Parents' Guide to

The Occupation

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Politically charged thriller on freedom limited by glitches.

The Occupation Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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There's loads to both love and loathe in this smart but buggy political thriller. The Occupation tells a sophisticated and timely tale filled with interesting and controversial ideas that will leave players thinking about what they've experienced long after the game is over. How much power should the government have? At what point (if any) should national safety trump a country's civic obligations to the broader world? Is it OK for a reporter to disregard rules, even break the law in pursuit of a story he or she deems vital to the public interest? Politically savvy players will draw parallels between the game's events and real-world news and personalities, including Edward Snowden, Brexit, the Patriot Act, Wikileaks, and more. And they'll have the opportunity to decide how to interpret and deal with these issues, whether to uncover secrets or let political powers do as they will. It makes for powerful and engaging storytelling.

But The Occupation is also beset by a host of design and technical problems that create roadblocks to the player's enjoyment. For starters, it suffers from loads of bugs, ranging from interface glitches -- which can make it almost impossible to do something as simple as play back an audio cassette on a recorder -- to progress-arresting catastrophes that force players to revert to checkpoints nearly an hour in the past. And while the real-time shtick is clever and creates an authentic sense of urgency, it can become frustrating when you miss out on doing something you want to do simply because you ran out of time, probably because you were caught one too many times by Steve the security guard in situations where you thought you should've been safe to do a little snooping. The Occupation is a game with a lot on its mind, and it's bound to get players thinking seriously about current events and political issues, but it needed a lot more time in the oven to reach its full potential.

Game Details

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