Delve into a strange city with equally sinister inhabitants in Here They Lie, a virtual reality first-person horror experience for PSVR on the PlayStation 4. In this game, players follow in the footsteps of a romance gone wrong and get propelled into a city filled with strange, horrible simulacrums of people.
Developed by Tangentlemen and SIE Santa Monica Studio, and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment is an immersive VR horror experience for the PlayStation VR headset on PlayStation 4.
Fortunately for people without VR headsets, it also has a non-VR experience, but it loses some of the immersion factor that makes it so creepy.
Learn the secrets of a terrible city and a fading memory in Here They Lie
In order to convey the horror, the city is displayed in muted, tepid, monochrome, a space without color or flavor. Here and there, important elements, do get brilliant vivid colors, such as crimson red neon on the walls of what seems to be a brothel or the brilliant Inca yellow worn by Dana, one of the characters.
The use of shadow and darkness is extremely prevalent and atmospheric in HTL. When exploring the city, spaces emerge that might have no light in them, and out comes the flashlight, which helps reveal what is hidden. Like most horror video games, the flashlight reveals only enough to increase the suspense.
Moving through the city is done with a controller, but wearing the VR headset means that the player can look in any direction they choose. The controller turns the body and moves the feet, and the VR headset controls gaze.
The city itself is a character of obscure means, but its inhabitants are even more strange. As the player peruses Dana and her brilliant yellow dress, they are revealed in their perverse, Lotus Eater self-occupation – and sometimes violent interests.
Virtual reality uses the power of immersion to bring horror and titillation together
The story unveils itself slowly. This is done in part with commentary from Dana narrated while exploring the city and with “flashbacks” that take the player into her life and what happened to her. Her “ghost” also appears to be exploring the city, and can sometimes be met when traveling on its crumbling roads, between its grimy, kneeling skyscrapers beneath a dour grey sky.
The PSVR support also provides a powerful, atmospheric use of 3D audio. This makes situational awareness of the city and its surrounds important to the player, because it is possible to die, and some enemies only become aggressive when looked at. With good audio, the game does a good job of indicating where not to look.
To help people overcome VR motion sickness, HTL has a “VR Drive Mode” that reduces the visible region whenever the player turns. However, for some people, it might be better to turn it off and get used to the game in its normal first-person horror grandeur to see if they can overcome any motion sickness they experience.
Here They Lie started creeping out players on PlayStation 4 with PlayStation VR support in 2016.