At the beginning of the summer, we had our first direct contact with the new creation of Sam Barlow. Thanks to the selection of the Tribeca Games Festival, a rich proof of Immortality had therefore landed on the pages of Everyeye. Intrigued by what we tested with hand, we couldn’t wait to go back to investigate the past of Marissa Marcelbut we weren’t at all prepared for what we would find there.
Immortality it is a tumultuous journey, capable of continually unhinging the player’s beliefs. Violent, lustful and disturbingthe heir of Her Story And Telling Lies ventures along tracks slightly different from those of his predecessors, yet we are sure that those who appreciated the works of Barlow, author – we remember – also Silent Hill: Shattered Memoriesthey will not struggle to find themselves at home even among the movie sets of Immortality. If you are looking for a mystery that can lurk in your minds for a long time, the interactive adventure of Half Mermaid awaits you on Xbox Series X | S, Xbox Game Pass, PC and Mac (via Steam and GOG) and on mobile devices (via Netflix Games), starting in August 30, 2022.
Allan Scott (The Queen of Chess), Amelia Gray (Mr. Robot; Maniac) And Barry Gifford (Wild At Heart; Lost Highway) team up with Sam Barlow to shape the narrative sector of Immortality. After having bewitched the public with the unpredictable thrillers proposed by Her Story (find our Her Story review here) e Telling Lies (you can also check out the Telling Lies review), the result is a long layered journey over three decades.
And the 1968when an unknown actress, known only for a commercial, is cast for the starring role of Ambrosio, new film by well-known director Alan Fischer. The shoot aims to bring a reinterpretation of the film to the big screen The monk, an icon of the gothic novel signed in the late 18th century by the British writer MG Lewis. The rough ruin ready to fall on a large monastery in Madrid represents the launching pad for the career of Marissa Marcel, who in her canopy of flames gains access to the paradises of cinematic celebrity.
Despite the enthusiastic promotional campaign linked to the completion of the filming of Ambrosio, the film will never reach theaters. A mysterious destiny, which however does not prevent the rising star from being hired for a second and ambitious production. Leave the gothic paths of AmbrosioMarissa Marcel is the femme fatale co-star of Minskya detective thriller shot in 1970 and set in New York. Apparently destined to be consecrated as a staple of the genre, the film is struck by a tragedy, which takes the form of the death on the set of a cast member. Needless to say, too Minsky it will never arrive in the room. Let’s jump to the 1999 and Marissa Marcel, just as gorgeous as 30 years ago, returns to the scene to play an international pop star in Two of Everything. In an inexhaustible game of mirrors, this new thriller takes us behind the scenes of show business, to tell the story of a world-famous artist and her skilled stunt double. Two of Everything is the third and final film played by Marissa Marcel, and – just like the previous ones – will never really see the light.
Failure to publish the film trilogy by Marissa Marcel alone would represent an irresistible object of research, but there is more. Completed the work on Two of Everything, the actress has literally disappeared into thin air. No one has seen her since, her films have been lost and audiences have forgotten her promise of immortal talent.
This is the situation until 2022when a valuable collection of movie memorabilia allows the player to get their hands on a true legacy of the medium’s history. All existing material concerning Marissa Marcel’s career is contained within the confines of a mysterious film collection, which includes footage from Ambrosio, Minsky And Two of Everyhting, as well as intense behind-the-scenes and interviews with the cast of the three films. It will be enough to view the material to find out what became of Marissa Marcel?
In the footsteps of Marissa Marcel
The premises behind Immortality place the player in control of an innovative archiving system of data. Named Slow motion, the latter allows us to catalog and analyze the different clips of the three feature films shot between 1968 and 1999. The tools at our disposal are not very many, but they effectively fulfill the purpose. We can for example speed up the advancement of films, rewind them or view them frame by frame.
The internal mechanism of Moviola also automatically subdivides the recovered material, organizing it – as we wish – in chronological or scene order. In this way, we will always be able to view the exhibits in the order in which they were shot or in the sequence that, presumably, must have originally reached the hands of the editors.
Most importantly, our state-of-the-art software has the capability of scan the entire video material for visual matches. By pausing a movie, we can enter a useful Picture Mode, which allows us to focus our attention on a single element on the screen.
