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Orwell Review

(Image from Steam Game Page)

While many games cast the player as a lone fighter against an oppressive system, Orwell takes the other approach we work here, as the title indicates, for Big Brother.

The criminal mystery produced by Osmotic Studios is cleverly presented. Sitting behind the controls of a formidable surveillance apparatus, we sift through the histories of seemingly regular individuals, looking for deadly terrorists among them. The titular Orwell is a detection system for possibly harmful behavior. The system captures webpages, call records, and grants access to private PCs, all while emphasizing critical data. It is up to us what we submit for examination; if we believe a piece of information is unimportant, we may reject it. We can see how essential our involvement is from the start: when the watched female tells her lover that she swiped his card, the algorithm reads it as an admission of theft. If we decide to pass on the knowledge, Orwell will regard it as a crime.

(Image from Steam Game Page)

The first options and choices are straightforward, yet even at the start of the game, we may encounter some ambiguity and contradicting claims from which we must select the true ones. When the suspect claims to live in Wonderland on Facebook, it’s simple to assume he’s lying. However, over time, we come across ideas and utterances that are the product of an emotional outburst. We also read thoughts in which the person does not immediately express what he or she truly believes. In such cases, we must play detective, rereading previously discovered articles to determine what is factual and what is simply an expression of sadness or rage. We virtually never get precise answers, and the outcome of the tale is somewhat determined by us. We shape the plot by revealing or concealing particular details. Although we are occasionally forced to submit particular information to the system, the game makes us feel passionately when the fate of the character is in our hands. We are continuously plagued by a peculiar sense of alienation from the actions on the screen. We are aware from the start that we are not citizens of the Nation, the country in which Orwell’s action takes place. We also have no way of communicating with the characters in the play unfolding before our eyes.

The player’s sole companion is Sykes, a consultant in charge of studying the data given, but even with him, we can only speak in one direction – the guy talks to us, but we can’t react. The authors’ position lets you to be a somewhat unbiased spectator of the entire affair, while also letting you understand how uncaring Big Brother may be to the plight of civilians. The fact that someone goes to prison, is hurt, or is murdered has no significant influence on the course of our job – yes, we have new targets, but we can disregard each tragedy and focus on reading future papers and picking further, possibly relevant facts.

(Image from Steam Game Page)

This is where Orwell’s message truly shines. This is an intriguing game that allows you to see firsthand how much effect individuals may have on our lives by reading what they can discover on the Internet or in private chat recordings. It is a narrative about striking a balance between freedom and privacy. It may entice you with an intriguing narrative and then freeze you when you discover the implications of your choices.

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