Hands-on Preview – The Forgotten City
From the moment I first saw the trailer for The Forgotten City from Modern Storyteller, I was hooked. A game with a Skyrim feel, a curious mystery to be solved, and an inventive time-looping mechanic? Sign me up! Fortunately, I was able to gain early access to this game so I could experience it firsthand.
The whole premise for The Forgotten City is so creative and unique, that I couldn’t help but fall in love. You play as a blank slate of a protagonist who is rescued by an unknown woman after she found you floating down a river and pulled you to safety. She asks you to help her find her colleague who went missing after investigating some ancient ruins. After following his trail, you stumble across the ruins yourself and are pulled into a strange portal.
This portal casts you into a mysterious city of Roman and (to a lesser extent) Greek influence, set about two thousand years into the past. Even stranger still is the fact that there are golden statues of people looking horrified or pleading for their lives everywhere. That’s when you learn about the Golden Rule: the sins of one will affect everyone.
While trying to figure out where you are or what is happening, you’ll uncover two facts right away. The first is that in The Forgotten City, there is no escape. The second is that if any one person breaks the Golden Rule (no killing, stealing, assault, etc.), then everyone will pay the price by being transformed into a golden statue forever. Think of it as a curse combination of Medusa and King Midas.
So it’s up to you to find out what is causing this curse and how to escape it. The Forgotten City involves a lot of investigation and exploration in order to get to the bottom of things. Another interesting aspect is that combat, for the most part, is somewhat optional. The Forgotten City encourages you to speak to everyone, carefully explore everywhere available, and think before you take action.
Failure to adhere to the Golden Rule will result in everyone being turned into golden statues. At this point, you’ll have to enter the strange portal again that will take you back to the beginning of when you arrived there. In this aspect it reminds me a lot of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Even more so because certain story related items will still be in your inventory when you start the loop again.
Visually, The Forgotten City looks like Skyrim, only with much better facial animations. I am truly shocked that this game was developed by only three people! The concept, the smooth controls, wonderful time-looping mechanic, and stunning graphics are on par with the quality of work of some major studios. This game also has four different endings, so there is a lot of replayability here as well. But don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself. This is one game that cannot be forgotten.
The Forgotten City will be available in July 2021 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X, with the Switch version becoming available later this year.