Her Story (2015) | Video Game Review | Tips, Hints, Discussion & Spoilers
Her Story is a video game released by Sam Barlow on June 24, 2015, and is currently available to play on PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone and Android. I bought the game on Steam during a sale for $1, which is an absolute steal considering I got several hours out of it, and found that it is quite an interesting game.
Her Story is about a woman who is being investigated by the police about her husband, who has gone missing. In the beginning of the game, you are seated in front of a computer, looking at a monitor that has several files on it. You can click on the various files, which all help to explain what you have to do. There is also a file already opened, located in the center of the computer screen, that you can type keywords into in order to bring up the video files of the interviews. There is a word already entered into the file search, which is "murder", and it has brought up five video files. You can click on each video play button to play it. Unseen video files have a yellow eye icon on them, and once you view them, the yellow eye icon goes away.
You are supposed to enter in search words in order to bring up the files, but you never know which words you should use; it's basically a guessing game based on words the woman says in her interview. The rules state that you can only view five files at a time, so even though it says you've brought up say, 15 files, you have to find alternative search terms to figure out how to view the rest of the files.
Each video you click on has an option to include your own keywords. My advice is to make use of this feature so you can easily find videos that are significant to you and to the story. I have some helpful tips below about which words, phrases, and descriptions to use if you are interested. You can also click "add to session" at the bottom of each video file in order to add them to your list at the bottom, just keep in mind that you have limited space. I could not find a way to remove the videos from my list once added, so be wise in choosing.
The video files are non-linear, so once you have found one part of the story that seems significant to you, just know that your opinion may change once you discover more videos and thus more information later on. One thing I really enjoyed about the game was how the story changed and evolved as I discovered more information.
This game is complicated, but if you love true crime and kind of want to feel like a detective, this is most likely a game that you'd like. It's not very expensive or hard to play, but it does take some thinking and endurance. The game is really just putting in terms to find video files and putting together what happened in your mind, which is either really interesting to some people, or super boring, so just know that this is pretty much what you're in for if you play this game. I ended up playing if for about five to six hours to completion, but you can break it up into smaller increments if you find that you are getting frustrated or your mind is wandering. It can be a lot to take in at once. Just remember to be patient and let the story unfold, because it sure is an interesting one.
Below, I have included tips and spoilers for those who are interested.
If you need help, here are some tips:
If you need help thinking of search words, here are some useful ways I went about thinking of them:
Pay attention to words used over and over again in the interviews. You will see that they are brought up again and again throughout the interviews.
Proper names: names like "Hannah", "Eve", etc.
Names: names like "parents", "midwife", etc.
Actions: words like "hit", "hurt", etc.
Places: places like "bar", "Glasgow", etc.
Remember that if you use one word, you may get several hits for video files (it may say you found 14 files, but you can only see five at a time), but since you can only see five, add other words so you can try to find the other files listed. The word "attic" is brought up several times, so maybe type in "attic" and "dolls" to bring up specific files.
Make sure to write your own tags in the videos so you remember what happened in them. I wouldn't just write words or phrases, I'd write what happened in them and what I'd noticed as well, so if I went back I wouldn't have to watch them again. For example, if I noticed someone drinking something, I'd write down the beverage name, and what they were doing or how they were acting. This also helped me later when I had found a lot of videos and was trying to remember certain points of the interviews.
(Please keep in mind that this is what I got from the story - it may not mirror other's opinions):
Her Story is a video history of a police investigation into a woman whose husband has disappeared seemingly without a trace. After completing the game, I wasn't sure what had actually happened, and this was alternately aggravating and intriguing, because I could not stop thinking about it.
During the investigation, I learned that the woman either has an identical twin or is a multiple personality, and the interviews never quite explain which one is correct. The story went that the woman or women being interviewed were Hannah and Eve. Hannah and Eve were born to a woman who thought she had given birth to one baby, and either thought the other baby didn't exist (she supposedly didn't know she had twins) or thought the other baby was stillborn (I wasn't able to determine which was the case because the woman said both).
