Game reviewers aren't exactly easy to please: when you play games for a living, a title needs to be incredibly special to stand out from the crowd. So when a new title gets a unanimously positive reception from the critics, you know you need to add it to your download queue.
Immortality, which has just launched on Xbox Game Pass for your Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, is that rare game. If you've played Her Story, all you need to know is that Immortality comes from the same Sam Barlow who created it. And if you haven't, you should. And you should play Immortality too.
Immortality sounds quite simple. Your goal is to find out what happened to the actress Marissa Marcel, who made three films (that were never released) and then vanished. To solve the mystery you'll need to watch footage from all three films as well as rehearsals and occasional glimpses into Marcel's personal life.
To begin with, all you have is a single clip. But as you discover more footage, the story starts to come into focus. And then it gets weird.
Is Immortality worth playing?
Definitely. Windows Central praised the "incredible actors", "creeping dread" and subversive storytelling, while Pure Xbox says "Immortality is easily Sam Barlow's best game to date... it's a dazzling display from any angle you choose to admire it... one of the most exquisite gaming experiences of this year or any other". Destructoid says "these scenes are going to stick with me for a while, living on. Immortalized." EGM says it's "thrilling and imperfect, fascinating and messy – but it certainly isn't boring." And our friend Sam Loveridge at GamesRadar says that "Immortality is the third game by Sam Barlow and the Half Mermaid team, and it's easily the most provocative yet... it's quite capable of messing with your head."
If like me you tend to give full-motion video games a swerve after being disappointed by early disasters with hammy acting and terrible stories, Immortality will restore your faith in the genre: it's beautifully acted, deeply disturbing and intensely intelligent. Just hang in there if you find it a little slow to get going: this is a game that reveals itself gradually, and as Loveridge says "someone who bails out too early may miss some of the darkness and depth that lies beyond what's on the surface." And judging from the reviews, there's a lot of darkness to experience here.