Orwell takes place in a country called the Nation, led by a modern-day authoritarian government known as The Party in the capital of Bonton. In 2012, the Party passed the Safety Bill, a law expanding the government’s ability to spy on its citizens in the name of national security. As part of the bill the Ministry of Security, led by Secretary of Security Catherine Delacroix, commissioned a covert surveillance system code named Demiurge (later renamed Orwell).
Orwell allows investigations into the private communications of people of interest, but doesn’t allow any one person full access. Instead, Orwell’s operation is run by two groups; Investigators, persons outside of the Nation working for the government who search through the communication of target persons and upload items of interest (represented as “datachunks”), and Advisors, people inside of the Nation who use the received datachunks to determine the course of action and to recommend actions to the authorities.
The player takes the role of an Orwell investigator, who has just been selected to use the system.
Now, let me be clear, if you are looking for a fast pace action game on PC, well go look at something Jason or Lucas would have played. My PC tastes are much slower than theirs and I generally look for something different and hopefully with an engaging story at the same time. This game explores a lot of themes that are relevant with what goes on (or at least we think does) regularly today. Throughout this game it’s your job to comb through peoples private phone calls, text messages, bank accounts, blog posts, etc all in hopes to piece together what happened and how to stop it.
I will keep this review spoiler free – otherwise there wouldn’t be much reason for you all to go out an experience this game. At first things seem to be kosher and you feel you have the right and authority to do what you are doing for the sense of safety, security, and to save lives. However after playing for an hour or more you start to feel “odd” and you may start thinking to yourself, “Should I be doing this? Should I be seeing this?” And it’s moments like this where the game shines brightest for me.
The characters in the game are pretty fleshed out and don’t seem to get repetitive or predictable for that matter. And considering your entire side of the story is uncovered by you spying on them, it was pretty essential to nail them down well which the game definitely does. The writers definitely tapped into how people communicate now a days through social media, text, etc and made it real for this game for us to digest.
Now as far as the ethics behind this game go: Since you are the one uncovering everything and submitting it essentially shaping the story the role of the Adviser becomes important, they do not have access to your systems and can’t even talk to you but they will judge evidence impartially, so you really have to pay attention to what data gets sent in and what you should ignore aka not relevant.
Now it is 100% possible for you to lead the investigation in the wrong way by submitting incorrect evidence or conversations. It doesn’t seem to throw off the plot of the story that much overall but i may play through a second time to see how different it may be if at all. It’s a hard game to really explain, it’s more of an experience. It is a very simple game to play through mechanically, but it has a complex story that really pulls you in. Once you complete it, it will stick with you for awhile and leave you with plenty to think about after it’s done.