Watching Is Playing
HIGH Frequent time jumps put choices in a unique perspective.
LOW Intervals between choices can take several minutes.
WTF Are these professionally-created fight scenes??
After playing She Sees Red, I’m not convinced that I’ve actually played anything. It’s an interactive live-action movie, which means the player is presented with choices as the scenes run.
The idea of the genre is that the player can impact the course of events and watch what unfolds, but there’s precious little to do here. I’ve encountered fewer than ten choices in every playthrough, each one offering only two options, and many events occur (and reoccur) regardless of the path I choose. Worse, there can be a lot of watching between choices — sometimes over five minutes — which gave me ample time to get myself a cup of coffee while I waited for something to do.
It’s not too bad at first, but Red clearly states that multiple runs are necessary to unveil the entire plot, so these intermissions are tedious repetition after the first viewing. To make matters worse, there’s no skip buttons or path map to help guide players to the content they haven’t seen. Maybe these issues wouldn’t have been as serious if the story was good enough to keep me interested during multiple runs, but it isn’t — this story-driven game has no drama.
Drugs, love interests and mafia-like business take center stage in She Sees Red, but the plot about a nightclub being infiltrated by a criminal killing everyone in his way is a shadow of what it would be in a film covering the same territory, and most of my negative observations come from Red’s lack of ambition — the content isn’t about storytelling or learning character motivations, but more about who lives and who dies.
The player directs the criminal in many of the choices, but the outcomes are shown via a second character with a detective’s perspective. As a decision is made, Red makes a time leap to the moment the detective arrives on the scene and deduces what happened in a particular room. What follows is usually a sequence of perspective changes between crook and the police. It’s an interesting gimmick to be able to view the long-term consequences of my rash decisions as the criminal, but it doesn’t make up for the narrative flaws.
Apart from the fate of the characters, the focus of She Sees Red as things proceed is ostensibly on the thrill of uncovering the criminal’s trail, but lines are delivered robotically, scenes are created incidentally and the story just drags on without anything propelling it forward.
While saying more specifics would be spoiling things, what I can say is that my first run was disappointing and the subsequent replays were even duller. Despite offering multiple endings, none of them made up for the tedium of sitting through it. I simply felt nothing for the characters here — no hate for the bad guys and no desire to keep the good ones alive, and this apathy is a serious problem for a title that hinges on its story.
Also worth mentioning are the dreadful fight scenes. Blood, fists, weapons and bodies fly in gory fashion. It’s as generic as can be and only confirms my feeling that Red is an uninspired mess that wouldn’t cut it even as a low-budget movie.
I am thoroughly disappointed with She Sees Red. It’s an irrelevant, irritating adventure that is unlikely to please even serious fans of the FMV genre.
Disclosures: She Sees Red was developed and published by Rhinotales. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PC. Approximately 3 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: She Sees Red has no ESRB rating. Nudity, gore, blood and knives are explicitly and frequently shown. It’s not a terrifying horror movie, but has the elements to make this an experience appropriate for a mature audience only.
Colorblind modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game is dialogue-based and fully subtitled. I’ve played through the game with English subtitles. I’ve tried playing without sound and found no considerable obstructions. I’d say it’s fully accessible.
Remappable controls: There are no remappable controls. Only the left mouse button has to be used, and ESC will provide a pause menu. And honestly, less than ten clicks will complete She Sees Red. Also, even if the player misses a click, the game randomly chooses.
David has had a passion for writing since childhood, but rather than writing stories, he started reading them and figured that the only way a Harry Potter universe would truly come to life would be in a videogame. His favorite genre in literature, dystopian fiction, seemed to have especially unlimited potential in this new medium. Despite appreciating and regularly engaging with many different art forms, David's dedicated himself mostly to the playable one.
Born and raised a Dutchman, David can tell you everything about 'stroopwafels' and what it's like to live in the liberal capital of the world. That is, if he isn't holed up in his room and enjoying the American entertainment industry.