Welcome to the world of the Interactive Movie. The Visual Novel plus one. She Sees Red is a thriller that asks the person watching to play along, making choices that alter the course of the movie’s narrative. When live action meets video game, She Sees Red was my first experience with the Interactive Movie format and gave me an insight into a potential future for interactive mediums.
She Sees Red is, by nature, very narrative heavy (a big plus for a narrative fiend like myself). Developed by Rhinotales, the interactive movie is a thriller that follows the story of a murder investigation. You, as the player and the audience, follow a female investigator as she follows clues to get the bottom of what has happened in this night club shrouded in mystery and suspicion. The criminal underbelly that seems to surround this environment is key, and as you unlock a selection of four endings, you as the player can piece together the real truth of what has happened. She Sees Red has multiple endings and I wholeheartedly recommend a player to experience the whole story multiple times to see all of these endings as (without spoiling the story too much!) all endings are vital in knowing the truth. The narrative of She Sees Red, while nothing extraordinary in the crime thriller genre, really benefits from the interactivity. You as the player really feel involved in the few choices you can make across dozens of scenes. While I would have liked to see more narrative branches, more player choice and significantly more endings – I appreciate the delicate balance of keeping this piece of art in its intended format.
Gameplay in She Sees Red is limited. This is to put it lightly. As a player, whilst there is a choice, these choices are few and many of your choices feel rather inconsequential with so few endings to unlock and reach. Those who seek varied, thought-provoking gameplay experiences may feel that She Sees Red is somewhat lacking, or rather not right for them.
Acting was something I was concerned about when approaching an experience like this, but I was blown out of the water by the quality of acting. The characters were brought to life by their on-screen actors. The dialogue felt well picked, occasionally cheesy and cliché, but having the spirit of an interactive medium without showing too many plot-holes. Setting wise, I never felt like the immersion was broken. One thing I feel I have to mention is the experience of watching this with subtitles. As I watched the English ‘dub’ with English subtitles, some syncing was a bit off and not just because of the audio being a dub. Furthermore, the framerate of the movie suffered on the Switch, which is not always the best hardware for this type of project! Nevertheless, She Sees Red utilised its format well to tell a contained, interesting plot that didn’t leave me with too many unanswered questions. Although, a few more loose ends would have been nice for maintaining the tone of mystery.
I was somewhat disappointed in the film’s runtime. This with the scarcity of endings and limited amount of narrative choice meant I could quickly finish this game and felt like I wanted more from this universe. You cannot skip scenes until after the second playthrough, which can mean replaying some scenes. I found this rather frustrating as I tried to play this all in one sitting. I would recommend a player to spread their individual playthroughs over several days to enhance the effect of replaying the same story. Given that the overall piece is of such a high quality, with a fantastic soundtrack that gives way to an immersive experience, I think I really just wanted more. If some user experiences were tweaked to allow for more scenes and less repeat viewing, this would definitely garner more enjoyment.
Something She Sees Red really excels in is definitely the cinematography. FMV like She Sees Red have a lot to give in this regard, directors and creators really can show their talent and power for creating an interactive medium with the subtle narrative devices, lighting and audio cues. The devs/film team has really shot each scene with care and with the context of the piece as a whole. While I would not likely replay this experience any time soon because of its short length and the way the format makes you replay scenes, multiple times – as a compact, singular experience, I enjoyed this Interactive Movie.
It reminded me very much of Erica in this genre, and while experiences like She Sees Red and Erica are new compared to a lot of Video Game genres and formats, I look forward to seeing what creators do with the future of this budding industry. And as for this Interactive Movie, I would recommend it to those who love Narrative – but maybe not those who love gameplay.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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She Sees Red - Interactive Movie Review
Gameplay - 5/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 5/10
User Review( votes)
Interactive Movies are the future, but maybe not the future of gaming for She Sees Red. A great narrative but not enough choice and not enough gameplay.
- Well-written dialogue and narrative.
- A lovely soundtrack.
- Great cinematography.
- Lacking in gameplay.
- Limited choice.
- Poor replayability.