The Forgotten City is a unique game with a very cool story — both within the game, but also the story behind the game. It’s based on an award-winning mod of Skyrim which was downloaded over three million times. This new updated version features a re-written script, professional voice acting and more twists, endings and surprises.
In The Forgotten City you travel two thousand years into the past to the final days of a cursed Roman city. The city is made up of a cast of colorful characters. The only thing they have in common is how they ended up in The Forgotten City.
In this city you quickly learn there is one rule — The Golden Rule. If one person commits a sin, all will suffer. The city is full of golden statues, made up of past inhabitants of the city. Possibly those who failed to follow the Golden Rule, but who knows for sure.
When I first started my play-through and learned the Golden Rule, I had no idea about the time loop aspect of the game. I truly believed that everything would end if I broke the rule, so I tried not to commit any sins. Of course, I ended up accidentally stealing someone’s coins, breaking the golden rule and upsetting the god(s). This is how I learned about the time loop.
I’m glad I didn’t know much about the game or the previous mod before playing. I started out very careful, but once I figured out the loop I was willing to take more risks. This was when I learned that the point of this game is to continue to try things out, fail and then try again. There are even times where you must fail to find particular items.
The Forgotten City is an exploration adventure where you start to figure out what’s going on to survive. It’s part detective mystery, part open-world exploration, part rogue-like (in that, any time you “lose” you start from the beginning with any items you’ve acquired). There’s also ways to speed through some of the objectives you’ve previously finished, by sending someone else to handle them for you.
Stuck in a Loop
Any time I would find the story not moving along, it was usually because I was looking at the big picture. I was searching for the main solution too fast. At times, you must complete smaller tasks to progress.
Any time I couldn’t figure out what to do next, I would complete smaller objectives. These would then unlock items, objectives or more information. While the story can be completed in any order, each completed task leads to something new.
Over time you must learn how to exploit the time-loop and break the rules to start new loops with more answers. The Forgotten City is a game where you truly learn from your mistakes, sometimes committing them over and over again.
Time Stands Still
I can see The Forgotten City taking anywhere from 3-5 hours to much longer than that — I guess it depends on how you play. There isn’t just one way to beat The Forgotten City, which may mean replayability for some. There is no right way to uncover the secrets of this city.
I got to a point where I was satisfied with what I had uncovered. There’s still some more to go, but I was able to explore the world, meet the characters and try out some different scenarios. I played for about a week and five hours total (about 30% complete).
Searching for More
There’s no map in The Forgotten City, but the world is not that huge. It’s open world, but the world itself is just a small city. The city is full of hidden spots and secrets throughout. Slowly search every new area thoroughly to find hints, clues and items. Over time you may begin to recognize landmarks and learn the layout of the city.
You also learn where certain characters spend their time. I’m now at a point that if I’m told to go see a specific character about something I have two to three spots in my mind where that character would be.
Although each character has certain questions you can ask, based on their question tree, by asking the right questions in the right order you may uncover more information. Although the game shows you which questions you’ve already asked in a previous conversation or loop, it’s important to sometimes ask the same questions in a different order. You may just uncover some new information.
There were times where I asked a previously asked question (from a time loop before), but because of where I now was in the game I actually got some useful information this time. The time loop also works to your advantage when you’ve upset a particular character. Upset characters will usually tell you to leave them alone or not really talk to you. If you start the loop over that will erase their memory and give you a clean slate.
Something new I’ve been trying in games with great big stories and lots of reading/listening is to actually pay attention. There are many times where a game is trying to fill me in on some information and lore and I just skip or zone out. In The Forgotten City especially, you must pay close attention to know what’s going on.
The main point of this game is to talk to different characters and figure out this world around you. I usually skip dialogue in games when I’m trying to get to some fighting, shooting, puzzles or any other action. The main point of The Forgotten City is the talking and exploration.
I definitely recommend this game as a great example of storytelling in games. I haven’t played much mods of games before and seeing a mod be recreated and reimagined as a full game is a very cool idea. Although I only played The Forgotten City for about a week, I really enjoyed jumping back into this world each night.
This is a great short story-driven adventure for anyone who loves a good mystery in games. It’s even a fun game to play with others watching or to pass the controller around.
A review code for The Forgotten City was provided by the publisher.
I played the PS4 version on a PS5, and didn’t run into too many problems.