The Forgotten City: Time loops, and a delightful story!

Apart from the occasional first-person shooters that gave me a headache, 2021 was an excellent year for video games.

author_img Anusha Ganapathi Published :  05th January 2022 03:06 PM   |   Published :   |  05th January 2022 03:06 PM
A still from 'The Forgotten City'.

A still from 'The Forgotten City'.

Apart from the occasional first-person shooters that gave me a headache, 2021 was an excellent year for video games. I now have a standard to which I hold games accountable, and that standard is that they must have a gripping story.

I played one such game to start off the new year—the theme, a hangover from 2021’s time loop onslaught. It is called The Forgotten City (TFC). Barely 15 minutes into the game, and I could not wait to tell anyone who would listen that they must all play it.

In TFC, I am a self-proclaimed archaeologist lost in an old city. The city is small, with only a few dozen residents.

The big secret of the city is its numerous golden statues, scattered as scarcely as garbage on the beach. The statues are shiny relics of people who look as if they were frozen mid-action. I soon learn that the city suffers from the curse of the ancient gods.

The residents are trapped there in perpetuity, stuck in a land of the past— around the time of the Roman empire. Obviously, my goal is to escape this place. It is not just because there is no Internet, or because the women had no voting rights during that time. It is because the gods had enforced this ludicrous judgment known as the ‘Golden Rule’.

Simply explained, the ‘Golden Rule’ is a philosophical idea of only doing the right thing—the good thing. Even if one person in the city commits a sin, the whole city pays the price for it. I am a really nice person, so I found it fairly easy to do the right thing in the game. However, morality is not strictly defined.

As I talk to the residents, I find that the dialogues are written well, and that not all wrongful activities are condemned.

The game forces us to ask deeper questions: ‘How do humans identify what bad deeds are?’ ‘How do we distinguish between a boo-boo and a misguided judgment?’ ‘Does it deserve punishment if it is rationalised?’ The moment I gained this unwanted enlightenment, I stopped holding myself back. I did every wrongdoing that I could do to get out of this hellish utopia.

Thankfully, or sadly, I was stuck in a time loop. Whenever I made a mistake, or made someone slip-up, the day restarted (for everyone but me). But with each reentry, I had added information, which eventually helped me uncover the mystery. I will not say more.

You must play it—it is a great game for beginners as well as seasoned gamers. A full 10/10 from me. The Forgotten City is available across consoles—PS, Xbox, and PC.

Anusha Ganapathi @quofles

(This economics graduate spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)