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The Forgotten City review for PS5/4, Xbox Series X/One, Switch


Platform: PS5
Also on: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Developer: Modern Storyteller
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

As intrigued as I was by The Forgotten City’s premise — a time-looping mystery? Sign me up! — when I initially started playing it, my hopes weren’t all that high. I mean, the game started life as a Skyrim mod. With no disrespect to modders, I wasn’t expecting the game to feel like much more than an Elder Scrolls sidestory.

I was so wrong.

Mind you, it’s hard to go too much into details as to what makes The Forgotten City so exceptional. Like any good mystery novel, it’s got a tightly knit, well-crafted plot, and part of the joy of the game is discovering everything for yourself. There’s a lot going on in The Forgotten City’s small world and the twenty or so characters who inhabit it, and it’s to the game’s credit that as soon as you unravel one mystery, it’ll point you in the direction of another, until next thing you know you can’t stop playing until you’ve discovered the giant, overarching secret that connects it all.

Again, I don’t want to give away too much, but it’s really neat how The Forgotten City places clues everywhere, and uncovering each new piece of the story requires you to go back and re-evaluate everything you’ve seen to that point. While this easily could’ve led to a very repetitive game, The Forgotten City also knows how to add in shortcuts — both literally and figuratively — to make everything move a little faster, rather than forcing you to read the same dialogue and perform the same actions over and over again.

Further, quite aside from the story, it’s fascinating how The Forgotten City is able to cram so much history (and maybe even educational elements?) into its small-ish frame. At every turn, the game subtly throws in little historical nuggets, making it almost feel like you’re learning something. To be honest, my knowledge of ancient Rome isn’t all that detailed (to say nothing of some of the other surprises you uncover while playing through the game), so maybe it’s all bunk, but to my unlearned eyes, it all came off as pretty fascinating.

If I were to nitpick, I’d admit there are a couple of minor issues with the game. There were lots of moments where the game either slowed to a crawl or froze, usually when it was saving, but other times for no reason at all. Similarly, there were enough glitches — things like people walking through solid objects, or getting stuck in impossible spots — that, at a certain point, they basically became a given.

But none of them were enough to distract me from how much I loved The Forgotten City. It’s a fun game built around a tantalizing mystery, and once it gets its hooks into you, you’re guaranteed to want to keeping playing until you’ve uncovered all its endings.

Dear Villagers provided us with a Forgotten City PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: A