Heard about the game? If your answer is yes, chances are that you may not have recognized it anymore. Erica was first announced back in 2017 with a completely different lead character and has since been off the grid after that. Enter Gamescom 2019 and suddenly we see this new trailer that has seemingly overhauled a huge chunk of the game. History aside, Erica is a very intriguing title because of the very little we know of it, other than the fact that it’s a purely cinematic experience that you have very little control of apart from making narrative altering choices. Worth the 10 bucks? Let’s find out!
Without spoiling anything, the main story revolves around Erica, played by the Emilia Clarke lookalike Holly Earl, as she is dragged into a mysterious chain of events that sheds light on the loss of her parents. Old memories surface and visions abound as Erica looks to solve the mystery behind the Delphi House, a place of great significance that will play a huge role in your game progress.
The story is pretty straightforward, and I won’t be speaking too much of it so that the experience won’t be ruined, but one thing I loved about this is that you are highly encouraged to play it multiple times. On my first run, I hardly understood what was going on due to the choices I made, so playing it multiple times will shed light on most of your questions. It’s a turn off to some people but the story is engaging enough to set it aside after one run, you’ll want to play again.
You have very little control of Erica, as most of the game revolves around pre-shot cinamatics that will only stop when you are asked to give a choice of what to say, what to do, or what to investigate. There are 2 control schemes in the game – 1 via your controller and 1 via your mobile device. You can play with your controller, although I would not fully recommend it because the touch pad is a tiny bit too small for the experience, especially since there are a couple of motions that will require sweeping movements, something that the touch pad is a tad bit too small for to handle accurately.
The most ideal way to go about playing the game is to download the Erica Companion App from either the Playstore or the App store and connecting it to the same network as your PS4 is connected to. It’s that simple and based on my experience, it’s much more immersive and there is no noticeable lag between actions. The game was meant to be played through the app and while it’s not worlds apart from using a regular controller, it simply adds to the overall experience of the title.
Speaking of overall experience, the transitions between scenes are near seamless. At one point a conversation may be happening, which leads to you choosing a response or action, that culminates in the next scene, all of that happening one after the other without skipping a beat. There’s hardly any loading time once you’re in and the “seamlessness” of it all is a huge plus factor.
With enough time to spare…
One thing that I liked here is the impression of pressure on the lead character, Erica. Some choices will give you a generous amount of time to fulfill but others will give you just mere seconds before you totally miss it. Some of your choices will let you explore the immediate surroundings but others will simply progress the story without warning, thus branching out the various scenario possibilities. Coupled with overall great performances by most of the cast and you have yourself a very engaging couple of hours, something that can’t be said of other similar games.
That may or may not be a bad thing. The game length may seem short but for this title, I felt that the length was just perfect. It’s easy to go through in one sitting and actually encourages you to do another run because of the simple fact that it’s that short. Also, there aren’t any tests of skill here, no unusual button sequence inputs or silly commands. It’s a sit back, relax, and watch the story unfold kind of experience and to be honest, I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
One gripe for me though is that I was expecting the whole game to be scarier. It was creepy at times, but probably not enough for fans of the genre. The feeling of tension and fear was there in bits and pieces but overall it lacked that real scare factor that I was expecting. I’m not a big fan of scary movies nor scary games but I would have wanted a bit more in that department, at least for this game.
What we liked:
- Engaging storyline, with occasional “wtf is going on” moments
- Transitions between scenes are fluid and flawless
- Production value is up there
- Multiple playthroughs needed to uncover everything
What we didn’t like:
- Play time is roughly around 2 hours
- Sometimes the companion app or the game freezes
- Could use more “scares”
Verdict: Buy it!
10$. It’s really hard to pass up on a deal like that. A single playthrough may only be a couple of hours and with it being a purely cinematic experience, it may not appeal to a lot of people who may be looking for more complex mechanics and deeper features. What Erica can give you is a great storytelling experience with fantastic production value, making you feel like you’re watching a movie that you have control over. The game also requires multiple playthroughs to fully understand what’s going on. On my first completion, I still hardly knew what was happening and with it being a relatively short game, another playthrough doesn’t sound so bad, especially since there are other games releasing that will demand most of your time. Overall it was a great couple of hours, one that I would gladly repeat. Plus Erica is quite the looker, I don’t think anyone would disagree here.