Whether it’s the face of Marissa Marcel or another actor, a pot of plants or a lighter, Moviola will immediately search for a snapshot with similar characteristics. Through this expedient, the player has the ability to navigate between space and time, progressively expanding the fragments of Ambrosio, Minsk And Two of Everything at your disposal.
The journey in Immortality starts with a single unlocked pattern: starting from the latter, we will have the absolute freedom to examine the events that have involved the actress and the rest of the cast over the course of well over thirty years. The dynamic, however simple, turns out to be addictive in a short time, so much so that we often found ourselves having to go back to the same segment several times, taken by the desire to analyze every single component.
It is also surprising the precision that adjusts the feature of Moviola. By selecting the faces of the performers several times, we will realize, for example, that the software is perfectly able to recognize the different shades of expression, and to lead us back to different destinations depending on whether Marissa is crying or smiling. Furthermore, mechanics does not only involve individual objects, but situations too. The exchange of a kiss, for example, can pave the way for a real collection of loving effusions. In order not to lose sight of any of the roads that you leave behind, Immortality it also has a section Favoritesin which to accumulate the sequences that seemed most relevant to us.
In a continuous game of mirrors, Sam Barlow puts us at the helm of our own camera, allowing us to direct a personal journey through the life of the talented Marissa Marcel. An allegory that sinks its roots deeper and deeper, as the background of the genesis of Ambrosio, Minsk And Two of Everything they reveal to us the pulsating humanity who animated the shooting.
The relationship between actors and director, the mental and psychological effort that derives from constantly impersonating another himself, the real meaning of “making art”: these are just some of the themes that the interactive film unravels with raw realism. Immortality it is not a gentle or sweetened tale, and many of the sequences shown – be it reality or fiction – are direct and free of any kind of censorship. Hot sex scenes alternate with brutal violence, in a frenzied whirlwind that slyly plays with expectations and intuitions of the player. With each new fragment of information, we find ourselves elaborating theories and hypotheses, destined to crash with equal frequency against the wall erected by the next revelation. The life of Marissa Marcel hides implications far more disturbing than it might appear at first glance, so much so that we feel we can fully embrace the warning spread by Half Mermaid in the pre-launch phase: treat yourself to a first-rate immersion and play Immortality exclusively with headphones and controllers. For our part, we also suggest that you keep on hand pen and notebook: we assure you that soon the revelations that appear on the screen will end up filling pages and pages of notes.
To slightly break the rhythm – otherwise frantic – between one discovery and another, we found exclusively some partially repeated video sequences. These are cases that can be counted on the fingers of one hand, but which have left us with a slight disappointment. Nothing too serious, however, especially considering that the content of Immortality it’s really impressive.
To give life to this ambitious project, Sam Barlow has in fact created three feature films, which between rehearsals and shots are ready to reveal all – or almost – their secrets to us. Overall, the game hosts over 200 video clips to review and understandin order to recompose the disturbing and vast puzzle that emerges following the discovery of every additional detail.
Given the extension of the game, we warn you that a few hours will not be enough to get to the head of all the secrets hidden between the frames of Immortality. For our part, we have employed about fifteen hours to reach the creditsbut know that as soon as these ended we went back to immerse ourselves with even more breathlessness in the behind the scenes of Ambrosio, Minsky And Two of Everything.
Perhaps the narrative proposed by the title will not satisfy lovers of clean and linear narrative, but we guarantee that fans of puzzles, speculations and reconstructions they will find an intense and memorable experience awaiting them.
Immortality sincerely disturbing with its thriller-horror tones, a rare gift that comes from the extraordinary actor performances hosted by the title. In particular, the spectacular interpretation offered by Manon Gage, who plays the role of the elusive Marissa Marcel. Indispensable commendation also for the acting test given by Charlotta Mohlin, of which, however, we will not reveal the alter-ego assigned to her by Sam Barlow. The value of the interpretations of the cast of Immortalityand the issues addressed by the game, fully justify the choice of the development team to propose the title exclusively with original audio, in English. In support, the local public will find an excellent adaptation in Italian, usable through subtitles. Finally, to enrich the experience, there is an evocative soundtrack, capable of effectively marking the moments of particular emotional tension outlined by Half Mermaid.
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