LifeisXbox’s The Gallery Review | We always speak about what it would be like to be a part of a movie or how it would feel to play a specific character possibly; The Gallery brings us a new live-action FMV (Full-motion video) interactive game that puts you in that identical position. With known actress Anna Popplewell from the Chronicles of Narnia and actor George Blagden from Les Miséarbles, this game certainly has an incredible acting line-up to bring the tension and story to life. Having two stories, practically identical in the plot with different time periods/political backgrounds, you have some tough and consequential decisions to make that can change how your film plays out but more importantly who you manage to save and who is sacrificed. The Gallery has been developed and published by Aviary Studios letting players build or destroy their relationship as the main protagonist, whether male or female, in order to reach a variety of endings and conclusions. Make each playthrough your own and don’t take anything for granted as things can change in a hesitant choice if you’re not careful.
Most Memorable Moment
For me personally, the choices were by far the element I remember the most and had the most enjoyment from during my gameplay in The Gallery. Without spoiling anything, the choices are those that really make you think about whether they will be perceived as good or bad, resulting in different outcomes and story choices the further you progress. They are the key factor in The Gallery and should be thought about instead of just choosing what may appear as being positive.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox One S | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- FMV gameplay visuals | As with watching any mainstream television, whether it be films or TV series, the visuals are often that of real life with actual actors/actresses playing the characters portrayed. With The Gallery being a live-action interactive film, it shares the same warm feeling of watching TV in the comfort of your own home on your console. Colours definitely represented the two time periods, with one being more saturated with duller colours and the other showcasing bright lighting and colourful tones. Due to the nature of the gameplay, there will be a tonne of watching compared to actually actively having to do anything which I was absolutely fine with as I’ve had experience with multiple games of this genre in the past.
- Choices selection | As with all interactive-film games, the only thing you will be doing through the entire game is making decisions and watching the game’s story unfold. When presented with a decision dilemma, you must choose from one of two options each time. These will most often have some kind of consequence as to either the fate of certain characters or which route your particular story takes. You will either gain or lose relationship points with the antagonist depending on how they perceive your actions so make sure you keep an eye on your overall relationship as this could have serious consequences as to which end you will earn when everything has been taken into account. It did make it that much easier to know myself whether I was doing the right things or just hitting all the wrong notes and choices always make me feel in control of my game which is an incredible feeling.
- Different scenes and endings | With there being a total of eighteen endings and 300+ scenes to uncover over the course of both stories, there is plenty to keep you guessing and changing your choices over multiple playthroughs, giving The Gallery the replayability factor that it needs. I did manage to reach a handful of endings that varied in severity for different characters and how the story progressed, making it rather interesting. I did find it a little strange how one story had twelve endings and the other only six but other than that, a healthy serving of scenes to keep you guessing and trying new things should you find your curiosity getting the better of you.
- Skippable viewed scenes | I did appreciate that once I had already viewed scenes because I had already chosen a specific decision in a previous playthrough, I had the option to skip them to get to the next choice. It allowed the previously-viewed film to take a backseat, allowing players to move on to scenes they are yet to experience and enjoy the paths which are yet to be discovered. I guess you can see it as skippable cutscenes and I think the majority of people appreciate when these are included.
- Not enough suspense | Due to the placement and severity of The Gallery, I was not best pleased with the moderate level of suspense I experienced through both playthroughs. I’ll try not to spoil anything but when in a position where your life is in immediate danger, where if you do one thing you could potentially die, you’d think things may be far more tense and panicked than they were. Unfortunately, the characters seemed quite calm given the circumstances. Other areas had the right amount of ‘open-mouthed’ moments but because this didn’t always make it across, the game did fall a little in respect of this quality.
- Acting quality | The performances from both main characters Anna Popplewell and George Blagden were outstanding; I couldn’t fault them in either story. They were convincing and played both roles with true feelings. I will say though that they were let down by the acting quality of some other actors/actresses that were not up to standard, for me at least, and this did affect the general quality of The Gallery. This isn’t to say everyone did a bad job, not at all, but there are certainly a couple of characters who could have created more convincing roles with both their emotion and demeanour.
- Artistic setting | As 95% of The Gallery is set in an art gallery/exhibition environment, people who don’t enjoy or appreciate art for whatever reason may not find themselves enjoying the game to its full extent. I love art in most formats and have always been captured by the talent of artists, with underlying meaning and depth found in most pieces so I found the setting soothing and intriguing. However, just because I like artwork doesn’t mean I was the biggest fan of having the same area presented to me for the majority of the game. It does play its part with both the characters having a connection to art, allowing the story to connect characters but I would have liked more varied scenes if I’m honest.
What we Disliked
- Two different political periods | The Gallery presents us with two near indistinguishable narratives in two time periods – the older set in 1981 and the more modern approach in 2021. With these different periods in time comes a massive change in the setting and political views that hold such a large piece of The Gallerys’ presence, altering the reason behind each story’s main portrayal. I did find this somewhat interesting to start with but the more I progressed, the more I could feel myself losing my original engrossment. Politics are extremely hit-and-miss with the general population and I can see these turning people away very quickly. Due to the heavy-hearted political talk, it sadly didn’t have me as hooked as I could have been.
- Unbalanced decisions | With consequences not always being present, or at least not immediately sometimes, when making decisions throughout The Gallery I was disappointed that some decisions just lead to a plus or minus in regards to your relationship with the protagonist and a bunch of random conversation that quite frankly had me losing interest rapidly in some instances. Other times when I made a choice, it could cost someone their life. In my opinion, I think some choices were added purely to prolong the story and drag out scenes, even if it meant meaning very little to the player by doing so when they could have used them to enhance certain scenes and/or aspects further, making us really engage with the scenario going on in front of our eyes.
How long to beat the story | Approximately 2-3 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 6-8 Hours
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!