And so, slowly but surely, in a hundred tiny little steps down that road to Hell paved with good intentions, does Gods Will Be Watching make you the bad guy. Or the mad scientist. Or the pragmatic military leader, slowed by a wounded soldier. The second episode sees an immediate shift from being more or less the one in control to the unarguable victim, controlling two soldiers being tortured for information over twenty agonising days. In each case, the rules and stakes shift. Confessing to everything will make the pain stop, yes, but since your life is tied to your psychopathic interrogator not knowing your secrets, it has to be balanced with lying, provoking, remembering prior confessions that won't actually give him anything new to play with, and nastier business like teeth being ripped out and making your partner suffer in your place, all in the name of staying alive until rescue comes.
For the most part, it's extremely effective, looking great and squeezing every drop of life out of its pixels, as well as backing everything with a great atmospheric soundtrack. Where it does struggle though is that to stretch out the handful of stories on offer into a commercial game, each vignette is designed to be challenging, even if you do opt to take the easier, often morally repugnant shortcuts like thumping hostages or using the team dog for medical experiments rather than risking one of the more flexible humans. The resulting repetition after things go wrong badly saps the emotional core of each story, with the characters soon becoming simple puzzle pieces and the horrible things you make them do simply mechanics, like decoding an antidote by injecting it into them and seeing which components flash up as being right and in the right place. (Bring a notepad!) The original Flash game, originally made for Ludum Dare, was a game that could be won, but winning felt less the point—it was how you approached the challenge and how far your morality in the face of adversity lasted that provided the hook. Here, completion rather than the raw experience itself is overtly what matters.