After The Party passed the Safety Bill, a collection of safety centered laws and statures, the crime rate of The Nation dropped significantly. Those laws allow for a more simplified and sped up process of investigation against potential persons of interest. One such person of interest has appeared in Freedom Plaza, just minutes before the bomb went off and killed three people. It is time to put Orwell into effect.
Orwell is a program that allows intrusion in people’s online presence. Everything that exists on the web about a person can be retrieved. Every article or blog post, every picture, every medical analysis. Their conversations over their mobile phones can be recorded, their texts can be read. You are an Investigator, the first to actually be assigned to use Orwell in a real life case. Your job? Collect all relevant information about persons of interest connected with the bombing of Freedom Plaza and remember : you must always follow the Ethical Code, only pass through relevant information to the case.
In Orwell you are not alone. The information you pass through will be evaluated by your adviser. He cannot listen to you, you cannot have a conversation. He can only read the information you sent him and guide you to your next step. So pay attention to the information you pass through. We wouldn’t want to reach the wrong conclusion about a person of interest and having them be killed by accident, would we?
The relevant Datachunks of the case will be highlighted for you and will offer a brief description of where they fit in the case. Any time you find something new in articles or posts can lead you to more files throughout the internet that you can search. Some information will lead you to bank accounts, ID’s of the suspect’s computers or phones, their addresses or their past lives. At some point you will be able to search their personal computers, read their love letters or look their private pictures. Always search for information. Always, don’t forget that.
Don’t get attached to the characters that you will get to find out about them and their lives. They are not your friends. They are persons of interest, they are data flowing through the web, what they say, feel or do, matters not. What matters is to preserve the safety and well being of The Nation. Don’t get carried away by their words, language corrupts thought as thought corrupts language. They might be lying, stay objective and only follow the case. And don’t forget Investigator, Big Brother is watching you too.
It is scary how relevant can 1984, the dystopian novel by George Orwell, can be in our days. Even scarier is the fact that, while I was the investigator throughout the duration of the game Orwell, nothing seemed out of place or made me feel that I was experiencing a dystopian future the developers imagined. Everything seemed so real, so… every day. Searching for information throughout the game’s web felt like reading messages on Facebook, like checking my phone or reading normal blog posts. The writing is incredibly vivid and captivating that makes everything seem like part of my life.
Orwell feels mostly like an interactive visual novel, you will have to read a lot of text that comes in the form of articles, news or conversations of the characters. Even so, it never gets tiring because the writing is that good. Another mechanic that helps is that the relevant Datachunks get highlighted and you can scroll through a file until you find them and then upload them for your Adviser to see. Sometimes there might be a conflict with the information and you will have to judge which one is the most relevant in order to reach a more informed conclusion. The highlighted information might make you feel that the game becomes easy, but trust me, when you are into chapter four and you have a bulk of articles, news and conversations to shift through, the last thing you will want to do is read through them again and again, it will take you forever.
The ambient music is nice enough to get you in the right atmosphere of the game and I definitely liked the dramatic change when something important happened. The graphics are vivid and clear, though you will mostly read stuff on the game. Even so, the interface is beautifully polished and never gets tiring.
The story is captivating and made me keep coming back, until I reached the conclusion. Again, and I need to stress this, the writing is incredible and makes all the characters feel alive. The language changes depending of who is speaking or writing and during the game you will get to know who is who and what is their background just by the things they say. The only problem I faced with the game was a freeze while loading a conversation screen, but after I restarted the game, everything worked great.
You can buy Orwell on Steam for the price of 9,99€.
In our day and age where most of our lives are out on the internet for everyone and anyone to see, and with people complaining about losing their privacy day by day, Orwell the game by Osmotic Studios, just like the novel by George Orwell feels incredibly relevant. If you are interested in the themes behind security, privacy, Big Brother, or just want a very well written investigative story, then definitely check it. It is definitely worth it.
+Incredibly vivid writing
+Characters that feel alive
+You feel like you actualy do the investigation
+A game world that seems disturbingly similar to our own
–Froze once but fixed after restart of the game
Score : 9/10
Dimitris “Dimi Kaye” Kalyvas