In addition to our 2021 Major Game Awards, every member of the PC Gamer team has focused on the games they love this year. For the rest of this month, we will release the new employee draft and our main awards.
Strategy games love history. Thanks to first-person shooters, every major war in the 20th century has been turned into a hell by video games. Assassin’s Creed game explores the Hollywood version of Leonardo da Vinci’s popcorn history, and occasional RPGs are set somewhere in medieval Europe or feudal Japan. I’m not saying that video games about our past don’t exist, but they will definitely be surpassed by games about our present, games about our future, and games about elves.
This is weird, right? However, I am not here to ask why historical novels have always been an important part of TV, movies and books, but have not been fully reflected in games. No, I’m here to tell you that in 2021 we have a truly great historical video game: the forgotten city.
The city you see at the beginning is in ruins. A Roman settlement hidden underground, full of collapsed pillars, crumbling stones and weird statues. Then you go back in time, until about 65 AD, and see what it looked like before the disaster. This is the dream of all historical novels-it can take us back to the past and show us the true colors of things.
To this end, the developers of The Forgotten City worked with a historian and an archaeologist to ensure that the details are based on the latest research. This is why there are so many canned garum (salted fish sauce very popular among Romans) and carrots that are purple instead of orange (changes that may have occurred in the 17th century) around this settlement. This is why public toilets are public and terrible. They even have accurate graffiti, one of which translates as: “Whoever defecates here needs to see a doctor.”
Although some facts are sneaked into your brain, the Forgotten City is not entertaining. This is a tortuous mystery full of myths. The previous generations of residents of this city have turned into golden statues, some of which whisper to you. Mention events that have not yet occurred and people will think you are a prophet. The temples of the Roman gods were built from repurposed Greek temples. Then time travel.
The forgotten city doubles its time tricks, bringing you back from the modern age to the time of Emperor Nero, and then lets you enter a time cycle. If you can’t prevent bad things from happening, you will go back to the moment you arrived. It deals with The way time loops is very clever, this is an important part of how I like it so much.
My tolerance for repetition is really low. Although many people who I respect for opinions like Outer Wilds, I can’t deal with the loop of it. Hope you go back to where you were before, repeat jumping puzzles, etc. I also did not finish Majora’s mask. The Forgotten City does its best to reduce the time you spend doing things you have done before.
First, you save all items from one cycle to another, and things that should actually be limited in quantity (such as medicines) will never be used up. Once you get the treatment someone needs, you can heal them in every cycle. You don’t even have to do it yourself.
The very helpful Galerius is an Englishman who meets you at the entrance every day. He is very wise. If a stranger rushes to him and says: “There is no time to explain, but you need to come here to do this, otherwise Someone will die”, then he just does it. Considering that there are more and more task lists in each cycle, he will happily jog to complete them.
More importantly, realizing that you are in a hurry, after the first cycle, he will give you a prototype pulley for the zipline he placed around the city. Obviously the ropeway has been used to cross rivers in China for thousands of years, but even if the kind of forgotten city is out of date, I am glad they are here. Although the settlement is actually small—a city in the philosophical sense rather than an actual size—it is glorious to be able to gallop through the air from one point to another.
No speed bumps point to the history of the game itself, as you are in a Noclip’s documentary about the development of the Forgotten City. It is adapted from a popular Skyrim mod, such as a temple built on an old god. In a sense, millions of people who play this mod are testing the independent game that it will become. The path of the Forgotten City was broken by many feet and became smooth with the passage of time. Even if you are not interested in time loops or authentic ancient Roman graffiti, toilets and curses, it is a perfect example of the greatness of historical games.