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Most first-person video games that open with an act of terrorism are instantly adopted by hours of machine gun-based retribution, however The Occupation takes a refreshingly completely different method. Fairly than drop you within the fight boots of a one-man military, it as a substitute places you within the well-worn footwear of an investigative journalist and forces you to look at your environment with an analytical eye versus a set of ironsights. Sadly, what might have amounted to a novel and absorbing stealth-investigation expertise is recurrently ruined by quite a few tough edges. Like the themes of its in-game interrogations, The Occupation’s shaky facade is all too steadily uncovered.
It’s 1987, and an explosion killing 23 individuals in North West England has triggered a civil liberty-threatening authorities act that’s resulted in widespread unrest among the many populace. The person accused of the bombing, Alex Dubois, maintains his innocence, and it’s as much as the participant as journalist Harvey Miller to snoop round Dubois’ office and interview those that knew him so as confirm precisely what occurred on the night time of the assault, and both show or disprove his innocence consequently.
What makes The Occupation distinctive is that the majority of its ranges are set towards a real-time clock. Whereas there are a few smaller flashback ranges that aren’t timed, the primary chapters see Miller arrive at a facility an hour earlier than his scheduled interview time, permitting him to wander into staff-only areas and snoop on conversations in an effort to develop a number of strains of questioning and collect proof for the allotted interview, all whereas the time on his digital ‘80s-era wrist watch continues to march on.
“[There’s] a palpable sense of urgency to virtually each second.
The way you spend the allotted time is solely as much as you. You can also make each minute depend, rifling via submitting cupboards for cellphone information, pulling passwords from post-it notes to be able to entry private emails, tripping fuse containers to knock out alarms, and chasing down every lead to make sure you’re armed with sufficient intel to confidently interrogate your interview topic on the chapter’s finish. Or, you’ll be able to pull up a chair within the constructing’s lobby and whereas away the minutes listening to the safety guard hilariously spout traditional film strains to himself, unaware he has an viewers. The Occupation’s story progresses no matter what number of strains of investigation you pursue, however the extra effectively you make use of your time the extra choices you’re introduced at every chapter’s climax, which provides a palpable sense of urgency to virtually each second.
Snoop Buggy Bug
The Occupation is introduced undone by quite a lot of recurring glitches.
It’s a disgrace then that steadily all through its 5 hour runtime The Occupation is introduced undone by quite a lot of recurring glitches, starting from small and worsening to huge and game-breaking. It’s a comparatively minor nuisance when the onscreen immediate for the elevator name button fails to look and forces you to take the steps as a substitute; it’s an absolute disaster once you’re 40 minutes right into a degree and also you instantly fall via the sport world down right into a shadowy void absent of geometry, with no choice aside from to give up to the menu display and restart your entire chapter, which occurred a number of instances throughout my playthrough.
Normal motion, significantly when navigating air vents or slim scaffolding planks can usually really feel unwieldy, and I steadily discovered myself clumsily rubbing up and down the facet of crates spamming the soar button in an effort to seek out the precise candy spot that might let me clamber up. The reticule additionally feels much more fiddly than it ought to to finish easy actions resembling selecting up a cassette tape or interacting with the play button on an answering machine, and when time is of the essence such a fussy interface grows ever extra annoying.
It’s additionally a curious design selection that apart from paperwork and tokens for the payphone, you’ll be able to solely ever carry one merchandise at a time, even though Miller is perpetually lugging round a briefcase. There have been quite a few events once I’d snuck previous the safety guard, disabled the alarm to a sure workplace and gone to insert a floppy disk into a pc to backup some delicate paperwork, solely to seek out that I’d routinely dropped the disk at my ft a number of rooms again with out realising once I’d picked up an innocuous firm memo. Once more, valuable minutes wasted for no good cause.
The Occupation’s strict adherence to a real-time clock mixed with the absence of handbook saves can even conspire to noticeably hinder the stream of its narrative. Within the first of my two playthroughs, I discovered myself simply barely two minutes late for the second interview session within the sport. I walked into the assembly room, my interview topic sat on the desk smoking a cigarette. I anticipated one in every of two issues, both I’d be chastised for my slight tardiness and the interview would begin barely delayed, or I’d be advised by the interview topic that the assembly was cancelled. Neither occurred.
As an alternative, I awkwardly stumbled across the assembly room trying to find a immediate that might set off the interview and by no means truly discovering one, earlier than the extent abruptly ended and shunted me forwards into the following chapter, overwriting my save sport and stopping me from retrying the earlier one. Not solely did skipping this interview price me a sizeable quantity of element I wanted to flesh out holes within the story, but additionally, as I discovered on my second playthrough, a sure important piece of knowledge that prevented me from unlocking one of many sport’s endings afterward.