pushed the stick. This is a bit less disorienting than spinning the camera can be in other VR games, but it also makes things very tense – especially in one moment when a bad guy creeps up on you from behind, and you have to turn to face him… Each fade to black as you slowly turn around ratcheting up the fear.

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The enemies stalking you throughout the demo appear to be people wearing animal masks, wielding pipes and other weapons. You can’t attack them, you can only run (or as is the case in this demo, slowly walk away, which I found less than helpful). The subway tunnels warp and shift as you explore, deepening or even closing around you.

One key sequence involves you finding a giant subterranean cavern which the tunnels jut into, which is filled with enemies and (for some reason) a floating shark. Heading the other way down the tunnels  finds you facing a giant starfield, underground. This is where the demo starts to play with space a little bit as well, as you turn around to find the tunnel closing around you, and no escape.

The demo ends in this room, as the floor is covered in blood, and a subway poster on the wall subtly shifts as you try to leave, depicting a blurred figure slowly making his way closer and closer. Eventually he emerges, revealing a hatted shadowy man who grabs you and finishes you off, ending the demo.

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Given there’s not much to do except walk slowly and switch your light on and off, Here They Lie seems to be a story-centric experience in the vein of Gone Home or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. There are a lot of creative elements at play here, and it certainly seems to be intended for people looking for a very different and a very creepy experience. It’s due out in 2016 for PS4 and PlayStation VR.


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.


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