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Sam Barlow’s Telling Lies is still great on console, but it can be hard to watch in 2020



On my TV display screen, Logan Marshall-Inexperienced is listening intently. I do know of Marshall-Inexperienced, the actor, however I don’t know who Marshall-Inexperienced, this unnamed character, is simply but. He shifts in his seat and chimes in often with feedback to a dialog I’m not absolutely a part of. This continues till the clip ends. He talked about a reputation I’ve by no means heard. I sort it right into a database and wait to see what outcomes come again.

Telling Lies, Sam Barlow’s religious successor to Her Story, launched final yr on PC and cellular units, and this week, it’s lastly out there on consoles. It’s a narrative instructed by means of clips of characters performed by Alexandra Shipp, Angela Sarafyan, Kerry Bishé, and Marshall-Inexperienced, every video a snippet of 1 aspect of a dialog. You, the participant, are an unknown lady digging by means of database entries, a form of Inception-ish conceit, to unravel the story that pulls all 4 of those characters collectively. Telling Lies may be the identical recreation, now introduced over to console, however its once-novel method hits otherwise in a pandemic-ridden world.

In observe, the premise means browsing by means of clips and taking notes of key phrases to go looking which may lead you nearer to some form of reply. There isn’t a clear path. Gamers must piece collectively no matter they discover, nevertheless they discover it.

(This makes it inconceivable to speak about Telling Lies with specificity with out spoiling essential clues. It could take an hour or extra to be taught a personality’s title, for instance, and doing so is more likely to open up much more avenues to discover. A throwaway reference to a metropolis will be simply as helpful the title of a key determine.)

As a cellular recreation, particularly, Telling Lies was an intimate expertise. Even once they’re silent, characters are reacting to the a part of the dialog you’re not aware of. Generally it felt a bit like having a really bizarre FaceTime with a stranger. However blown up on a TV, the expertise feels extra passive, form of like watching a TV present or bumming your approach by means of yet one more Zoom assembly.

The expertise hasn’t basically modified. For units with out contact controls, just like the Xbox One, finger swipes have been swapped for shoulder buttons to rewind or pace by means of movies. There’s nonetheless no approach to instantly begin from the start of a clip, that means you’ll must rewind with vigilance if you wish to watch the entire thing. Given that every clip is half of a dialog, and due to this fact has lengthy silences by necessity, you’ll do quite a lot of skipping round regardless.

Regardless of clips that typically are largely silent or others that you could possibly pretty classify as filler — I can’t say I ever loved one character telling bedtime tales to their child — Telling Lies remains to be as compelling of a narrative because it was at launch. The attract is choosing aside its story, clue by clue. You need to earn each inch.

Nonetheless, there’s one thing uncomfortably acquainted in how Telling Lies makes use of screentime. Video calls at the moment are nearly all of our socializing. Questions of who may be watching our most intimate moments and what these conversations reveal about us are somewhat too shut for consolation. Telling Lies remains to be an engrossing recreation the place you’re taking notes whereas watching individuals speak — however in 2020, that act of watching turns into a a lot greater problem.

Telling Lies is obtainable now on PC, cellular, Nintendo Swap, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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