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The Old City: Leviathan (Impressions)

by: Travis -
More On: The Old City: Leviathan

The particular genre of games that focus exclusively on the narrative experience doesn't see many new releases, which was the primary reason that I got excited learning more about The Old City: Leviathan from developer PostMod Softworks. Described as a combination of gameplay elements from Dear Esther, Gone Home, and The Stanley Parable, The Old City: Leviathan is the first part in a larger story that has the player exploring an abandoned metropolis with scattered clues about its missing civilization.

The Old City isn't a game in which everything is explained to the player. Quite the opposite in that players must explore and study the game world to determine its fate and forgotten history. A 30,000-word novella has been recorded to narrate the player's journey as they walk through various city areas and corridors. The narration is nearly always mysterious in its messages forcing the player to determine their relation to the game world. The developer describes The Old City as containing philosophical themes, which aren't seen in many other games.

While my press build of the game only contained four introductory chapters, I was eager to venture further into the city and discover its many secrets. The first part of the game, releasing later this year, is said to last around five hours, but certainly will take longer for players that wish to explore every nook and cranny for additional story elements. Built on the Unreal engine, the game's visuals produce an atmospheric world that is a joy to explore and gaze upon its amalgamation of classical and modern architecture. The Old City's masterful use of narrative and visual elements succeed in making the player guess if what they're seeing is reality or ultimately a dream.

After playing just a brief snippet of The Old City exploring mysterious sewers and venturing above ground in a world of floating islands, I'm excited to see what else the game's first part has in store for players. Be sure to check back for our review of The Old City: Leviathan when it launches later this year.