We analyze The Occupation, an immersive sim of a very political cut for PC, PS4 and Xbox One that will put us in the shoes of a research journalist.
The first minutes of The Occupation
The first minutes of The Occupation are those of making funny faces and checking the backlog in case there is nothing else we prefer to play. A long loading screen leads to a kinematics that introduces us to two animated characters in a relatively simple way. Limitations of an Unreal Engine that, according to what productions, seems more home-made than it would be to be desired. The cinematic presents us with a dramatic conflict and a half-told story. Almost gives the feeling of having entered the middle of the story when everything is already on the table, and not starting something.
A sign reads “a game in Unreal Engine” and with the first-person perspective we started playing a level of uninspired stealth, spiced up by a voice-over that parsimoniously tells us something about political intrigues that we still do not understand. Guided by this voice, and by our own curiosity, we go through the level (the interior of a government building in the eighties), taking everything we find and hoping that it will lead us to fulfill our objective. Something from a diskette in a server, and from a password . When we have both, we can interact with an old tube monitor that presides over servers located in the back of the office on the first floor.
It seems that this will give us some answers, but the game is already thinking about something else. After another brief stealth section, there is a long walk outside the building that, in the style of a walking simulator , takes us through the streets of British suburbs in an empty and lifeless world, uniquely decorated by the architecture of the place and for the punctual presence of an old fisherman. The return home is interrupted by the explosion of a terrorist attack, and the title of the game is presented on a black screen with smoke effects. We understand that the best is yet to come, but it is difficult to feel submerged in the experience before such a clumsy start.
The Political Paths
In this text we can say that The Occupation improves , but as it has been possible to guess, it takes time to get hooked . Not in tearing, eye. In the four hours that lasts the game is a title that shows that you do not have time to lose in what is not essential, but its structure confuses more than attracts in a few measures that already tell us much of what will be the dynamic.
History gets into very political paths . The plot revolves around an attack that occurs in an alternative version of Britain in the eighties, and how it serves as an impetus to the government to launch a law with a strong anti-immigration focus. We take on the role of Henry Miller , a reputed investigative journalist who receives an anonymous message telling him that behind this there is a government conspiracy to deport millions of citizens, and Miller’s journalistic instinct leads him to want to unravel it.
It is a game that takes itself very seriously. The sober initial kinematics is a perfect sample of a tone that hardly admits anything other than long faces and NPCs speaking in a robotic way. The mechanics pick up that sobriety . It is a game of reading texts, listening to cassettes, and doing a lot of backtracking by office blocks. If we lose a level, there is no type of game over screen . The game forces you to continue until the final credits dragging the consequences of how you played during the game.
The Occupation is an immersive sim . Change the dirty alleys of Dunwall or the meticulously decorated interiors of Hitman for a block of government buildings in the eighties and you can get a pretty close idea of how it feels to navigate these scenarios. Each level offers a good number of interaction possibilities, of alternative routes and secret hiding places that favor an exploration with sense and full of good surprises. We also substitute the gun, the sword or any other habitual weapon for a dossier that we take everywhere to write down the discoveries we make, and for a useful clock that tells us how much we have left to solve the questions we have before us. have to leave the building.
The Real Time
The use of real time is very interesting and offers a satisfactory layer of realism to the experience. Every time we enter a location to have an interview (the final goal of each level), we have an hourof real time to explore it before sitting face to face with the interviewee. This forces us to focus our investigation in the most efficient way possible, frequently looking at the clock and calculating the time of our actions. It also allows us to organize ourselves based on certain events that occur at the level at a specific time. For example, we can discover that a certain office that we want to explore will open in 15 minutes for a cleanup reason. Knowing this, we can take advantage of that time investigating other tasks, or lose minutes finding an alternative way to enter, if you urge us a lot.
Research is the main objective of the game. As journalists on the verge of discovering something very fat, we will have to escape from the sight of the few NPCs that populate the building to infiltrate different rooms and thus read confidential documents, listen to private recordings, or access other people’s computers. In short, collect all kinds of evidence that can help us unravel the case we are investigating.