The Occupation review – a brilliant, if broken, British BioShock

March 4, 2019
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If this review was nowt but swear words – and by that, I mean just an endless rant of disgusting words glued end-to-end ad infinitum – I still wouldn’t be able to properly convey how much The Occupation frustrates me.

Because the worst thing about this – the most egregious thing, the most toe-curlingly infuriating part of it – is that I love The Occupation. I love its premise and art style. I love its killer 80s soundtrack and novel real-time conceit. It truly has some of the finest voice-acting I’ve heard for a while. But it is also broken, glitchy, buggy, and nonsensical, and for every one thing that colours me impressed, another five makes me scream at the screen in frustration – usually when the game bugs out completely, taking an hour’s worth of my progress with it.

The premise of The Occupation is that you control the narrative. As the journalist Harvey Miller, you explore your environments, scavenging for leads and collecting evidence. Consequently, you control how you conduct your interviews with the people of interest, and any additional evidence you uncover can be used to surprise your witnesses. You get to decide whether you sit politely and await your appointed time or whether – when the security guard’s back is turned – you slip silently into the Staff Only section to do a little digging. Turns out everyone has a slightly different version of events, and it’s up to you to discern which account is truthful.

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