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Ratings War

by Eddy Webb

Science Fiction

Web Site

(based on 5 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

Implant cameras in your eyes to win the news wars of 2061! Record your way through dystopian New Angeles, solving multiple murders and conquering the airwaves as you go!

"Ratings War" is a thrilling 80,000-word interactive novel by Eddy Webb, where your choices control the story. It's entirely text-based--without graphics or sound effects--and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Outwit your rivals at the biggest news network in the industry to win market share and dominate the ratings. As one of the first reporters with a pair of cybernetic eyes, you’ll break stories while you live them—and become a celebrity when you uncover a vast criminal conspiracy.

When you blow the whistle on a human trafficking operation, will you focus on facts or on fame? Will you strike out as an independent, or follow the guidelines of your network? You can escape from an underground organ farm—but can you get your footage on the air and win the Ratings War?

* Play a future-noir story of murder, corruption, and mystery.
* Develop your reporting style as you balance your ambition and integrity.
* Decide what facts make it to air, and how to spin them.
* Break the rules to get your story.
* Play as male, female, or non-binary.
* Straight, gay, and bisexual romance options.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 2, 2015
Current Version: Unknown
License: Commercial
Development System: ChoiceScript
IFID: Unknown
TUID: c61iuxax9etfmkda


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Number of Reviews: 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Not very original, lacks depth, August 21, 2016

I wanted to like this game: investigative journalism in a futuristic noir cyberpunk world, with a city in shambles and gang violence? I love Deus Ex, Urban Chaos, and all that kind of stuff, so I was excited!

Now, two stars might be a bit harsh, but the game unfortunately disappointed me in a lot of ways. First, the setting was unsufficiently developed to me: there were a couple of neat ideas, like (Spoiler - click to show)privacy laws having been made way stricter than our current day and age (how does that work? Does facebook still exist? Is there a special police for that?), but mostly they were skimmed over quickly ((Spoiler - click to show)global warming is merely name-dropped, no mention why there is such poverty or inequality or what changed in the world). To be perfectly honest, it feels like the game could have been set in 2016 without losing much : replace New Angeles by, like, Detroit, use small bluetooth cameras or Google Glasses, (Spoiler - click to show)talk about the Carmat artificial heart and I'm not sure it would end up very different. This is one of my biggest disappointments from the game, since I was expecting more from the setting.

The game is mostly linear, from what I saw and from the length claimed on the CoG website ; this means the replay value is not great (I got 80% of achievements in 2 playthroughs), but actually, even worse is that a lot of choices end up not being real choices. They might affect the statistics, though I didn't track that too hard, but a lot of times the few options converge to the same text a couple of paragraphs later. This took me out of the game, as I felt the decisions had much less weight this way and ended up not surprising me much. There are a few times where the games has actually very different outcomes; unfortunately I only noticed because the game was contradicting itself ((Spoiler - click to show)Katrina sued me when I actually didn't attack her and stayed on my chair, Tracey downloaded images when I didn't record the conversations with Parker or Sloane), which surprised me from a CoG game. So it kind of feels like a linear plot with no room for different playthroughs or choices, which is not great. Adding onto that, the plot itself isn't too exciting, and you mostly get kidnapped (seriously, 3 or 4 times over 10 chapters is too much) by someone guilty who then reveals their plan "but i'd like to keep that off the record". And last but not least, the writing feels bland and sometimes clumsy, not only because the setting is not very developed, but because the style itself isn't great; there's things spelled out that didn't need to be, and a few rather lazy descriptions: the red wine tastes fruity, the dark beer tastes nutty, the bad guy wears a trench coat, and there's literally a nondescript henchman!

Anyway, this was unfortunately a pretty disappointing experience; I would not really recommand this game.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A Choicescript sci-fi game about a crime reporter, August 20, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This game is one of the shorter Choicescript entries, around 80K words. It still had a comparable playthrough length to bigger games, so I suspect it just has less paths than most games (my game is in a similar spot branching-wise).

You play as a news reporter who is investigating criminal activity. Unlike most Choice of Games entries, the main character gets their butt kicked frequently. It can be a bit frustrating having so many negative things happen.

There are three main stats, and many parts of the game involve choosing your best stat. When I was writing for Choice of Games, they mentioned the 'three stat trap' a lot, and I wonder if games like this is where that comes from (just having every choice be an option between three stats).

It sounds like I'm being pretty negative about the game. The truth is its hard to design a satisfying story arc for one of these games in 80K words, unless you paint everything with broad strokes and have a lot of life-changing choices (like Choice of the Dragon).

Nevertheless, I enjoyed discovering more about the mystery, and the characters were vividly described, if somewhat one-dimensional (especially villains!). I don't regret my time playing, and the game was polished.

I received a review copy of this game.

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