Immortality is finally available on PS5. And if you’re a fan of FMV games, you might want to check it out. Emphasis on the might, though, as there’s nothing else like it out there, for better or worse.
Created by Sam Barlow, a name that you might be familiar with thanks to the brilliant Her Story, Immortality grabs your attention with its call to find out what happened to Marissa Marcel. An up-and-coming actress, she apparently made three films before dropping off the face of the earth. Even weirder, the three films were never released. You’ve now been given access to them, however, as well as some behind-the-scenes snippets. Might you gleam what happened to Marissa Marcel by examining these videos? That’s the aim.
What’s weird about Immortality is how you navigate through the many hours of video footage you have at your fingertips. While you think it might make sense to watch all three films in their entirety, and then their accompanying behind-the-scenes extras, instead you jump from one scene to another, linked only by an image. After watching an initial scene you’re free to scrub back and forth until a particular part of the image grabs your attention. You can then click on whatever’s caught your eye to see where it leads you.
Some might find such a system ingenious and revolutionary; a way of navigating through the experience via intuition and intrigue. For others, though, it may soon simply feel like you’re clicking on random things in a pointless manner, hoping for something to click. You see, Immortality is a million miles away from Her Story: while in that you were foraging through footage, seeking out actual evidence to back up whatever thoughts or leads you had, here you’re often just watching film scenes that offer nothing little more than cinematic flair.
But – and it’s a big but – there’s a twist. Of course there is. It’s hard to talk about this twist without spoiling it, but it’s safe to say that there’s more to Immortality than meets the eye. Watch enough video snippets and you’ll notice that there’s sometimes a strange noise. Your controller vibrates during these strange noises, too. What does it mean? With a little manipulation of the video during these noises and vibrations you can find out. Let’s just say it adds another element to the game, one that’s a little more horrifying and fantastical.
Once you’ve got a hint of where Immortality is actually going, you might be pretty excited. But it’s something that might wear off as you realise that you have no real way of knowing how to actually drive yourself closer to its ultimate revelation, other than finding and watching more scenes in the hope that they have something secret to offer. In Her Story you felt in control throughout, but here you feel more like a passenger. And while it’s still rewarding to reach your destination and find out what happened to Marissa Marcel, you can’t help but feel it’s the result of persistence rather than perception.