Erica | PS4 Review. - Elle May

Breaking

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Erica | PS4 Review.

A young girl named Erica can barely be seen behind a rainbow of dark colours

Publisher: Flavourworks
Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
PS4 Review

Now and then I enjoy playing PS Plus games as we get given some decent titles to play, this month one of the games available was Erica, this is a game I have had my eye on for a little while now so being able to play thanks to my PS Plus membership was a big help for me. The concept of the game stood out for me as its an FMV game which stands for Full Motion Video, the purpose of these types of games is to let players play with real-life people, it's a different way to play games and one that makes you feel like you're playing through real life, as a huge movie lover merging both video game and movie together opens up a whole new world for video games. A good example of this is the episode of Black Mirror called Bandersnatch which much like Erica lets you play through and make choices for the character whilst playing as the main character which leads to different endings, the concept appeals to me as it's a different way to explore a story whilst also using real-life humans.


Because of this, the game has chosen to be accessible, rather than making you press a button on your controller constantly you're given the option to use the touchpad or connect your phone using PlayLink which allows you to use your phone as a controller, I couldn't be bothered to faff around with my phone so chose the PS4 controller. It took a bit of getting used to but it was a nice change to just be able to move my finger across the touchpad to make a choice. Accessible gaming is important, we should all be able to enjoy and be able to immerse ourselves in video games even if we are able bodied or disabled so a big thumbs up to this feature!


From the start of the game, I felt uneasy, the atmosphere set makes you feel as if there was something off-putting about young Erica's situation one that I couldn't shake until I got further into the game and realised why I felt this way. Early on we see how troubled and alone Erica is, she is very withdrawn and timid but tries to keep herself to herself, it's clear how badly traumatized she has become since seeing her father dead and she is always on guard due to this. They definitely chose the right actress to play her, the facial expressions on Holly Earl's (who plays Erica) face help make the game feel a bit more realistic, situations at times can feel like they drag on but the game gives you as much time as it can to help make your choices.

(Erica)

There are a lot of choices to make throughout the game so you can play as much as you want to see where each choice makes you, this will also give you trophies, so even though the game is roughly 2 hours long it has a lot more playtime potential than I first realised. The story that follows was unexpected, Erica now an adult lives on her own, both her parents are dead and due to seeing her father murdered Erica doesn't seem the kind of girl to make friends easily, her past is haunting her and has come back in the worst possible way. She receives a hand in the post holding a medallion and the hand has the same carving in as her father's chest when she found him murdered, what does this mean? Is someone trying to threaten her or warn her? 


Her father died in Delphi House which holds many secrets and years on from his murder she is now taken to this location for her own protection, the house now houses some troubled teens who clearly have a number of issues that are being kept under control by the staff at Delphi house. Erica is welcomed with open arms there but not everything is as it seems and there is a darker past and present that surrounds the house, for me, this felt very predictable, but what takes place there is something I couldn't have guessed which kind of makes me believe the story wants you to believe you know exactly what's going on yet there is much more to the story than I thought.

The setting used was able to create a great atmosphere, there is something about creepy old houses that makes you instantly know there will be a hidden secret inside which is nothing new when it comes to thrillers or horrors. You can tell Erica loved that house once upon a time but she is finding it very difficult being back there, she can be snappy at times even though she is timid and her trust in people is pretty non-existent but thanks to the interactive storytelling you feel like you're in her shoes and have the choice to let her snap back and come out of her shell. 

(Hannah)
(Tobi)

I was disappointed that you're not able to go back to a choice you made and change it if need be, this is what forces you to play through the game again and think about what choices you made before instead of reminding you. What stands out most in the game was the acting, the cast did such a great job of portraying their character's, the girls in Delphi house were all very unique with their personalities, Kirstie who is obviously a very anxious young girl who needs a lot of help showed how fearful she was throughout the whole game, I wanted to protect her at all costs. The girl who plays Tobi is from The Missing, one of the best TV dramas I have watched, she plays the real Alice Webster in season 2, I highly recommend giving the show a watch it's pretty intense and full of twists and turns you wouldn't have seen coming, Tobi doesn't care what she says to anyone and knows that whatever is going on is going to get worse. 

Holly portrayed Erica perfectly, her expression in her eyes is what I focused on a lot of the time, she is able to bring out so many different emotions for each scene, her uneasiness is what helped me with my choices throughout the game, at times I felt I was going against her wishes so with my first playthrough I chose what I thought would make her most comfortable. Hannah was the character that I felt was putting on a persona, she is very happy go lucky and tried to see the good in every situation, there was more to Hannah than meets the eye thats for sure. 

(Kirstie)

For a two hour game, Erica is one that I could happily revisit and play through over and over again to see if I missed anything previous times I have played, I'm glad that it has different endings as one ending for Erica would be too final for the story. I do want to advise those who have gone through trauma to beware when playing this, there are some graphic parts and it could be triggering for a number of people. I really want to do a gameplay video of it at some point, hopefully, this time I will remember what choices I made before and see where my next choices take me. 


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