She Sees Red is more of an interactive movie than a game, but done right, the dynamic choices you make can really lift the experience to an entirely new level. What’s interesting about this particular title, is that you make the choices as the killer, and soon after, you’ll see the effect it has on the detective’s investigation. The parallel narrative is a smart tactic to keep you on your toes.
Setting the stage: We start the game as the killer strapped to a shelf in a storage space. I say killer, because when you get your first choice of the game, you will have already murdered a security guard. After making a choice to get rid of the body or to exit the current room as quickly as possible, we fast forward to the current time where a detective investigates what happened, alongside the club owner (who is clearly a Mob leader).
What we liked!
- The parallel narrative: The set-up is actually pretty interesting: Making the choices as the killer in the past and then seeing the investigation play out in the current time creates an interesting dynamic not often explored in games or movies.
- The fight choreography: There were a few surprisingly brutal fights in the game. Depending on which choices you make you take on guards one by one or you can even end up in a three-way fight. Each of the fighting scenes is interesting to watch and there are even some gory conclusions.
- Easy Achievements: It’s a guilty pleasure to play a game where you don’t have to make too much of an effort to get all of the achievements and there is no denying it kind of feels good to see 60G’s worth of Gamerscore pop on the screen so frequently. There is even an easy achievement for choosing “No” when asked “Do you want to Start?” right at the beginning.
- The Skip Scene button: Something I’ve really missed in a few other interactive movies is the ability to skip scenes I’ve already watched. Playing through Late Shift 7 times in a row really felt like a grind. In She Sees Red, you unlock this ability to skip after the second playthrough, which will make your subsequent efforts that much quicker.
- The acting: The detective seems like she would make for a likable character if we got to spend more time with her, but besides her and the Russian mob leader, there is hardly any dialog happening. The acting is on a level you’d expect from a mid-budget TV series.
- The branching: What makes these interactive movies interesting, is seeing just how differently the branching paths end up being. While the four possible endings vary a lot from each other, we don’t really see new places or characters here and this ends up making new playthroughs less interesting.
What we disliked
- The characters: While the detective puts on a good performance, she doesn’t feel like the main character for most of the game and we should instead care for a nameless killer, who we don’t really get to know. It’s hard to care about their fate and we end up feeling more like a puppeteer than being able to put ourselves in their shoes.
- The English dub: I understand why they picked the English dubbing as the default option, as that’s the language the majority of their player base will speak, but it just feels “off” watching the movie with it. The tempo of the voices clearly doesn’t sync with the lips (quite impossible to achieve in a movie, to be honest) so my recommendation is to use the original Russian voices instead.
- The length: She Sees Red is a really short movie experience, it took me around 35 minutes to see the first ending, and in about 1.5hours time I had seen all 4 endings and earned all possible achievements.
She Sees Red is a fun, albeit short experience that I can recommend if you’re looking to mix up your Netflix binging with something a little more interactive. Don’t go into it expecting a full-on “game” experience as you actually have to make very little choices yourself. The idea here is nice, but if you spent the full €9.99, you’ll be left with a bit of an empty feeling, even after multiple playthroughs. I recommend to pick it up in a sale
Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.