The question at the center of developer Sam Barlow’s latest title, Immortality, revolves around the fate of actress Marissa Marcel, and this mystery drives the entire plot of the game. Throughout her career, Marissa starred in three films that could have led to great success, but none of them them never came out. In Immortalityplayers are tasked with sifting through footage from these never-before-seen films to piece together what happened to Marissa and find out what led to her demise after filming her latest film.
Just as with previous Barlow titles, Immortality is an FMV game that has already taken Steam by storm and features incredible performances from its cast, with Manon Gage’s Marissa being particularly notable. Gage leads the action as players navigate reels and reels of footage in a non-linear narrative they can easily jump in and out of as the story slowly unfolds. The previous version of Barlow His history used recorded police interviews to hunt a killer in the same way, and his follow-up Tell lies used video calls to expose a story of undercover cops, but Immortality takes the formula to another level with its story of unexpected revelations, twists and even a hint of the supernatural.
A story in three parts
Immortality is above all a mystery. Players start with just a handful of footage to rewatch, and they should unlock more as they interact with the clips and are transported back in time to see other parts of Marissa’s never-before-seen films. The non-linear narrative can be disorienting at first, but as players learn more about this enigmatic model-turned-actress and the people around her, the picture of her life begins to build and creates a complex and hauntingly beautiful tale. The use of FMV – a style many would associate with older titles with clunky cutscenes – helps add depth and nuance to Marissa’s story, and an eerie feeling in the player as it looks at actors pretending to be actors with only a glimpse of what’s really below the surface.
In addition to Marissa’s three films, there are some clips of behind-the-scenes moments, talk show interviews, chemistry tests, and other additional footage that runs alongside the more stylized film sections. All three films are where Barlow and his team’s work really shines, with homages to movie greats past 1968. Ambrosius, which is an adaptation of a gothic novel, the 1970 film noir about a potentially murderous muse called Minskyand the 1999 thriller two of everything about a pop star’s identity crisis. Immortality received rave reviews, many hailed it as Barlow’s masterpiece, and it’s not hard to see why.
A fascinating tale
Barlow is impressive and elegant Immortality allows players to put the pieces of the puzzle together as the plots of the films become clearer even when experienced out of order. Marissa may be the focus, but the secondary characters also have their own stories to tell and are often involved in conveying the game’s themes, like the occasional misogyny that comes up again and again as the female characters are put to rest. away, neglected and exploited. Along with the exploration of cinema and the meaning of art, Immortality plays with supernatural and horror elements once players notice the creatures that appear in various clips when played backwards.
These creatures are sometimes nothing more than shadowy presences, sometimes they appear in place of Marissa or other characters, and sometimes they discuss the more meta aspects of the game like identity and art in weirdly disturbing dialogue. . Just as Marissa disappears into her various roles, so do those mysterious beings at the heart of Immortality because they inhabit different characters. Feeding off movies as much as people, these semi-vampiric entities are never fully explained, but the Others are the key to Marissa’s mystery. Amy Archer becomes possessed by the creature that inhabited Carl after watching the clip of his accidental murder during Minsky, and players can then see Amy/the Other burn alive Marissa, who is also secretly one of the creatures.
Rubbing back and forth throughout the final scene of Marissa’s fiery fate reveals more layers as the creatures take the place of the women, further encompassing themes of immortality through the arts and a kind of parasitic voyeurism that the creatures represent. The fourth wall is frequently broken throughout Immortality, but the ending questions the player’s role in the game and the similarities in their position and the creatures, as they also briefly stand in the shoes of different characters. This twisting, chilling, and challenging story will no doubt stay with players long after Immortalitythe credits of.
Immortality is available now for PC and Xbox Series X/S, with mobile ports in development.
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