The Forgotten City in the test: time loop mystery in ancient Rome

The Forgotten City in the test: time loop mystery in ancient Rome

The Forgotten City in the test

A Roman city lies hidden from light and prying eyes inside a great mountain. Only 23 people live peacefully in this secret society, but appearances can also be deceptive. They cannot leave the city, nor can they sin, for even the smallest white lie brings a terrible curse on all residents. An angry god rules this city and any wrongdoing triggers "The Golden Rule" and turns all residents into pure gold. The crimes of previous generations can be seen all over the city - grim warnings not to sin and golden statues of frightened sinners. These people need your help and somehow they manage to call you from the future.

Table of contents

1 Old acquaintances 2 History lesson with a difference 3 Ancient detective work 4 And daily greetings from the Romans 5 Unforgettable city As the protagonist of the game, you enter the city through a portal - 2,000 years into the past and armed only with a flashlight. As a newcomer you are now trying to find out why you are there and how you can return to your time. For this you have to prove your detective skills and clear up the mysteries of The Forgotten City (buy now 39.99 €). Why is there "The Golden Rule"? Who is this entity that rules everything? And why can no one escape? A lot of secrets and explorations await you, as well as meaningful decisions that give you the feeling of really creating the plot yourself.

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Old friends

The whole setting sounds familiar to you, but you don't know exactly where from? The Forgotten City is a complete remake of a hugely popular Skyrim mod of the same name that has been downloaded over 3 million times and won the National Writers' Guild Award for Outstanding Script. The Australian Nick Pearce, creator of the award-winning mod, took advantage of this success and founded a development studio, Modern Storyteller. The now three-person development team has set itself the task of inspiring both mind and heart with their games and exploiting the potential of video games as the ultimate narrative medium. With such an ambitious goal, authenticity is required and this is definitely provided by the makers.

As soon as you have traveled through the portal into the past, a wonderful sight awaits you. Source: PC Games

History lesson with a difference

The developers worked with experts in Roman history and archeology to present the ancient city as authentically as possible. And that can be seen! Anyone who has always wondered what it would be like to live with Romans in the first century AD will get their money's worth here. In the good as well as in the bad sense. Because life in the time of the ancient Romans was not particularly ideal, even if they claim of themselves in the game that they are civilized. We were particularly impressed by the perfectly reproduced architecture of an ancient city. A history lesson with a difference: The developers of The Forgotten City have put a lot of effort into depicting the ancient life of the Romans in as much detail as possible. Unsavory as it was. Source: PC Games Countless buildings, from shabby barracks to pompous palaces and temples, you will encounter while roaming the city. The interior of the building is accordingly designed with just as much attention to detail. There are countless original frescoes, busts, statues and wall paintings that could also be found in a museum. And if that's not enough, Modern Storyteller will give you additional history lessons so that you can shine with real knowledge after playing. While you are playing, you can pick up and inspect some objects, and you will get a short text showing what the selected object was used for in ancient times. So you can upgrade boring conversations with exciting facts at the next opportunity and tell why stoves had no exhaust back then or why carrots were purple in antiquity.

Antique detective work

It is also historically correct in the nature of the inhabitants of the mysterious city. Not only do Romans live in it, but also Greeks, Egyptians and a group that was newfangled for the time and believed in only one god. At the beginning of the game, your task is to find out who each character is and where exactly you are. This is done through detailed discussions with the residents. The dialogues are written in an exciting way and give you hints about your situation and a better understanding of the interlocutors and their motivations and plans. Galerius is one of the residents of the ancient city. He lets you know the rules of the city at the beginning of the game. Source: PC Games Many conversations trigger quests that help you advance in the story, some of which are merely optional. So that your gaming experience doesn't just consist of dialogues and a running simulator, the tasks include a mixture of combat and exploration. The combat and jump mechanics are a bit bumpy, which reminded us of Skyrim. Nevertheless, these sections are fun, because they offer a nice change of pace from the conversations, so that the experience does not become too repetitive. Since you can't do much with your modern flashlight against the opponents in the game, a bow for the fight is made available to you in a very contemporary way. The mechanics of the bow are nothing out of the ordinary, tensioning the string, aiming and firing an arrow are the motto here. It gets more exciting with the origin of the bow. It comes from the shrine of the goddess Diana and, let me say, it will gild you at any moment.

