Developed By: Flavourworks
Published By: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Reviewed On: PS4PRO
Erica is a live-action game that was shown off and then surprised released during Gamescom 2019. Holly Earl plays the titular character Erica who has grown up with childhood trauma that took away both her parents at a very young age. Little did she know the past has a way of coming back to haunt her.
Thrilling You Softly
Erica lives alone in an apartment almost withdrawn from the outside world. She is obviously still affected by the childhood trauma of witnessing her father’s untimely death. Unbeknownst to her, a package gets delivered to her front door that contains an ominous warning that pulls her back to the only home she knew growing up, Delphi House. It is there that she realizes that the home she remembers growing up in might not be as she remembered it to be.
I would say that the story in Erica is a tad predictable and oddly rushed at times, but it is fascinating for the 2-3 hours or so that players will spend playing it. Performances are strong across the board but apart from the performance of Holly Earl which is a tad elevated, I found the supporting cast to be perfectly acceptable. It is a short enough ride that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and the variation in choices provide more reasons to do multiple playthroughs. I do quite enjoy the soundtrack composed by the talented Austin Wintory (Journey, ABZU) where it perfectly captures suspense and mystery.
The game plays out like an interactive thriller movie where the player will be asked to make choices throughout the story that will greatly affect the possible endings of the game. Players can either choose to use the DualShock 4 controller or download the Erica App on their smartphone to use it. I found that using my smartphone was easier when it comes to doing the motions due to how much more space there is on my phone to perform the movements slowly as compared to the touchpad on the DualShock 4. At times it can get difficult to accurately pick the choices you want as the cursor can jump all over the place but it is not something that can greatly affect your enjoyment of the game.
What I Liked
- Cinematography – There are some truly beautiful shots in this game. I really enjoyed the clever use of angles and colour that help bring the world of Erica to life.
What I Wished Was Better
- Story – I wish that the developers would have taken more time to flesh out Erica as a character instead of almost thrusting immediately into the story. But I suppose concessions must be made when it comes to these types of games where there are multiple branching paths and endings to chase.
- Lip Sync issues – Oddly enough I think when I first started the game the lip-syncing issues were there. And once you notice it is just something you pay attention to a lot. Thankfully as the game progressed these issues went away.
I think it has been quite a while since live-action interactive games were given the attention they so deserved but honestly, I am kind of glad that we are getting one now. It may not have been the tightest of experiences, but it is a welcome one. I do believe that there is a strong market for games such as these as even my wife was tempted to sit on the couch to give the game a go and unravel the story. For the price that it is being sold at, it is a no brainer for everyone to sit and unravel the mystery together with family and friends.