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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G4    RAM: 512 MB    Graphics: 1024x768

Global Conflicts: Palestine
October 5, 2007 | Remi Stebenne

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The checkpoint security has been breached, many innocent lives lost by the actions of a terrorist hidden amongst the crowd. An attack could come from anywhere or anyone. Soldiers are restless and they close the checkpoint in fear another attack will happen. You spot a pregnant woman in the crowd when she suddenly faints. Rushing to her side you help her up and after talking with her for a moment you discover that she must get in the city today to see a doctor. Do you use your influence and contacts, specifically the gate guards, to let her in the city? She could be a terrorist with a bomb strapped to her waist. On the other hand her plight might be real. This is where your journalist judgment will come in handy to find out if she is telling the truth. The possibilities are endless in Global Conflicts: Palestine by Serious Games Interactive.

You are a freelance journalist in Israel and have the option of writing for newspapers in Palestine, Europe and Israel. The newspaper you decide to work for on a particular story dictates what kind of article you will hand in. Palestine papers usually want to hear more about the suffering of its people while Israel is interested in the lives of the soldiers who must face suicide bombers or other terrorists very often. European papers tend to want a more general approach that encompasses both sides.

There are 5 missions, plus a bonus one when you complete all 5 with a good story. Each mission starts off by finding out the general idea of the story from your editor. You are then free to decide what you will do. You can talk to people and write down what they say as quotes. Sometimes you will get a longer note that is not a quote. You can then use these in your article. You can only store 5 notes at a time so you must choose them carefully. In the end you can only use 3 so you must make each of them count.

Like in real life, people will not just tell everything to a random person that asks them questions; you must gain their trust for them to tell you more details. You do this by helping out people in their city. For example, in Jerusalem a woman asks you to find out something and deliver a package to someone. Doing this raises the trust of the people of Israel. You can do similar tasks for the Palestinians to raise their trust. Each person you talk to also has a trust bar which works in the same manner as the overall bar but only for that person. Both bars help in getting information, as people tend to talk more to people they like but also even more to people helping their cause. Both levels of trust stay between missions so you can build up your contacts over time. If you help out a checkpoint guard in one mission, he is more likely to help you in a later mission where you need information from him. Do too much for one side without helping the other and they will not like you as they do not think you are being impartial in your judgment.

Speaking of judgment, you must also be able to discern the truth from what people tell you. Some are overly patriotic and will say anything to discredit the other side. To get the real story you must talk to both sides, even if you are working for the paper of a particular side. You really must choose your quotes well because a quote that would be perfect for one paper might be catastrophic if printed in another paper. For example, a quote from a Palestinian man who has a brother that was arrested by Israeli soldiers that argues against Israel will not sit well with an Israeli paper, even if it is a great quote.

You move around in 3D maps of Jerusalem, a generic Palestinian city, and a small market area where you meet people and events often happen that give a twist to your article. You are sure you have a great article, then something, like a shooting, occurs and you must change the whole story. The world is pretty small however, as it is only a very small part of each city. You could probably run from one side to the other in a few minutes.

There is a map that marks every contact you have and where they are. Only the contacts you need for a story are marked, although you can still meet with the others. If you don’t feel like doing the whole story in one shot, you can replay any mission on its own. However, you must work harder to make your contacts as you did not meet them before, while in the story you had a chance to do so.

Overall this is a pretty good journalism simulator using real conflicts that could as easily be used in a classroom as well as for entertainment. There is no in-game tutorial; you are thrust into this world quite suddenly with no instructions other than “go get the story”, which could discourage some players. This game is not for everyone. Anyone who is expecting a lot of action will not like this game as it requires more thinking than reflexes, quite rare nowadays.


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