You’ll wake up by a river at night, and have a conversation with a mysterious stranger. You’ll be asked to choose a gender (this doesn’t matter at all for our purposes) and then a profession. This can make a fair bit of difference in your playthrough, so let’s take a look at your options and the benefits of each one:
Archeologist – Years of studying history give you occasional insights into the ancient world.
The Archeologist profession is the only choice for those of you playing this game because you’re into Roman history — you’ll get extra tidbits of insight while investigating the city, and while talking to the NPCs.
Soldier – You have a military-issued firearm, but only 10 bullets. You’ll have to use them judiciously, since there’s no way to get more.
Players who aren’t confident in their aim might consider picking this profession, as it will make the brief combat sections of the game much easier.
Fugitive – Your time on the run from authorities has made you quick on your feet, and you’re 25% faster when sprinting.
The choice for speed-runners. This makes getting around the city faster, and also can make kiting enemies in the brief combat sections easier.
Amnesiac – Your recent head trauma has increased your pain threshold, making you 50% harder to take down.
The other combat focused choice next to Soldier, choosing Amnesiac will make the combat sections more forgiving. If you really, really struggle to stay alive when you play action games, you might consider choosing this profession.
Ultimately, I’d recommend archeologist, as the combat really isn’t that difficult, and there isn’t very much of it. However, if all of your previous video-game experience is walking simulators or narrative games, go ahead and pick Soldier or Amnesiac if you want to guarantee you’ll have an easier go of it. Finally, players who hate walking around the same city streets multiple times should choose Fugitive to limit time spent going from point A to point B.
Once you choose, you’ll continue your conversation. You need to ask her what her story is, but then you can ignore the rest of the dialog options (select “That’s all the questions I had) and accept the quest to find Al.
Now turn around and follow the waypoint on your screen to enter the ruins. Scroll up on the mouse wheel to raise your flashlight (mouse wheel down will lower it) — soldier players should note that their flashlight is on their gun, so resist the urge to hit that left mouse button! Follow the lit lanterns through the ruins (hold shift to run), and you’ll come to a small structure with a note on the door.
Read the note to open the door to the shrine, then head forward and you’ll fall into some Roman baths. Head forward out of the water, and continue forward following the lit braziers. You’ll exit the baths, and find yourself in a ruined city. Keep following the lit braziers, and you’ll eventually cross a bridge.
Head up the stairs, and you’ll find a golden man hanging from a tree. Keep going, and you’ll enter a small structure with some stairs. Head up until you can’t go any further, then exit out the doorway and head towards the nearby shrine with a lit brazier in front. Take a deep breath IRL for role-playing purposes, then walk into the portal inside the shrine.
You’ll meet Galerius as you soon as you head out of the shrine. Talk to him until he offers you a tour, then accept with the “Lead the way” dialog option. He’ll lead you to the patrician’s plaza, where you’ll be stopped by Horatius. After he exchanges words with Galerius, Horatius will speak to you. Select the “Alright, lead the way” dialog option to let him take you to the magistrate. You can press [E] once he starts the tour to follow him automatically.
Follow Horatius into the villa, then when he tells you to, head up the stairs and head out onto the porch to find Magistrate Sentius. Speak with him, and once you’re done asking questions, select the “That’s all the questions I had” option and accept the quest to investigate who will break the Golden Rule. Then follow him down the stairs and find his daughter Sentia lying on a couch.
Ask her “Do you know a way out of here?” and then select “Can I help?” when she tells you about her sister’s disappearance. Once you select “That’s all the questions I had” she’ll ask if you will help her find her sister — select “Alright, I’ll do it.” Select “I’ll get right on it” when you can, to get the objective marker for this quest. Turn around from Sentia and follow the objective marker to Sentilla’s room, and look at the note under her pillow.
Go back to Sentia and talk to her again, and tell her you found the letter — she’ll tell you to go next door and speak with Iulia. Head out the front door of the villa and go right down the stairs. You’ll see a gladiator doing push-ups; he’ll stand up and talk to Horatius when you get close. Wait for them to finish talking, then talk to the gladiator.
He’ll talk to you about the election — continue the conversation until you can choose “Fine. Mind if I ask some questions?” Then choose “I need to speak with Iulia”. He’ll tell you she’s not there. Ask him “What’s your story?” and then “I’d like to meet Malleolus”. Then ask him what he wants to let you see Malleolus, and ask him what he wants as a bribe. Tell him you’ll see what you can do, then leave him.
We’re going to go to the Shrine of Apollo now, by heading up the staircase (1) facing Malleolus’ villa. Head up, past the priestess, and head through the 4-way arch that leads into the market. Then take your first left and enter the building there (2).
Inside, speak to Lucretia, and ask her what happened. Then ask her if there’s anything you can do to help, and she’ll tell you to get the silphium resin. Tell her you’ll get right on it, then leave the shrine. Follow the objective marker to Desius(1), and ask him about the resin. Tell him you can’t afford it, then turn around and steal it from his stall (2).
This breaks the Golden Rule, naturally, and you’ll have to run for it. Head out of the market towards the villas, but don’t go down the stairs. Instead, turn right once you enter the 4-way arch, and run the way you entered the city, up the hillside back to the room where you game through the portal. Note that you can press [X], and butterflies will appear to guide you to the shrine (though they’re a bit hard to see once everything goes grey). You should also have an objective marker labeled “Sentius” on your screen, so use that to help you find the portal.
Go through the portal again, and you’ll go back to the beginning of the time loop, when you first entered the city in the past. Head out of the shrine and Galerius will talk to you again. This time he’ll give you a way to use the zip lines scattered througout the city. Use it on the nearby zip line to cross over the lake, then continue to the market and re-enter the Shrine of Appolo (you can press tab to open your quest log, and click the eye next to “Dying Gasp” to track the quest if you don’t have an objective marker).
Speak with Lucretia and give her the silphium resin. Continue speaking with her, and ask her “What’s your story?” and then “Tell me more about Naevia”. She’ll then tell you about another patient of hers. Say “Who?” or “Go On.” and then accept the quest to help this other patient. Once you’re done talking to Lucretia, Iulia should be standing — speak with her and ask her “Do you know anything about Sentilla’s disappearance?” She’ll tell you to talk to Ulpius about it, at which point you may end your conversation with Iulia and leave the shrine.
Take a right as you leave the shrine, and once you enter the 4-way arch(1), head left and up the stairs there(2). Continue up the 3 flights of stairs, then turn right to take a final flight of stairs, and you’ll find yourself in front of a large building. Turn right (3) and cross the bridge, then continue up the stairs there. Go right past the statue pushing the boulder(4), up the stairs flanked by braziers, and up a final flight of stairs. Then turn right and you’ll soon come across two servants (5).
Approach them and Octavia will start talking to you. Talk to her for as long as you like, then end the conversation. Once you do, Ulpius will threaten to kill himself, and Octavia will ask you to intervene. You can’t do anything about this (yet), so don’t worry and pick whatever options you want.
Now we’re going to follow in Ulpius’ footsteps, but with better aim. Stand on the ledge where he jumped and look down. Aim for the pool below, then walk off the ledge. You’ll fall safely into the water — hold spacebar to swim up, then exit the pool.
You should see Malleolus nearby practicing his speech. Go speak with him, and ask him what he thinks about The Golden Rule. Tell him goodbye, and he’ll tell you to take his key and leave through the front door. Turn around and head to the door to your right, grab the key from beside it and unlock the door, then head through.