The Occupation is an investigative thriller developed by White Paper Games and released by Humble Bundle on the 5th of March. The game takes place in 1987’s North West England and it’s quite of a ride. Watch the trailer below and read along to know more about our thoughts on The Occupation.
We got curious about this game because of its fixed-time feature. It’s a challenging concept that we don’t find everywhere. Having decided to give it a go, we were quite well impressed!
The Journalist Investigator’s Mission
The main character is a journalist whose mission is to find the truth by any means necessary. The game is a first-person investigative where you need to question suspects, break and sneak in to gather evidence about a terrorist attack: an explosion that caused several deaths. You need to explore, collect evidence, solve puzzles and interrogate people to find out what happened on that tragic night.
This game is also quite heavy on politics. It takes place in England’s 80s, a time of political turmoil. As the government recently released something called the Union Act (based on the Patriot Act of 2001, after the 9/11 attacks), you need to find out what this Act is really about and where do you stand: will you support it or fight against it? The game will test your conduct and values through the choices it imposes.
The Occupation is also quite of a treat for narrative lovers. The story is engaging and has a remarkable social component. You unfold it as you further advance in the game and according to your own choices. Because of this, it’s quite tempting to play the game again.
A Brain Fight Against Time
This is the main reason that drove us to try The Occupation. Fixed time means that the time is real – events happen in real-time and one hour in the game is the same as an hour in real life. Your character is running against the clock, with a wristwatch timing your every move. You can even program the watch with alarms for better organization. This gives you a good feeling that you can’t be everywhere at the same time. We had to choose our priorities because we realized that we can’t follow every lead – and the game has a smart way of dealing with this reasoning.
Every minute matters when every second is real. You need to make decisions on the moment, betting on some hunches and sacrificing others. The game lets you do this quite freely and without it impacting the gameplay – you are free to choose your investigation’s path in The Occupation.
The whole game accommodates to your choices through a systems-driven world. Your actions affect the world and people around you. As an example, the guards can change paths depending on influencing factors – if you fire an alarm for instance, and they will question you even if you managed not to get caught breaking into somewhere stealing evidence.
Watch the official gameplay trailer below for a more vivid sneak peek of The Occupation’s dynamics.
Our Final Thoughts on The Occupation
However a cool piece of detective gaming, some things didn’t quite convince us about The Occupation. The voice acting could be improved, the gameplay is a bit flawed and the story can be a bit confusing with some incoherencies (no spoilers on this review though).
We are not big fans of the fact that you can’t replay each chapter at will – we needed to restart the game in order for our investigation to go on a different path – or that you can’t simply stop mid-chapter, which is truly impractical. It’s not bad to play it all over again since we discovered more details and understood more connections, but it is a bit of a buzz kill. There are also several bugs yet to be fixed, which is not abnormal given the game is still so recent, but it may be wise to wait a bit before purchasing it.
Despite this, the game is quite enjoyable and we had fun with the puzzle solving and unravelling of the story. The design is gorgeous, the story is engaging and the stealth mechanics are quite good. In conclusion,
Did we make you curious? The clock is ticking! If suspense, story building and politics sounds like your sort of game, don’t hesitate to give The Occupation a chance.