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The question of whether Telling Lies is voyeuristic or not doesn’t necessarily have a bearing on the quality of the game — I do, in fact, think it’s good and enjoyed it. But the idea that it isn’t voyeuristic is some laugh.
It's crucial to slow down, take a breath, and watch everything, even when I want to rush through to find another clue. On the other hand, Telling Lies provides subtle reminders of the dangerous reality of rifling through stolen, encrypted files, and the level of secrecy required by that act. That tension helps the game crackle with life and urgency.
Telling Lies feels like it's about four times as big as Sam Barlow's previous game Her Story, and it shows. You feel it not just in the four characters you're sifting through footage of, but in the variety of its videos too: from FaceTime calls to hidden cameras capturing secretive meetings. In Her Story, it was famously easy to go down a rabbit hole of sorts on your own intuition; in Telling Lies, that tendency is mechanized in smart, intuitive ways. When it comes to good interactive mysteries, Telling Lies is among the best you can get.
Telling Lies is a game defined by the individual's own terms and parameters, rewarding the wide spectrum of curiosity of anyone willing to put the time and thought into its mysteries.
Excellent acting from actors like Angela Sarafyan (Westworld) and Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation) brings depth and realism to the characters and their stories
I can't stress enough how much Telling Lies might not be for you. Most of it is literally spent watching people talk to a screen, to the point where the puzzle angle, no matter how impressive it might be, might wear down its welcome in minutes. For everyone else, especially avid followers of character-driven art forms, these are performances you can really sink your teeth into while you try to make sense of it all.
Telling Lies is an absolute masterpiece. It offers some brilliant writing and acting that drive us to passionately discover all of its secrets through its very simple but effective mechanics.
Review in French | Read full review
Telling Lies won’t be for everyone and you get out of the game what you are willing to put into it. Having said that, it may just be the most original game you’ll play this year and the performances alone are worth sticking around for.
Telling Lies may borrow its core mechanic from Her Story, but shifting from monologues to two-sided conversations brilliantly expands the investigative gameplay, and a pivot from murder mystery to political thriller gives director Sam Barlow a much richer set of ideas to explore. A few storytelling hiccups and awkward edges do little to detract from a thought-provoking look at the modern surveillance state—delivered not through soapbox lecture but by forcing you, unsettlingly, to participate.
And while I can appreciate this new art form, this story wasn't quite as dramatic as I had hoped for, or at least the sequence in which I saw the events wasn't as satisfying. It's not as long as I thought it might be. With the pluses and minuses here, I see this as an evolving new medium but not one that has yet reached its highest form.
Sam Barlow's BAFTA-snaffling Her Story was a fabulously tight and taut whodunwhat as you pieced together the tale of a mysterious young woman from a jumbled collection of police interview clips.
As it is, Telling Lies’ compelling narrative and phenomenal acting will be enough to spur you on. Searching and scrubbing through videos can be a chore, but it’s worth it, if just for that one tiny piece of information you’ve been waiting to find.
Whether you call it an interactive movie game or desktop thriller, Telling Lies is a gratifying and authentic-feeling fly-on-the-wall experience. For the most part. Exceptional performances and an intriguing, topical story are undercut by a jarring gameplay choice that forces you out of the game when you least want it.
Telling Lies expands on the concept Sam Barlow created with Her Story, with a web of intriguing characters and mysteries, but the more overblown aspects of its plot detract from the personal drama.
Telling Lies makes great innovative tweaks to its gameplay formula, and offers a high-quality live-action adventure, but it completely fumbles merging these two elements together. A word of advice would be to try your hand at the puzzle and discovery for a while, and then eventually just watch the clips outside the game to enjoy the narrative.
Her Story is a tough act to follow, and unfortunately, Telling Lies does not hit the same emotional highs that Barlow's previous game did. Opting to use the same barebones video player both does not make sense for this storyline and introduces an annoyance that players are forced to deal with. The story is still intriguing, but not to a binge-worthy degree. Telling Lies is worth playing for Her Story fans, but can't quite hit those same high notes despite its best efforts.
Telling Lies has an interesting story but is let down by a lack of direction and a clunky UI design. Even interesting characters can save the game, and a watered-down epilogue which is supposed to entice repeated playthroughs just leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
There are two things in Telling Lies encouraging you to continue searching and watching all videos: great performance of actors and finding the truth. However, some weird gameplay mechanisms and story's plot holes keep annoying you from start to finish. And when the game finally ends, you probably start asking some serious questions about the whole story and the logic behind it
Review in Persian | Read full review