Game Review: The Forgotten City (Xbox Series X)

The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure role-playing game developed by Australian developer Modern Storyteller and published by Dear Villagers with additional support from Film Victoria. It is a full video game adaptation of the critically-acclaimed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mod of the same name. Initially released in 2015 as a mod, the full game was released in July 2021.

The story of The Forgotten City explores the existential relationship between humanity and its laws. The game begins with the protagonist waking after being rescued from floating down the Tiber River in Italy. The mysterious individual who rescues you asks them to look for her friend, who had disappeared whilst investigating nearby ruins. As you explore said ruins, you’re sent towards the era of the Roman Empire in the now-restored city. As the plot progresses and the player continues exploring it becomes clear that the city is under the conditional protection of the gods, where if anyone is to commit sin, all citizens of the city would be equally punished and turned into gold in a system referred to as the Golden Rule.

Played from a first person perspective you must explore, discuss, and investigate. There is combat but it’s completely optional. Although, you’d be severely missing out if you skip it.Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I can’t remember the last game that I played that had me as hooked as The Forgotten City did. I genuinely went in to playing it completely blind and had no idea the kind of journey I was about to embark on. Man, what a journey it is. The best way I can describe the narrative in this game is to compare it to a really good book, you just don’t want to put it down. Just to be clear, I was completely engrossed.

The whole “time loop” concept is such a simple idea. However, it’s something that can easily be done poorly, but not here. There are so many possibilities and potential outcomes within the game, discovering them all is part of the fun. The characters that you encounter each have their own interesting story to tell. By the end, you’ll most certainly feel something for each and every one of them.

For a game that places such emphasis on its narrative, for it to be successful, it needs strong dialogue. Thankfully, it has just that in spades. It’s really well written with the choices you can make in terms of the dialogue a lot of fun to play around with. Conversations can go in a lot of different directions based on what you say. I wasn’t prepared for just how deep some of these chats were going to get. They raise many genuinely thought provoking, philosophical notions on all sorts of things. The story takes a number of unpredictable turns.

Additionally, there is a lot of educational value to the game. I mean, you’re getting to explore an ancient Roman ruin/city full of artefacts that are accompanied by informative descriptions.

Visually, the game looks a little dated. However, dated or not it still looks great. There is a lot of detail throughout the world. Considering how integral gold is to the game, I’m glad to say that the shiny element looks wonderful here. Talking of gold, those creepy golden statues turning to look at you? Awesome touch. The character models will be familiar to anyone that has played either Skyrim or Fallout. They look a bit stiff and the lip syncing could be better but on the whole they do look decent.

The little combat that you experience works well. It only happens when necessary and doesn’t overstay its welcome. The “peeled” enemies are freaky and the story behind them is quite horrific as well. The golden bow that you have at your disposal adds a really neat mechanic to the game too.

The Forgotten City even adds certain things that I wish every game would have. One of which was that on long written documents it had a smaller amount of writing that would basically sum up what was being said. Also, the option to have audio files play during gameplay instead of having to stand there and let them play out.

Another thing, the soulful yet haunting soundtrack that accompanies you is just perfect for the setting. It filled me with awe when it was supposed to and dread when required. On the whole, everything feels short, sweet and to the point.

The 4th and final canon ending is super satisfying. It delivers a wonderful conclusion in a way that few games manage.

Overall, I loved every second of my time with The Forgotten City. Any complaints that I do have would only be minor and don’t really detract from the overall experience. This is the type of game that makes me wish I could forget that I had played it just so I could enjoy it all over again.




Author

  • Liam Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Typical 90s-00s kid; raised on Pokémon, Final Fantasy & the Attitude Era. In fact, that makes up about 99% of my personality. The remaining 1% is dedicated to my inner rage for people who still don’t understand the ending of Lost or those that enjoyed the Game of Thrones final season. Find me on GBHBL where I’ll most likely be reviewing horror movies or games. Also, see me on our YouTube channel!

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