This title is exclusive to PlayStation 4, and was reviewed as such.
Erica is an interactive thriller movie video game where you control how the story will play out. My experience with interactive games is not very extensive, all I’ve tried my hand at is Tales of the Borderlands and The Walking Dead series from Telltale Games; while I enjoyed those games, they failed to keep my attention through to completion, the only reason they are finished is for my OCD for completing what I start. Erica on the other hand kept me playing on and on, I was so drawn to the story that I had to continue for that extra hour just to satisfy my curiosity. The mechanic that caught my attention was the fact that you could play with either your controller or your phone, I played through parts of the game with both and I can say that in my experience the controller was the more fluid device for the game (more on that later). Before I get into the review please beware that there will be spoilers below! Now that you have been warned let me tell you about Erica.
Erica allows you to play how you want; every decision you make throughout the game changes outcomes of events, and some will lead Erica down a different path. For example, you can be cooperative, or you can be more hostile towards people. Some of the choices can lead to rather dark outcomes. The great thing about Erica is that it’s been made so well that you can make your decisions on how either you want to respond emotionally, or how you want the character to progress. It’s pretty easy to discern what decisions will lead you down the darker path.
In terms of actual controls – the entire game is touch based. You can use the touchpad on the PS4 controller or download the Erica companion app on your smartphone. To use the companion app you need to be connected to the same WIFI as your PS4 or create a hotspot. While it was quite cool to use the app, I found that the game was freezing and crashing each time I paused the game, or sometimes during scenes. I should point out that this could be due to the poor internet connection that I currently have, so I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has this same issue!
Some of the great features of the game is that when choosing the location where you want Erica to go to, her body will move fluently in the direction that you want to make – making it feel like it’s actually part of a movie.
Story – Spoilers ahead
You play as Erica, a girl who has experienced a horrific event in her childhood. You experience a flashback to your childhood, where it is explained that you have some sort of special ability which your late mother also had. After her father’s untimely death, we are brought back to the present and out of the nightmare of these past events. A parcel arrives at your door containing a rather gruesome surprise, which leads Erica down the path of the unravelling the mysteries of who her father really was, and who was responsible for his death. Throughout the rest of the story it will be your decisions that determine the next events.
During the game, most of the acting is great. Holly Earl, who plays Erica, did a great performance in this game. To me this is especially notable due to that fact that all the choices seem to flow so well. What really makes her character feel so human is that in my playthrough that led to her committing a crime, the shock she showed felt incredibly realistic.
Erica is a gripping story, a fascinating game, and an overall unique experience. With the fact that you can play multiple playthroughs with new decisions for new endings, and with a character who feels relatable, it’s a very enjoyable game. It really does feel like your watching a movie, just with the ability to influence the way it goes. The choices, and the consequences, are what drives this game forward. I found myself at times wishing I had picked different decisions, which have made me want to play through the story more times. I recommend this game to anybody who likes a gripping story!