The Forgotten City Review – Seven Deadly Sins

In the years prior to Julius Caesar’s rule of ancient Rome, the legions of the empire were led by a wealthy general known as Marcus Crassus. He was infamous for many things, one of which was his revival of decimation–a harrowing means to control the army by punishing the collective for the actions of singular dissidents. Soldiers were divided into groups of ten, where each would draw stones. The one unfortunate enough to draw a white one would be beaten to death by the remaining nine, regardless of their involvement in any crimes against the empire. It instilled not only fear, but a strong sense of responsibility among the legions of soldiers, who quickly learned to self-discipline in the face of such punishment.

The Forgotten City, a narrative puzzle game that started out as a Skyrim mod, uses the principle of decimation as its basis. It’s an anecdote used to describe the game’s most prominent mechanic, The Golden Rule, which is an ever-present threat to the small community trapped in a desolate and secluded city deep in the Roman mountains. A god watching over the community threatens to turn everyone into gold should anyone commit a sin. In theory this should lead to a utopia, a land where its people are forced into peaceful co-existence through the persistent threat of imminent and absolute destruction. But it’s not long before you realize that the ideals of right and wrong, and, more importantly, who defines them, allow the definitions of sin to be bent and stretched in creative and cruel ways.

Not long after the game’s opening, you’re teleported back in time to this ancient city and caught within the web of its passive aggressive personalities and bubbling politics. The magistrate of the society is the only one aware of who you are, tasking you with using an infinite time loop to figure out who will eventually break The Golden Rule and stop them before it happens. This also turns out to be the only way that you can get back to your time, motivating you to get very familiar with each of the city’s varied inhabitants and decipher who might be on the verge of teasing out the apocalypse. Each loop is an opportunity to learn more about each citizen through dialogue, deciphering what their daily routines are, which other citizens they’re bound to interact with, and which of their problems you can potentially solve. Eventually each day comes to an end, bringing about the fruition of The Golden Rule and forcing you to sprint towards the shrine you entered through to start the day over again.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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