Four years ago, Sam Barlow surprised the game industry by reviving the moribund and seemingly outdated genre of full-motion-video games. Barlow's Her Story was a well-made, gripping, and ambiguous tale of murder and mania, told exclusively via conversational video snippets that players could search through via deduced transcript keywords.

But Her Story was tight and focused to the point of practical claustrophobia; every scene involved one actress whose character was interrogated in a single, mostly empty room over the course of a few in-game days. Barlow's latest FMV effort, Telling Lies, expands the same basic concept to great effect, packing many more characters, environments, and lengthy plotlines across roughly six hours of raw video and months of in-game time. The result is a slow-burning and deeply intimate character study with a plot that would feel cliché if not for its incredible presentation.

Random walk

Like Her Story, the player interacts with Telling Lies by searching through a video database and watching the clips. This time, though, that database is sourced from an intelligence agency, apparently stolen by your "viewer" character Snowden-style before her access could be completely cut off. Right away, it's apparent your goal is to search through the data before spreading it to the wider world. "When you use the uploader it will erase the hard-drive, so please do that before they take you into custody," read a note that accompanies the USB drive containing the database. "(Which they will—you know this, right?)"

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