Ok, first things first.
Is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo a direct remake of the original movie? Nope.
Is it a side story? Nope.
Is it just using the name for recognition?… Maybe. I’ll let you be the judge of that.
It’s actually more of a project loosely based on the 1958 film of the same name, alongside some other Alfred Hitchcock classics like Psycho and North by Northwest. The game does not shy away from embracing that Hitchcockian style either. Right down to the unique directing, character design, bold colour themes, story flow and suspenseful music, and it all works quite well – for the most part.
A Compelling Story with Mixed Presentation Elements
There are several scenes where an actor’s mic will start clipping, a character’s line will glitch out and not sync with their lips or there’ll be this strange lack of sound or animation on occasion that’ll really take you out of the experience. Good grief. It can be so off-putting at times that it’s hard to watch in all honesty. That being said, if you can try and look past these issues, then this brand new Vertigo story should have you hooked from beginning to end.
I won’t reveal too much for spoiler’s sake, but for a general synopsis; Vertigo follows the main protag, Ed Miller, an author struggling with writer’s block who goes through several counselling sessions for an incident he encounters at the start of the game – and that’s about as much as I’m gonna say in regards to the story. All things considered, the narrative is chock-full of great plot twists, dark themes, setups and character moments that’ll more than likely tug on your little heartstrings… Well, when those previous issues don’t show up that is.
The vocal performances are a bit of a mixed bag, however. During most scenes, the actors will nail their deliveries all well and good. But other times, it’ll sound like they’re starting to fall asleep because their voices will slow down for no particular reason, or they’ll just seem like they’re bored out of their brains all of a sudden. I genuinely do NOT know why some of the vocals are presented this way. Surely it isn’t intentional, right?
The Streamlined Gameplay of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo
Throughout Vertigo’s runtime, you’ll quickly notice the heavy inspiration taken from Telltale’s style of gameplay and presentation. From the consistent use of QTEs, to the cel-shaded graphics their games are known for, Pendulo Studios have made it easy breezy for players to pick up.
Just like most Telltale games though, there isn’t too much going on in terms of gameplay. It’s all pretty straightforward. Search around a room, find the MacGuffin and solve some lite puzzles. And when I say “lite puzzles” I mean, you might as well not even call them that, because you can literally button mash the ‘interact’ prompt into oblivion and then randomly stumble upon the answer. Those who are hoping for lots of critical thinking and brainteasers to solve might be a little disappointed here.
I get that these titles are supposed to be ‘interactive dramas’ at the end of the day. Or as I like to call them… Well, long movies. But compared to the Quantic Dream and Telltale style games of the world, Vertigo feels even more bare-bones overall. Although, at the same time, it does help to keep the pace up and makes the general gameplay heaps easier to manage. Since the developers will often physically restrict your area of search in certain locations, stopping you from going on the wildest of goose chases. However, as much as I love wasting time pixel-hunting for days *sarcasm* Vertigo’s design does make it significantly less annoying than other games of its ilk.
If you’re in the mood for a great mystery/thriller, mixed with Hitchcock’s iconic directing techniques and panache, then look no further. Even though the gameplay is relatively simplistic and the presentation can be all over the place at times, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo still contains a gripping story full of heartfelt moments and plot twists that players won’t even see coming. Fans of the original might just want to check this one out.
By Anthony Culinas – Reviewed on PC
You may be a little sceptical at first, but don’t hesitate. 2021’s Vertigo has such excellent story and character moments which are bound to leave a strong, lasting impact long after the credits roll. The acting/cutscene presentation is a bit wonky at times, and the gameplay is relatively simplistic. However, Vertigo’s Hitchcockian influences ultimately shine through and help to create an experience that’s more than worth the price of admission.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Koch Media. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.