Mar 05

Review: Papers, Please!


Glory to Arstotzka! Papers Please is one of those games that deserve a spot in the history of gaming as it is a stunning and amazing game that delivers a very unique gaming experience.

A six-year war with neighboring Kolechia has ended and your name was pulled in the labor lottery. In a way, you should be honored to be able to work as the Grestin Border Checkpoint. You sit there, at the border control office, listening to the sad tales of people who are trying to get into your homeland. An elderly woman comes up to you who wishes to be let in and to re-unite with her family. Everything seems to be in order until your eye falls on that small inconsistency in her papers. She’s begging you to let her in and now you have to ask yourself, will you let this poor woman in to see her family? Fully well knowing that she does not have the specified documents. If you do let her in, you’ll get a fine which results in your own family being in trouble as you now have less money to pay for the rent, heat and food.

papers1To get deeper into the gameplay of Papers Please, it starts real slow with enough information for you to start off your first workday without any troubles. However, the next day will bring you something new. Something to watch out for. Inconsistencies in passports such as wrong pictures or other information that is tampered with. It is your job as an immigration inspector to look out for these falsified papers and make sure these smugglers, spies, terrorists and unfortunates do not pass the Grestin border. In short, you could say that Papers Please acts like a memory game that tends to get very tricky and challenging as the days pass by.

The first glance of the game may give you some strange vibes as the game is quite dark with very basic colors and if you want, you can say that it reminds you of those old SNES games of even the N64 games. Yes, the game does not have those perfectly realistic graphics you can find in AAA-titles but considering the fact that the game is set in the early 80s in Russia, or some sorts, these graphics fit the theme perfectly and provide the correct atmosphere while you play it.

Final Judgement

papers2Yes, the game is a passport stamping simulator but that description does not even begin to describe the game. There’s so much more to it than just accepting or denying those immigrants. Papers Please puts you on a tiny roller coaster of emotions while you are doing your best to work as fast as you can to feed your family while you listen to the unfortunate tales of other families. While the game is fairly simple, it is full of moral decisions. Will you let the people in or not? Showing your good heart to these poor immigrants can result into you being punished but it’s not only you who’s being punished for your actions. Your entire family is. Will you risk their lives so that other families can be re-united? It’s a moral choice, only you can take for yourself but in the end, don’t we all want our families to be safe?

 If you’re still confused about how the game works, there are some gameplay videos up on the Nearly Enough Dice YouTube channel!

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