Life on the South side of Chicago can be a tough one. Drugs, violence and gangs are a constant for many of the people living there with gunshots ringing out at night becoming as common as a dog barking or a car driving by. Even those who want nothing to do with that kind of life are forced to face it head on, and sometimes good people get caught in the crossfire as a result. Conveying the weight of the decisions one must make while living there can be a tough one, but Culture Shock Games have attempted to do that with their latest game We Are Chicago.

Utilizing real in-depth interviews with people who’ve experienced life there first hand, We Are Chicago tells the story of a teenager stuck in the middle of everything as he tries to make it through each day unscathed by his environment. The choices he makes hold weight, but unlike a lot of choice-based games, it’s not a matter of black and white, good or evil. It’s navigating through the grey to protect yourself and those you love. It’s showcasing the real life struggles of life, where what you say and how you say it can affect your day to day life. The complexity of your scenario is rich, and even the way you talk at the dinner table can mean the difference between having a good day or having one of the worst days of your life.

One of the most compelling things about the game is how it’s using an interactive medium to try and make a difference. A portion of the proceeds of the game will be used to support non-profit groups to help people in need and the game itself will be used as a message to showcase to those in and out of Chicago what can be done to help. It’s creating a voice for those who haven’t had a chance to speak up and Culture Shock Games have made it clear that they hope We Are Chicago can create a deeper understanding and awareness of that life so that change can someday occur. If nothing else, they strive to start a conversation about the type of life that these people experience and I applaud the developers for taking that approach.

Even in its early stages, the game has already made leaps and bounds to best convey its story. Though lip-syncing and the occasional graphical hitch could be a bit bothersome at times, the voice acting and soundtrack really draw you in. Some may complain that a silent protagonist may be a bit distracting, but it felt like the studio was really trying to put you into the shoes of this character where your own thoughts and decisions can be projected through this player character. As time goes on, I’ll be interested to see how this game develops and grows and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s released sometime next year, exclusively on PC.

About The Author

Travis M
Reviews/Editorial Writer

Travis has been a freelance journalist for a number of years, covering everything from movies to comic books to video games. He began back in 2009 owning and operating his own award-winning blog and since then has gone on to work at everywhere from MTV to Talking Comics. When he's not writing, he runs his own YouTube channel dedicated to games and goes to the library about three or four times a week. His favorite subject is murder mysteries, which he also writes in his spare time.