The year is 1987. We are in England. The Bowman Carson Group is pushing the agenda for the approval of the Union Act, a measure against the liberties of the population with the excuse of protecting British people against illegal immigrants that live in UK territory. Citizens are going to vote for or against this Act in a matter of days. But while people discuss in favor or against the Union Act, an explosion hits the company headquarter and someone is being held responsible for what happened: an immigrant. But something smells funny here: there are clues in the air that indicate someone is being framed by what happened and, Scarlet, the wife of one of the victims, is determined to discover the truth behind what happened.
Playing as Scarlet and Harvey, a reporter who is investigating the incident, you will uncover the truth about the event. Just keep in mind that every second count in this real-time investigation and not everything is what it seems in this thriller from UK studio White Paper Games. Now pick up your briefcase and let’s go for some old-fashioned stealthy investigation.
- Audio Design: Kudos for you, White Paper Games! Although the music is almost absent during the gameplay, its presence in momentous of tension, alongside good sound effects and great voice work (between the many good performances, I must give special praise to the actors who dubbed Scarlet and Charles, who had an outstanding performance) perfectly fit the game atmosphere! Well, except at the moments when you find some radios playing some good British music from the ’80s when this tension turns into some good nostalgia for rock and roll and pop music fans!
- Visuals: The Occupation makes great use of enhancements provided by the Xbox One X and its 4K support. Scenarios are very well detailed, with good use of light and shadows. Characters are well constructed and move and behave in believable ways. Another great achievement for the developers.
- Story: The story of the game is very interesting and, somehow, very actual. ‘Actual’ you ask? Yes, since this speech of Union Act ‘to protect the people against illegal immigrants’ reminds me of a story of a certain wall someone is trying to build… In this game, you will see the story from the points of view of Scarlet and Harvey, jumping back and forth in time to uncover the truth about the incident. And although I’m not a big fan of this kind of storytelling, The Occupation managed to keep me very interested in its plot.
- Gameplay: Playing as Harvey, you will attend a series of meetings with key persons of the company to talk about the incident. And as a good reporter, Harvey will always be at the place one hour before the schedule to be able to do some investigation before proceeding to the interview. The gameplay is fully based on exploring the company’s building to gather information about the incident and people involved with it before attending these interviews when you will be able to confront the company’s staff. To do so, you will have one hour to gather as much information, evidence and clues about what happened in real time. But you’ll need to be sneaky because the security guards of the company won’t let you roam around as you wish: they will be watching you granting you will only take care of your business which is attending to the meetings, make your notes and leave the place. In other words, only to take care of your own business.
- Unbeatable guards: Some challenge is more than welcome in every game, but the challenge in The Occupation is quite unfair. Although there’re only two security guards to take care of the company (Dan and Steve) and one of them (Dan) is always seating in his room, Steve must have some strange superpowers. He can see you inside any room and he must be omnipresent: wherever you go, he’ll be there ready to spot you. If he sees you, you can always leave the place and nothing will happen. But if you insist on staying in the place or get in contact with him, he’ll take you to the security room, where Dan won’t be so nice to you.
- Save system: The save system of the game was a little cruel with me (more about later). It saves only at the end of each chapter. And as each chapter takes about one hour for you to complete, if you need to stop playing for any reason… well, you will need to restart the chapter. It would be better to have quick saves whenever you find new clues.
- Bugs and glitches: Well, not every game is perfect. We are already aware of it. Unfortunately, The Occupation isn’t free of them. You will see characters stuck in the scenario, some flying objects (It always happened when Dan spotted me and stood up from his chair: his chairs took off and started to fly). Another glitch, but a more annoying one, is when manipulating keypads: buttons aren’t where they are supposed to be.
- Cutscenes: The cutscenes are a ball dropped by the developers: there’s a huge and incomprehensible contrast between the cutscenes and the overall quality from the game. Seriously, I can’t understand why there’s this huge decrease in quality.
- Load times: There are few load screens in the game, but you better be ready for some
loooongload times when you start the game. Seriously. And combined with the next item in the list, it becomes a pain in the… the thumb of the foot.
- Crashes! This is the main reason I’ll tell you not to buy this game as it is right now. The game crashes! A lot! I couldn’t go beyond the third chapter of the game because the game crashed a during the chapter every time I was playing it, going back to the home screen! Combine it with the long load times at the beginning of the game and you will understand why I tell you not to buy it until the game is patched to solve it.
The Occupation| Score: 60%
★ Score: 60%
I have a love and hate relation with The Occupation. White Paper Games built a great game, with an interesting story and solid gameplay that I loved! But the constant crashes of the game that prevented me from advancing in the game make me hate it and not recommend it for anyone. Apparently, not every player who tried the game faced these same crashes I had, but I strongly recommend you wait for some patches to correct this problem before venturing in this game.
Developer: White Paper Games Publisher: Humble Bundle
Played on: Xbox One X
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.