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Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo Review

An impressive thriller

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing an Xbox One on 😵

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo is also available for PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo is rated Mature by the ESRB

Watch a complex story unravel with many twists and turns in a modern nod to a classic film with Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo.

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Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo screenshot 1
Meetings like this never end well

Ed Miller wakes up at the scene of a car crash dizzy and confused when he notices his father standing on the edge of a bridge about to jump. Ever since that day, he's been unable to get out of bed without suffering terrible bouts of vertigo. So, Mr. Miller works through the events that happened with a psychologist; retelling episodes from his childhood that he had blocked from his memory and learning how they're intertwined with recent events. v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106

The story of Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo is lengthy and complicated but I was impressed by how well the developers told it without losing my attention. When things started to heat up, I found myself wanting to keep playing as if I was compelled to binge-watch a great TV show. I rarely saw what was coming and slowly learning about the relationships between the characters was always interesting. If there's one thing that Vertigo does very well, it's crafting a story that's compelling enough to make anyone want to play it through to the end.

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo screenshot 2
What a lovely lake

With that in mind, the gameplay is quite barebones so be prepared to mostly watch scenes unfold with the odd quick-time event that happens just often enough to require you to keep the controller in your hands. You actually play through the eyes of a variety of characters and you'll get to explore the different scenes of the story from their perspectives. There isn't really any kind of puzzle-solving or searching for clues as it's more about going through the motions to get to the next plot point.

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo screenshot 3
Whoever decorated this house sure loves garage sales

During Ed's sessions with the psychologist, he lies in bed and is sent into a trance in the hopes of helping him remember lost memories of his childhood. In these sessions, Ed will initially talk through what he remembers as a happy event but when entering hypnosis, you will get to rewind and play the event as you please; pausing at the odd point to inspect where Ed will answer probing questions from the psychologist. As he digs deeper, you'll uncover what really happened in those moments which usually turns out to be something much more serious and sometimes sinister than initially assumed. I loved this way of storytelling as I found myself thinking ahead about what might actually be happening when watching Ed's initial rendition of the events and then seeing if it matched up after the hypnosis.

However, I must address Ed Miller as a character; he's an obnoxious person who is very reluctant to receive help through most of the story. Near the end, you can see him starting to change but I could understand being put off by his demeanour enough to the point that you may not want to continue playing. Thankfully, the overarching story makes up for this and there are other reasons to play through to the end. For example, I found myself empathising with the psychologist more than Ed whose story also becomes part of the narrative.

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo screenshot 4
Interesting speculation, doc

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo handles atmosphere well via building tension through its superb sound design. There was one particular scene that really creeped me out when I was walking through an elderly couple's home while looking for them. Unfortunately, the voice acting is quite hit and miss which matches up with the pacing of some scenes. I often found myself watching a character just stare off into space or do an action for a long time thus creating an awkward pause. I'm not sure what the developers were intending with these moments but it threw me off. I also found a good chunk of the character lines and gestures to feel forced and combining that with the often ugly character models, I sometimes had to remind myself that it's worth playing for the story and to just be patient.

Speaking of which, the graphics of Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo may leave a lot to be desired yet there are interesting scenes such as the bridge where the tragedy took place and the Millers' lakeside home complete with tree house, dock, and viewing point. You spend a lot of time at Ed's home and it's interestingly designed as you'll see it change as you move through time via the retelling of his childhood.

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo screenshot 5
I wish my room was half this cool

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo offers a story with many twists that I didn't see coming. If you can look past the general lack of polish and you're in the mood to relax and play something with little gameplay, you'll enjoy your time watching the story of Ed Miller unfold.

  • + Intriguing story that's told through the eyes of different characters
  • + Does a great job of maintaining tension
  • + Some locations are enjoyable to explore
  • - Subpar graphics and many poor quality character models
  • - Distracting pauses and awkward line delivery
  • - Main character can be off-putting
7.5 out of 10
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