Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4

Release Date: March 5th, 2019

Reviewed On: Xbox One S

Developer: White Paper Games

Publisher: Humble Bundle

Price: $29.99 USD

I’ve been reviewing games for this site for almost three years now. During my tenure I really haven’t spent much time with games like The Occupation. Actually, we don’t have many games in the world like The Occupation. That is a shame because we really do need more games like this immersive experience.

Story 

Set during the year 1987 in London England, you find yourself in the middle of a national crisis. The Union Act is about to pass. That is something that would harm the people of Great Britain. Also, a terrorist bombing that apparently was done by an immigrant killed 23 people. You are the investigative journalist that needs to find the evidence to prove who really did the bombing. The game’s story actually starts out with female protagonist who has a special connection to the story. Harvey Miller is the character who you really play as; an investigative journalist doing some digging on the recent terrorist attack.  I could have enjoyed the story more if I didn’t have to be forced to play though the other characters’ parts. I didn’t enjoy the narrative jumping back and forth between them.

Gameplay

Just about everything thing in this game is interactive. You can buy cigarettes in the vending machine, play records, and so much more. To discover any leads or questions you may have means you need to explore and go to ares you’re not supposed to be in. That’s where Steve shows up and ruins all of the fun. Think of Steve as Mr. X in the recently released Resident Evil 2 remake. He shows up in areas where you least expect him and he causes some serious glitches in the game. Those glitches allowed me almost free rein around the office building. When it came time to get the last of my work down, Steve his glitch caused some serious problems for me. 

The reason being – this game uses real-time to get things done. Say you have an hour before you interview someone, you really only have the hour.  Getting caught in areas you’re not supposed to be in will deduct time from the clock. Messing around and eventually getting around to focusing on your task will waste a lot of time. The game has multiple endings depending on how well you manage your time. Spend that hour playing music or buying items from the vending machine and you will not have done your job. I may have got sucked in to the great immersive gameplay. It will happen since this immersive experience can be so much fun. 

Unfortunately, playing as another character was actually not that great. The perspective of Scarlet could have been done in a different way that didn’t work against the gameplay for the reporter (the main character). When you switch characters it takes longer to load then I would have liked. During that time I could get up and get some coffee or – as a matter of fact – find something else to play. The story itself wasn’t something that hurt the game; it was just that the narrative being forced to change gears like that hurt the overall game for me.

Graphics

The Occupation is a good-looking game. It’s the details on all of the small objects you would find in an office that really look amazing. From the old servers, computers, and all the way down to the fully functioning record players.  White Paper Games really did a great job making all of these details fit in this world. For the mot part the game is set inside with decently bright colors that don’t make a splash. Sneaking through the bomb site showed off the darker and grittier look to the game. It was a great contrast to the rest of the game’s visuals. During my playthrough I only had a few weird glitches with Steve that affected the gameplay but not the visual appeal of the game. The Occupation is a great looking game that has me wondering what White Paper Games could do with a darker, horror driven story.

Audio

The Occupation boasts an excellent soundtrack. The records you find throughout your time in the game can be played at your apartment. Don’t try being a DJ; you can’t play those records like that. In most of my reviews I discuss if a game is playable without the sound being on. Can I play The Occupation without the sound? Kind of. Actually, when you are exploring you need to be able to listen to tapes and also listen for the security guards coming. The Occupation makes a noise when a guard gets closer. If you want to miss out on the voice acting and music, then by all means don’t turn up the volume on the TV. The voice acting is wonderful; the actors truly bring these characters to life. Don’t expect the world to suffer from the acting. Only the load times will kill you.

Verdict

I was given the opportunity to play this title and after some frustration, I was able to get through the game. Given that the load times are just awful and that Steve can cause you to stop playing the game completely, I would hold off on this title for a bit. Even if the problems with Steve are patched, I don’t think that will be enough to get players into the game. Aside from that, White Paper Games crafted something truly special that I hope gets fixed so many more players can enjoy the experience for themselves.

Review copy was provided from Humble Bundle.