She Sees Red
Genre: Interactive Movie, Action
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 19/08/2020
A code was provided for review purposes
She Sees Red is a title which blends the genres of film and video game. This interactive movie from Rhinotales became available to play on the Xbox platform in August this year. I spent some time over the New Year playing through the different storylines to bring you this rapid review.
A Forking Path
During She Sees Red you view events from two different perspectives, alternating between the murderer and the detective following in their footsteps. You choose the path that the murderer takes through a nightclub and their actions as you relive their evening. Your choices lead to four different endings.
It’s One or the Other
If you’ve played/watched Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Netflix, then you’ll be familiar with the style of play in She Sees Red. Choices with two options are interspersed between passages of film. A timer runs down (in the form of a reducing line) on the screen as the options appear. On the Xbox One it’s a simple affair to make your choice; move left or right using the left thumbstick or the d-pad and press ‘A’ to confirm.
The timer is quite short but I found that there was plenty of time to read the options and make a choice before it ran out. There was a nice balance between selecting choices and time spent watching scenes. I felt able to relax and enjoy the story between the key moments. The plot was intriguing and, having been drawn into the action, I felt invested in deciding the outcome of each playthrough.
Original Is Best
There are different options for the audio/subtitles. In my first run-through I began playing with the default settings – the sound was set automatically to the dubbed English version. I am not a fan of dubbed films in general, I much prefer having subtitles and the original soundtrack. I was pleased to see that this option was available and switched to the original Russian accompanied by (English) subtitles after a minute or two.
When listening with the English dubbing it frustrated me that mouth movement and speech did not match. Additionally, the acting felt stilted, as if everything was just missing a beat. Once I switched to the original audio the actors’ expressions and actions matched their words. Predictably, their lips were also now in sync with the dialogue. It made a big difference. Now I could focus on the story rather than on the constant nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
From Russia with Blood
Some paths through the film are more bloody and violent than others. My first viewing was a relatively tame experience, however the second and third contained some quite graphic scenes of violence. Overall, I think it warrants the PEGI 18 rating. If you are not keen on blood and gore, be ready to cover your eyes in the fight scenes.
A Re-playable Experience?
In a similar vein to many visual novel games, there is a skip scene feature in She Sees Red. It becomes available after your second playthrough. I am generally grateful for this ability in visual novels. However, in this case, I found it more enjoyable to watch the film through again as I selected different options. I spread most of the viewings out over successive evenings. The session I found the least entertaining was the one when I skipped through all the scenes I had already seen to get to the new content. For me, it didn’t feel like playing/watching a film/game anymore, instead, it became a bit of a disjointed jumble. Although, I do appreciate that there are more impatient gamers out there who just want to find all the endings/variations; this button is for you.
If achievements are your thing, you’ll find them readily available in She Sees Red as you try out various choices to find all the different endings. As you discover more of the story you also collect behind the scenes images/footage in the ‘Gallery’ and there is a counter telling you how many scenes you’ve viewed in the film. I think the Gallery is a nice touch to round off the experience.
In my opinion, Rhinotales have put together a successful exploit with She Sees Red. For the content you receive, I think the price is right. This detective themed thriller has enough intrigue to keep you guessing and a good balance between interaction and viewing. It keeps you interested long enough to make you come back to find out the finer details to the plot and discover what might have been. For a film where you can choose the outcome, head over to the Xbox store to get yourself a copy of She Sees Red.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can buy She Sees Red for the Xbox One from the Xbox Store.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.