Ever thought about the possibility of there being such as a “Big Brother”? Of course you have, thinking about someone watching your every move while surfing the web is something unnerving and very creepy. Probably not something you’d even think about doing yourself. But, when it comes to the Orwell series this is your everyday job.
Orwell: Ignorance is Strength is the second season of the Orwell series with the first one being “Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You”. This second season takes a jab at expanding the series with new surveillance mechanics as well as a new plot that focuses on more of a global region than just one small nation. The main catch about Orwell is that it tries it’s best to make the game feel real. It starts off with you creating a profile as if you were actually signing up for a top-secret program that only you know exists.
After completing your profile you’re thrown into Episode One: Thesis. It starts off with an ominous phone call between a blogger and an old friend of his who is now a spy for The Nation. Which threatens to blow his cover and reveal things about the civil war that is going on in their home country, Prages. This is where you come into play, you now being a new Agent for The Nation’s Orwell program, it’s your job to work with your handler and stop the leak from happening.
Finding your way around the Orwell platform is easy and very simple; You are tasked with building suspect profiles by finding information referred to as “datachunks.” From browsing various websites, forums, tapping into phone calls, emails, etc. The “datachunks” will be highlighted and a simple drag-and-drop over to the right profile helps build out more information on the suspect(s) and leads to more clues to solving the mysteries and stopping this leak.
You will also come across “conflicting datachunks” which are two bits of information that counteract each other, an example being; someone saying that they went to a party but, later on while scrolling through posts you see them saying that they never went to the party. Choose wisely between the two because, after choosing one the other bit of information becomes useless.
To identify the difference between regular “datachunks” and “conflicting datachunks” are the color that they’ll be highlighted in. Regular “datachunks” are simply highlighted in a darker blue, and sometimes purple when looking through a suspect’s’ profile for personal information. “Conflicting datachunks” will be highlighted orange.
Sometimes choosing the one that seems less important your handler will call you out for it. Most likely to help keep you in the mindset of the game being serious, and so you can later on make your own leads with no trouble. These choices also can change the course of the investigation, again be sure to choose wisely. There will also be times where things will just fall in place and will be plain obvious, which tones down the conflict of choosing between the two pieces of information.
You also have various other tools to help you with the case; a listener tool, which allows you to spy on a suspect’s incoming and outcoming emails, as well as phone calls. The reader tool allows you to surf various parts of the web which your handler will help you get the hang of, you’ll find yourself constantly clicking the bookmark tab for finding new information or a new website pop up when there is related data traced back to a new website. The insider tool which grants you access to a suspect’s phone or computer, as long as you find the password for whichever device, you’re free to roam it and find various different information without them noticing.
While, I did at times feel like I was lost looking through files and trying to piece together various suspect files. With it being in a more compact workspace, I found it easier to navigate and get back to where I needed to be to find the information I was looking for. Other than that I didn’t really run into much problems with the game at all, I found it to be an enjoyable experience.
Though the game isn’t big with music, the music can for sure set the mood of the game. Keeping it at an eerie kind of mix between calm and stealth while surfing through the program and spying on suspects can give you just a taste of what it’d actually feel like if this were a real life situation.
Orwell: Ignorance of Strength doesn’t really show off much of the new features compared to the “Orwell: Keeping an Eye On You” they only hint and tease them for future episodes, while Episode One: Thesis and Episode Two: Fake News in a way tries to reboot the series with a more slow paced beginning and tighter workplace, which possibly is to help new players get into the series.
Orwell offers much more than just somewhat trying to simulate a “Big Brother” program with giving the player more on-the-edge thriller stories and crimes to solve throughout the game. I look forward to seeing what they have planned for future episodes and definitely would recommend giving it a shot if you’re into simulation games similar to this. Orwell: Ignorance is Strength – Episode Three: Synthesis is planned to be released on March 22, 2018.
- Immersive gameplay
- Great story
- Some restrictions to gameplay