Title: She Sees Red
Developer: Rhino Tales
Publisher: Rhino Tales
Official Site: Rhino Tales/Red
Release Date: July 11, 2019
Version Tested: iOS
Once considered a thing of the past, FMV games in the mold of classics like Night Trap are making a bit of a comeback. See Shes Red developers Rhino Tales certainly wants people to see their new title in that light.
Her Story and games of that vein have changed the adventure game genre again. For those not familiar with FMV, it stands for Full Motion Video. In other words, the “game” is really more of a movie.
Instead of graphics, you’re dealing with actual video. Instead of motion capture, you’re dealing with real-life actors.
Where The Walking Dead does center more on decisions being made, you still control the action. The characters are still going to walk where you tell them to walk.
Characters in Telltale games will only pick up items if you press the right combination of buttons. FMVs like She Sees Red allows you to pick a direction the story should go in. Beyond that, the characters play out the script but are not directly controlled.
When one of these titles is done right, you don’t even mind that you can’t control the characters. When they aren’t done well, they are hard to watch. Unfortunately, She Sees Red falls into the latter category.
Old School Mystery
She Sees Red is, at its heart, an old school mystery that, at times, is done very well. The story has two different points of view. There is the mystery man that has invaded a nightclub/restaurant owned by a local mobster.
The mystery man is the person that will follow your directions to a point. He’s the one who you tell to dispose of a body or leave it where it is.
The other point of view is after the fact. A female detective is called into the club. Her goal is to find out what the man wanted, why he was there, and pick up the pieces after the invasion.
For the most part, the mystery is set up rather well. I found myself genuinely wondering what was going on and why the hooded figure was there.
Unfortunately, this is also where the game kind of falls apart. The female detective is very good at her job. Perhaps a little too good.
It appears she’s supposed to be a Russian Sherlock Holmes. There isn’t any explanation as to why she is so good. She notices things even the great detective might have missed considering there’s no real explanation for why she sees them in the first place.
The language barrier is a problem
For the most part, FMVs are very hit or miss when it comes to the story they are trying to tell. Very few of them have a huge budget.
That means that very few of them have top of the line actors, even when the story is very, very good. She Sees Red actors don’t appear to be that bad. The detective has a specific weight about her.
The problem is if you caught that she was Russian. It’s not that she has a hokey accent, it’s that the dubbing leaves quite a bit to be desired.
It would appear the entire cast is Russian and is speaking in Russian. I say that, because the game, at least my version of She Sees Red is in English.
That means I see the actor’s mouths moving when they shouldn’t be. I was never a massive fan of the old Godzilla movies for the same reason. That kind of dubbing takes me out of the story quicker than anything else.
Replayability Isn’t There
One of the significant features offered up in She Sees Red is that there are four different endings to the game. The problem is that it’s going to be hard to play through the game enough to see all four endings.
It’s short, about two hours long, so there is that. It’s just not interesting enough to make we want to see the ways it can end.
Part of the problem is that even knowing this isn’t anything like Become Human, it’s hard to sit and watch for as long as the game asks you to watch it.
Rhino Tales has given a bit of a hat-tip in this direction. After two watch throughs, you can start skipping cut scenes. That still means you have to sit all the way through She Sees Red twice.
That’s about four hours of “playtime” where you make just a few small decisions and sit through bad dubbing and hilarious costumes at parts (one henchman has a scar that looks like he drew it on himself).
Verdict: She Sees Red is a well put together FMV thriller that offers a decently written mystery. The problem is the lack of interactivity takes some of the fun out of it. Seeing words not match up with when the actors are speaking can take you out of the realism of the game entirely. Even as short as it is, this isn’t a game that people aren’t going to want to sit through four times to see all its endings.
- Genuine mystery keeps you guessing as to motive
- Can be completed in a couple of hours
- Dubbing is way off
- Not enough choices
- Story leaves something to be desired