The city is full of magnificent palaces and temples. You could really feel at home if the city weren't full of golden statues with scared faces. Source: PC Games

And greetings from the Romans every day

Since you yourself are now a resident of the city, the golden rule also applies to you. Therefore, during your explorations and conversations, you have to pay attention to what you are doing or saying. As soon as you commit a sin, it will mean the downfall of the city. And this is where it gets interesting, because that is exactly what you can use to your advantage. As soon as the world around you ends, you have the opportunity to run back to the portal and turn back time. Provided you are not converted to gold yourself beforehand. The day starts all over again, but you keep all the items and information that you have previously collected. This gives you a great advantage and can influence the story in your favor. A mysterious voice whispers you to enter the portal. What can go wrong? Source: PC Games For example, a lie could give you an answer or you could steal a potion that you can use to heal someone. Fortunately, Modern Storyteller has come up with a few solutions because you have to go through time travel, similar to the movie "Groundhog Day", through complete daily routines over and over again. After each reset, some events are accelerated with the help of a messenger or other additions so that you can fully concentrate on your mission. Depending on how you play out your options, you can achieve four different game ends. It also depends on how much detective work you want to do. To really uncover all the mysteries of the city and its inhabitants, you need patience, brains and a bit of persuasion. Accordingly, you will get some endings quickly, but for the real ending with clearing up all the mysteries you need about 10 to 15 hours.

The highest point of the city offers a good view. Source: PC Games

Unforgettable City

The only downer is that some of the more important moments are neglected in the visualization. When the characters do something other than talk to you, they often move in strange ways and the surrounding events, such as falling debris, are ugly animated. As far as the characters' facial expressions are concerned, they are unfortunately very expressionless, but fortunately this is saved by the successful voice output and dialogues. The atmosphere in the game is mysterious and a bit scary at the same time. Source: PC Games

Regardless of the visual shortcomings, The Forgotten City is a unique game that casts a spell over us with its world and story. Time travel as a detective tool is cleverly used and chatting with the various characters is always entertaining. Your decisions in the game always have an influence on future events and with the different endings, The Forgotten City invites you to play through it several times. In addition, dealing with real history and the philosophical moral question often offers a reason to think, which is never overwhelming for us as a player. The developers of Modern Storyteller demonstrate a lot of ingenuity and narrative skills with this game, which makes The Forgotten City an unforgettable experience.

The game is for the PC, PS4 & PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S available.

Did you play the original Skyrim mod? Do you recognize the mod in the new edition? Write us your opinion in the comments!

My opinion

By Dina Manevich

Author A city from which one simply does not want to escape. This sinless city may have no exits, but that's a good thing because I didn't want to leave it anyway. I just couldn't get enough of the beautiful architecture. After I got the "best" ending, I was immediately tempted to start a new game and explore other ways and endings. Even though I encountered a few bugs on my trip, it certainly didn't take away the fun. Somehow that reminded me of Skyrim, which made me forget the little stumbling blocks. I was absolutely thrilled by the extremely imaginative concept of The Forgotten City, which was so poignantly implemented. The perfect game for everyone who is interested in history, philosophy, mythology or just a good, exciting detective story. The Forgotten City (PC) 9/10

Graphics - Sound - Multiplayer - Pro & Contra Captivating story Interesting characters Elaborate dialogues Player decisions influence the story Replay value Detailed historical world Mystical atmosphere Animations are visually weak Occasionally quest- Bugs occur Somewhat clumsy control in combat More pros & cons ... Conclusion Modern storytellers show a lot of skill in building an exciting atmosphere and convincing characters.

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