the-westport-independent
Metacritic: 62/100
Release: Jan 2016
Reviewed on: PC

The Westport Independent

Site Score
7.0
Good: Unique premise and mechanics –
Bad: Fairly short
User Score
7.8
(6 votes)
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The Westport Independent is a unique simulation title about censorship, corruption and the newspaper. Playing as the editor in one of the few remaining independent newspapers in the country you’ll be faced with a number of decisions as to how you present the government to your readers, for better or for worse.

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The game kicks off the with Loyalist Party being elected into power and sending out a bulletin regarding the Public Culture Bill which is due out in 12 weeks from the game start date. When this goes live your independence will be lost as a requirement of the bill is the joining of the Loyalist News and Media Association or opt to shut down.

In the interim the editor has received very specific instructions about what not to publish. This list includes not printing content that would harm the appearance of the country, government or president while also avoiding the glorification of any rebel actions.

The primary mechanic in The Westport Independent is the censoring of articles and altering headlines that cross your work desk. At the same time you’ll have to manage employees who will transcribe your decisions although some will not wish to risk their life by publishing a potential article that goes against the interim guidance.

All of this takes place on your desk and using a similar mechanic to Papers, Please has players dragging pieces of paper and other items onto their desk for reading. Split into 12 separate weeks players will need to review articles for that week and alter the content as they see fit, which in turn can alter public opinion.

Once players have selected how they wish to present the articles they can send them off to their team which will then end the week. At this point players will get reports around their weekly paper sales, the people’s opinion (loyalist or rebels) and the loyalist’s suspicion of you (if any) and the change in these numbers since the previous week. Not only do players need to make decisions on the edits but also the articles in general with players often being provided more articles than they do staff.

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In addition The Westport Independent evolves the gameplay slowly to include the arrangement of the paper and your marketing budget which ties into the four game suburbs which have different article preferences (split between celebrity, industrial, crime and societal).

Overall The Westport Independent is a fun title that explores the interesting element of censorship. Mechanically the game is strong although the amount of depth, connection and replay opportunities are just a shadow of the game it is going to constantly compared with.

Summary:

  • Play the editor at The Westport Independent.
  • Will you censor the articles to protect the government or provide fuel to the rebels?
  • Experience 12 weeks of fascinating articles and decisions.
  • Manage your staff as you consider their alliances.
  • Available on several platforms.

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The Westport Independent, 7.8 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

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