Games are slowly breaking into the same story telling as film and TV and whilst many have tried, many have failed. The Occupation is a game that has succeeded this, at least in my eyes. It’s detective work and mystery create an atmosphere similar to that of thrillers when characters are searching through restricted areas. It is just a shame that the game has enough bugs to remove that feeling as well.
In The Occupation, by White Paper Games, you play as a journalist, in the UK, who is trying to research The Union Act. The Union Act is an act that threatens the civil liberaties of the British people and is driving the country apart. The game begins with a terrorist attack on a government building killing 23 people and it is up to you to either become the whistle-blower or too simply watch the story unfold.
The game, which has you going around the government building looking for evidence and clues, has one feature that differentiates it from other games like it. You are on the clock as the game is spread out over four real time hours. Equipped with a watch you can check the time as you have deadlines to hit which are appointments to interview people.
You must expertly sneak around the buildings in the game and complete different tasks to unlock new questions to ask in your appointments. This is obviously the main part of the game but it is also where the game unfortunately breaks down. There is one security guard and many employees walking around and you have to try to not be seen by them. If you walk into a restricted area and are caught you can be asked to leave the area and thats that.
Through my two playthroughs though I kept getting stuck in spots in the building. Once I was hiding under a desk and a securtiy guard found me and asked me to leave. When I tried to leave I was stuck under the desk as my character couldn’t get past the guard, Steve. As Steve shouted at me, I shouted at my screen back “move Steve!” until Steve kicked me out and that was the end of my snooping.
There are quite a few bugs like this which can really dampe the great atmosphere the game has. Searching around dark unlit areas is spooky and you want to get out of there quick. Hearing the Janitor play the harmonica in a huge empty room gives off the feeling that there are always people
Overall The Occupation has a foundation to be a great game and maybe with a few patches, it will be quite the experience. Maybe the game is the way it is because let’s face it, having bugs like all that I’ve mentioned makes for a better YouTube playthrough. In the middle of all the bugs is a great British thriller which has a story that could easily be a cool detective mini-series on TV.