The Gallery | PS4 Review
The Gallery, developed and published by Aviary Studios is a live-action, FMV. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 4 version, that was very kindly supplied to us by the folks over at Renaissance PR through the PressEngine portal.
The Gallery follows the story of an art curator who has been held hostage by an artist who is threatening to detonate a bomb unless the curator follows their demands. The game takes place across two different timelines, 1981 and then 40 years later in 2021. Both eras are very important times historically and despite there being a 40-year gap between the two, there are very similar problems happening across both timelines. In 1981, you follow a female protagonist struggling with riots in the UK, while in 2021’s timeline you take on the role of a male protagonist who is living in the throes of Brexit and pandemic Britain. Within both timelines you're playing as the art curator, Morgan, who needs a miracle to happen to keep Argyle Manor together. In both timelines, Morgan finds himself being held hostage. I try to keep my reviews spoiler free, so with this being an FMV I’ll not say much more about the story to avoid spoiling the experience for anyone.
Whilst the game itself is relatively short in terms of how long it would take to do one complete playthrough, the 1981 timeline has a total of 12 endings, and the 2021 timeline has 6 endings. Being quite short, this leaves a lot of scope for various playthroughs to explore every possible eventuality within the narrative. There are many different paths you can take to achieve these endings which heightens the replayability even more. I’m currently going through my second run and consciously making entirely different choices to see the various outcomes. Alongside the overall decisions that you need to make you’ll also be able to track your relationships with characters throughout the game and your success, or lack thereof, with certain characters will also affect the story in a variety of ways.
I found The Gallery to be quite an accessible game in the sense that there is an option to play with timed choices where there is greater immersion and pressure put on you to make the choices. Alternatively, you can turn this off and have the game pause for you to make your decisions and choices which makes it perfect to perhaps play along with a friend, or if you’re a streamer you can have chat weigh in on your decisions and choose the plot for you.
While my experience with the FMV genre is minimal, I feel like I’ve landed myself with a real gem here for many reasons. I really enjoyed the story throughout but to add to the immersion, it is also very well acted and seems to have been made to a very high standard. There have been occasions where I have watched other FMV games being played and the acting is laughable at best and very awkward, but there was none of that throughout The Gallery. The cast features Anna Popplewell from The Chronicles of Narnia and George Blagden who featured in Vikings and Versailles assuming the lead roles.
I had, and continue to have, a wonderful time with The Gallery. It has been made to a very high standard, the storyline is gripping and provides plenty of twists, turns and plot points that will always leave you guessing. Each choice you make will have a serious impact on the end result. I found I really cared a lot about the outcome of the game and eagerly awaited the beginning of my second playthrough just so I could see what could have been the first-time round, so even though the game itself is fairly short, there is a massive amount of replayability.
Lj’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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