The Old City offers a great story, and one that's at its most rewarding when approached with a literary mindset. If you're not offended by a game with an ending that raises more questions than answers, Postmod's creation delivers an experience with a noteworthy amount of restraint—and one that's begging to be revisited multiple times.
Putting a solid score on a game whose overriding ideology is a rejection of certainty is an act of high absurdity. But it's also somewhat appropriate for The Old City: Leviathan's other persistent theme of reconciling incompatible truths.
The Old City: Leviathan is a bold game for its complete focus on the narrative that translates into a gameplay experience that is both atmospheric and haunting. While the game's story can sometimes become too obscure for its own good, the majority of the narrative experience shouldn't be missed by adventurous gamers.
The Old City is rich in evocative sets, but it's too eager to impress with its cleverness.
If you haven't kept up with your metaphysical thinkers, you might need to play through "The Old City" more than once to master its storyline. Personally, I find it exciting to think that video games have evolved to a point where they can sustain that level of scrutiny.
Ultimately, The Old City: Leviathan is about as far from 'a game for everyone' as can be. Slow-paced, directionless, and requiring an inquisitive mind, those who deride so-called "walking simulators" would do best to leave this title alone.
The possibility that the world is illusory and that what we're seeing is a lie makes the world impossible to embrace, however. There's no strong sense of place, and nothing to anchor the high falutin ponderings that make up so much of the game. And even if we were to take it at face value, which seems to be impossible, it's only a snapshot, a vertical slice of this world without much context, making it hard to reach any solid conclusions. Theories and guesses, though? I've got dozens.
Take the core of a literary tale and put it into a beautifully constructive game, and you'll have The Old City: Leviathan.
I can't say that I found it satisfying and many, if not most, themes went well over my head, but I can see why so many find this genre of discovery simulator so immersive and compelling. The Old City has a tendency to get into your head and bones after a few hours and as this is the first of a trilogy, I'm eager to see where Leviathan will take me next.
Leviathan often feels more like a short novel than it does a traditional videogame.
What exactly is one supposed to get from The Old City: Leviathan, a game lasting about about one and a half hours? Nothing. There's nothing worth remembering about The Old City: Leviathan.
In its best moments, The Old City: Leviathan toggles seamlessly between enchanting dreams and dark realities, tragic memories and tragic futures, and deeply touching realizations on what is actually happening. But they're all never really meant for the player; they're meant for the protagonist.
The Old City: Leviathan is a great game for those who manage to understand it. If not for the huge blocks of text that offer as little and useful information as possible and for the more lively environments, I would have considered it an excellent exploration game.
Whilst it certainly won't be to everyone's tastes, The Old City: Leviathan is easily one of the most thoughtful games I have ever experienced.