After a leap in time, you are transported to the mysterious underground civilization of The Forgotten City.
Beneath the sands of time history still holds many secrets. Archeologists and treasure hunters alike may still reveal hidden clues about our past, but what if a doorway suddenly opened, and on the other side was an ancient Roman city? While the present may have its modern perks, we may share a lot in common with a civilization of the past. We may even find that their ancient Gods can still influence the lives of mortals.
The Forgotten City is a first person adventure that casts you into the past to live among Romans, yet this particular city is strange even by ancient standards. Located underground with no real way out, The Forgotten City is closely monitored. The beautiful city has many shrines, but it remains a mystery as to which God sought to establish their ideal “city without sin.” The small group of inhabitants live under one golden rule, and it may not be the same one you’re thinking of. In this instance it means “the many shall suffer for the sins of the few,” because if one citizen commits a sin, the entire city will be doomed to perish.
The story is a quest to reveal the unknown. When the protagonist of your creation washes up on a riverbed near an ancient temple, you are beckoned by the stranger who saved you to help her find their exploring partner named Al. While following Al’s footsteps into an ancient ruin, you stumble into the forgotten city and discover mysterious golden statues scattered throughout. Al’s notes lead you down a path with no way back, except through a portal to the past. The only way to fully return is by creating a time paradox that will fling you back to the present time.
The journey is shrouded in mystery and plays more like a choose your own adventure book instead of your run of the mill action rpg. You must conduct an investigation and prevent someone from breaking the golden rule and causing the downfall of the city. The city adheres to the laws of Rome and their gods but while laws against murder, assault, and theft may be clear, there is a lot a lot of grey area as to what else the Gods might consider a sin, like adultery or even trespassing.
Conversations with characters reveal as much about the story as they do ancient Roman life and culture. Each resident has a different backstory before arriving in the city, but since no one knows of a way out, they live and work peacefully as Roman republic by voting in a magistrate to govern the city. Of course not all is as it seems and it is up to the new time traveler in town to prevent the town’s doomed fate and return themself to their present.
The sound and visuals surrounding The Forgotten City are stunning. The beautifully rendered scenery enhances the thoughtful and dramatic style of the game in both outdoor landscapes and within the ancient architecture of the city. The natural cavernous landscapes and ancient structures will stop you in your tracks to soak in the haunting beauty of your surroundings. The fully orchestrated soundtrack inspires an aura of awe and mystery as the score provides an enchanting background on par with any other popular fantasy games.
While there are elements of action and horror, Forgotten City stands apart from its Bethesda rpg roots. The primary focus is the adventure’s mystery and storytelling. Most of the game revolves around the dialogue options used to investigate characters motives and feelings toward their city’s governance, and can even be beaten without using combat whatsoever.
Eventually you get a ranged weapon, and combat in underground caverns feels similar to a stealthy archer playthrough in Skyrim. Based on your decisions the story will split into multiple paths with different endings. The writing is compelling as characters will retell stories from mythology and share personal experiences with believable historical accuracy, usually referring to when the city of Rome caught fire during the early days of Christianity. The dialog often brings into question the difference between right and wrong as well as drawing comparisons of Roman ethics to the modern morals of the time traveler.
While there is no permanent death, there are moments when failure seems horrific and almost unavoidable but certain actions will cause time to repeat itself back to the morning of your arrival. Finding clever ways to bend the rules will cause consequences that you can exploit by repeating the same day with different actions. The effect is similar to Majora’s Mask or the movie Groundhog Day.
The voice acting does a wonderful job of conveying each character’s emotions and story. The dialogue tree is fun to explore but after utilizing the time loop can become a bit disjointed with information. After learning more about your surroundings you might land into some redundant speech options, or a character with inconsistent information. However the small team of developers put a lot of research into their story as it parallels with history, so the more engaging interactions greatly overshadow any repeats of information while conversing with the citizens.
The Forgotten City is a wonderful match for fans of interactive storytelling looking for a surreal experience straight out of a history book. This modernized adventure game feels akin to Myst or Monkey Island. The concept of time travel in a bizarre setting is explored in games like Life is Strange or Dreamfall Chapters, with optional combat encounters sprinkled in for some ancient Roman flavor. By doing away with the expected stats, gear sets, and level progression of an action or rpg game, the immersive play does a wonderful job of leaving more room to become immersed in story instead of strategy. The intriguing mystery surrounding The Forgotten City will make any curious time traveler question their in-game ethics, morality, and the golden rule of the ancient gods.
-Beautifully rendered natural landscapes and Roman architecture
-Intriguing story and dialogue that aligns with history and mythology
-ethereal orchestrated soundtrack adds drama and suspense
-Time traveling can cause some disjointed dialogue
4 out of 5
review code provided by PR. The Forgotten City is out now!