The midwife (Florence) helping the woman with her delivery of the babies took the baby and raised her as her own. Florence had lost her husband to the war, and she always wanted a baby, so she thought that that was her chance to have one. Florence named the baby Eve, and since Florence lived across the street from the woman, Eve grew up seeing her sister (Hannah) grow up before her eyes, not sure if what she was seeing was her reflection or if Hannah was real.
Florence raised Eve in the house, and never let her leave. It wasn't until Eve was eight years old, Florence fell down the stairs and died, and Eve went across the street to try to live with Hannah. Now, I'm not saying that Eve (if she exists) killed Florence, but it was awfully convenient for her to die at that time.
Once Eve went across the street, she met up with Hannah, and Hannah hid her in the attic. Eve successfully hid and lived in the attic for years without her parents ever finding out about her existence. Hannah eventually got pregnant by a guy named Simon, and was told that she had to get married and live with Simon's parents until they could get a place of their own. Hannah eventually had a miscarriage (again, suspicious), and Hannah and Eve's parents died via mushroom poisoning in their own house.
This was suspicious as well because Hannah and Eve's dad was a mushroom expert. Conveniently, Hannah and Simon moved into Hannah and Eve's parent's house after their deaths, and Eve, although still a secret, began to wear a wig in order to go out and live a more normal life.
Eve got a job singing at a club, and Hannah lived with Simon, married and hoping to have another baby. One day, Simon went to the club where Eve was singing and became fascinated with her likeness to Hannah. Simon kept visiting the club until he convinced Eve to hang out with him and eventually they kissed. Eve and Simon eventually slept together, and Eve became pregnant immediately.
Simon also impregnated Hannah soon afterwards, and Eve initially told Hannah that she was pregnant too, but by another man. Eve eventually told Hannah that she was pregnant by Simon, and Hannah confronted Simon (it gets a little complicated as to whether she killed him and made up the twin story to confuse the police or if she's a multiple personality at this point) and killed him. She put Simon downstairs in the cellar and hid him, then told the police he was missing.
The rest of the story was pretty confusing for me. I wasn't sure if Hannah and Eve were the same person, or if they were twins, covering for each other. The last set of interview tapes seemed like they were all Eve, and Eve set it up so Hannah could get away since Eve wasn't supposed to exist and therefore the cops couldn't pin the murder on her, or if Hannah and Eve were the same person and Eve had successfully "killed off" her alternate personality in order to absolve herself of the murder psychologically and emotionally.
So who is watching the videos in the game? It turns out the person is either the daughter of Hannah and Simon or Hannah and Eve, who is named Sarah. It is my understanding that she asked someone to help her get into the police files so she could understand why her mother killed her father (or why her sister helped her mother try to cover up her father's murder, I'm not sure). There's not really an explanation about that once you finish the game, so that's the conclusion I came to.
Would I play this again?
Yes, I would play this game in the future to see if I came to a different conclusion the second time around. It is a mentally heavy game, so it's sort of like reading an intense book; you have to be prepared to really think and pay attention, and let the story unfold without trying to rush it.
I got a little frustrated with not being to unlock videos as fast as I wanted to because I was so desperate to figure out the story, but I noticed if I took a small break to think, then came back, the search words would just come to me and I enjoyed the story more. I hope if you are thinking about playing this, you will give it a shot.
Did I like it? If so, why?
Yes. The reasons I liked this game so much was that I love true crime and learning about police investigations, forensic science, and court cases. The story is very confusing at first, as you have a lot of video files to find and it is like putting a puzzle together; you can't see the whole picture until it is complete, and you may draw the wrong conclusions if you try to put the story together before you have all the information. The story itself is really good, and it makes you wonder if you came to the right conclusions after you have all the information. It brings forth discussion if you play with another person or a few people, which makes it even more fun in my opinion.
Did you play this game and finish it? What did you think of the story? What are your theories of what happened? Please share your comments below!