Overview of Immortality. Life and immortality of cinema
The players, who remained delighted with Her Story and met Telling Lies noticeably cooler, have long been waiting for a new creation by Sam Barlow. The creator, who in his author’s creations prefers to work and show live actors, invites players to find out the “second bottom” – the true story of what is happening on the screen.
With Immortality, Barlow went further than in his other interactive films. The game promised to be bigger, more beautiful, and noticeably more diverse. In addition, now we operate not with words, but with images: the appearances of actors and their characters, as well as objects – not all, but those that may interest the players. Also, while you almost always feel like the truth is out there, the story has gotten noticeably deeper.
So, let’s see how Immortality wants to surprise, please or upset us.
The life and suffering of Marissa Marcel
Meet this sweet and innocent aspiring actress who appears before us, the name is Marissa Marcel. The heroine is still very young and inexperienced, but she is already getting a key role in the religious drama of the famous director. Having shown herself far from being as simple as she might look at first, Marissa is waiting for new offers – to participate in two more films. Which, like the first, will never see the light of day.
Initially, the game poses two clear questions to gamers, which our little gray cells will help answer: what happened to Marissa Marcel and why the tapes with her participation were never released? But as we progress, we, as expected, will begin to notice certain oddities and patterns that will help to better understand what is happening on the set in the context of global history.
The developers treat their creations with care, and it is very difficult for a reviewer to write about Immortality, trying to both tell what awaits the players and protect them from possible spoilers. Therefore, for example, the screenshots in this article are either published by the creators of the game themselves or taken from trailers.
Filming took place in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1999. The video and sound quality will match!
However, you soon realize that the stories of minor characters are becoming much more interesting for you: what happened to this director, how do relations develop between this cute couple, what does this seemingly most unpleasant actor look like in life? .. The game shows us, people, what they are – but in the world of pretense and play, they appear to us surprisingly honest, familiar and understandable.
A minute ago it hurt you to look at this actor, in five minutes you will hate him, and then he will seem to you such a person that it will be difficult to let go and move on. This is both a plus and a minus of the game: sometimes the acting work is simply phenomenal, and you really believe, and sometimes you can’t help laughing, looking, for example, at another shocked expression on the face of the hero of the first film. However, the contrast between the excellent and lousy performances of the same people can only speak of their level.
And because of this, the player experience becomes brighter: we may feel shame for what is happening on the screen, we may hate the characters, we may not like the movie … but in the end, we will see the actors themselves, people in real life, their relationship with each other when the director said its “removed”, and this image can evoke completely different emotions. And if you really look closely and listen… The game does an excellent job of immersion
Watch, listen, and rewind
As already noted, the authors of Immortality now focus primarily on the visuals, and not on the text. This does not mean that the heroes have nothing to say (sometimes you listen to them with bated breath, and sometimes you find a video you have already watched in order to really understand what was said) – it’s just that the game is built primarily on images, the picture itself.
Barlow’s team has created three films for Immortality with themes of religion, relationships, sexuality, and art. At the same time, it is important to take into account the era of tape production, so we immediately warn you: the game is intended for an adult audience, there are many moments here that will make you feel at least uncomfortable, a lot of explicit scenes and violence, as well as bright characters that you will not meet in traditional chaste society.
However, large pieces of information will not be dumped on the player: everything is presented gradually, as a rule, in very small videos. After seeing the picture, we will be able to pause and identify “clickable” objects or people – by clicking on the button, the players will find themselves in another scene with a similar thing or the same person. We will also be able to see a collection of all open videos, moving through it in any convenient way and, for example, highlighting the most important videos or sorting them by date of shooting or place in the plot of the movie.
Choose the desired scene and see what it can hide.
But the real magic happens not in this network, but in each specific video: armed with eyes and ears, players must pay attention to details (although the developers slipped a lot of meaningless items – if you click on everything, you won’t go far), not forgetting about rewind. You can both speed up videos and slow them down several times. The same thing works in reverse: rewinding is just as important here as moving forward.
The developers offer functionality sufficient to choose your own unique path, follow it to the end and reveal all the secrets – obvious and far from obvious. And even after playing Immortality for a few hours, maybe you will find something new for yourself that will help in the further passage.
Another thing is that over time the game turns into a banal “click on everything to find scenes that you have not seen yet.” And you watch the same videos over and over again, pausing to pay attention to this or that thing … But, in fairness, for the most part, this problem is solved when you start looking at the situation from a slightly different angle.
Another obvious problem that makes the game less accessible to a Russian-speaking audience is the lack of localization into Russian. But to understand what is happening, an acceptable knowledge of English is sufficient (the ability to listen and read subtitles), as well as, if necessary, the help of an online translator. Since the developers have focused on the picture, emotions, and atmosphere, the role of text here is much less than in Her Story and Telling Lies.
And one more important nuance – for the correct operation of the game, free up at least 20-30 more gigabytes of additional space on your hard drive.
Plots and History
After about a third of Immortality, I made a few guesses about what is happening here and how it could all end. And half of them came true. The game does not offer a riddle that requires you to rack your brains properly: you will be able to answer the questions posed initially relatively quickly. But as you get answers, you’ll get more questions, and you won’t rest until you know how it all happened.
Despite the fact that the plots of the films are quite simple, it is very interesting to watch them: how did this hero suddenly find himself on the verge of death, what happened to that pretty lady, what is the heroine Marcel capable of in this situation? we are shown what will happen in this scene, but the action takes place in some kind of artisanal conditions. It’s amazing how simple words in a foreign language, simple emotions, and a good game can immerse you.
And Immortality itself, meanwhile, will ask you more and more questions, offering its own view of both a specific situation and global events in general: constantly pushing representatives of the “power” who are hungry for power and control, and individualist creators who live for love and prosperity the world and your loved ones. The battle between these parties will go on with varying degrees of success, and it is not known whether a winner will appear in this eternal war.
Sam Barlow and the Half Mermaid team have created a game that invites us to be more than just a detective trying to solve another case of murder, kidnapping, or even a threat to an entire country. Immortality tries to be higher and better than its predecessors, and in many ways, it really succeeds: you immerse yourself in the game with your head, and even after some time after switching to other things, you continue to think about what is happening.
Without certain problems of Immortality, including the absence of the Russian language on the release, the rating of interactive cinema would have been much higher. But I want to believe that Barlow, the developers, and the actors who participated in the work on Immortality will receive their share of recognition and admiration. It is unlikely that a game that speaks of immortality will itself become truly immortal, but it has every chance to live a long and bright life.
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