Here They Lie

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Here They Lie Game Poster Image
Terrifying, confusing VR experience has many bloody scenes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Depicts acts of depravity but with intention to impress upon players their disturbing nature. Presents moral choices, but player won't know positive, negative ramifications of the choice they make until they make it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters -- including player's -- engage in, often encourage acts of terrible violence. No characters engage in positive behavior.

Ease of Play

All players need to do is walk around, avoid enemies, which isn't very hard. But controlling camera by using both VR headset, gamepad is awkward, makes movement slow, clumsy.

Violence

Scenes include humans viciously beating each other with fists, weapons, hanging three men on a stage, people burned to glowing cinders. Player's character doesn't fight enemies, but non-interactive scenes from first-person perspective shows him beating a man to death with a pipe, dropping a cinder block on someone from a balcony. He also must wade through lakes of blood.

Sex

Terrifying recurring female enemy wearing horned mask is naked from waist up. Players explore a red-light district with signs advertising "nude girls." Several characters pantomime sexual acts, from masturbation to violent intercourse.

Language

Strong language throughout, including "f--k," "s--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters shown holding liquor bottles. Street signs advertise pubs, bars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Here They Lie is a downloadable narrative horror game in which players explore a nightmarish, otherworldly city filled with people carrying out violence and engaging in sexual acts. Several scenes depict beatings and murders, with onlookers egging on the participants. The player's character sometimes engages in these acts, and players see his actions from a first-person perspective made all the more intense by the game's use of virtual reality. The city's red-light district is filled with people engaged in sexual pantomimes, and one of the character's enemies is a topless woman wearing a mask of thorns. Strong profanity -- including "f--k" -- is audible throughout the game. Parents should be aware that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.

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What's it about?

Players step into the shoes of a lost man exploring a terrifying city in HERE THEY LIE. The game begins with the player's character engaged in a brief conversation with a woman in a yellow sundress on a platform. He enters a train, and when he steps off, the world takes a bizarre and terrifying twist. At first, it seems empty and desolate. But as he wanders the streets and alleys, it becomes clear that someone or something is following him. As the game progresses and he enters the bowels of this maze-like urban landscape, he encounters faceless people wearing animal heads for masks. They engage in grotesque deeds of violence, pantomime sexual acts, and even commit murder, often egging each other on. Always lurking close are even more dangerous creatures the protagonist must avoid to stay alive. In a few key scenes, he's invited to take part in the brutal acts occurring around him, and players are forced to make important decisions that will affect the story's final resolution, which takes place after a series of psychedelic hallucinations and a couple of cryptic encounters with the woman in yellow.

Is it any good?

This game excels in creating a freaky atmosphere and filling it with authentically terrifying imagery, but it fails to tell a sound, logical story. The sights players see range from bizarre to truly horrific and are likely to stay with them for a long time, in large part because of the immersive nature of virtual reality. You will feel as though you're in the room with people being beaten, tortured, and killed. Sometimes the game's supremely unsettling nonplayer characters seem to be hovering only inches from your face. One scene where a naked woman wearing a horned mask moves a knife up, down, and around your avatar's body is likely to make you want to flinch. It can be terrifying, which will either be an endorsement or a deterrent, depending on how scary you want your games to be.

Regardless of how you feel about frightening situations and imagery, the real problem is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to most of the things players see. Perhaps they exist solely to make us think, wow, that's super creepy and kind of unsettling. Once you reach the end of the game, you're likely to be left scratching your head and wondering what all the apparent symbolism and metaphors meant, if, indeed, they meant anything all. You're also likely to feel at least a little bit sick, thanks to the way the game was designed. Players can look around freely by moving their heads -- one of the strengths of VR – but also can adjust the camera with one of the control sticks. The result is a dizzying effect that will almost certainly result in nausea for some players. It also makes for slow and clumsy control over movement. The game pauses and recommends that you take a break after each chapter, and it's probably a good idea to do so. That's assuming you play at all. It might be worth it if all you're looking for is a good, adult-oriented frightfest, but if you want something more substantial, you should probably keep looking.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in media. Here They Lie is almost more like a film in that players passively witness most of its violence rather than actively participate in it, but how did you feel when a couple scenes put players in the role of the aggressor, which was intensified due to the first-person perspective and virtual reality?

  • Talk about scary situations. This game is designed to scare people by making them feel as though they're in an unsafe place, so if you feel scared by something, how do you react? What sort of action do you take?

Game details

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