Factions in RPGs are generally a bit of a waste of space. Some games, like Fallout New Vegas for example, use them to a decent degree. In that game, you can annoy one side of a war and ensure that they’ll always attack you. There are a few games that have this system in place, but generally it’s all based off of the actions you make in a few arbitrary ways. If you kill a few too many soldiers or wear the wrong outfit, you’ll get killed basically. It’s a rubbish system that’s really hard to perfect from a gameplay point of view. However, The Last Oricru gets it right, and I love it.
In The Last Oricru, there are two major factions, at least in the demo you can play right now. One is this big group of self-righteous humanoids who enslave the talking rats of the world and force you to fight for them. The other is those rats, which are humanoid in themselves, but, as I mentioned, have been enslaved by the larger species. However, the rats fight back a lot, people die, and it’s all a bit messy. You’re caught between this, and you can very much choose to help or do whatever you want.
The consequences of your choice are immediate and helpful. If you choose to side with the rats or the humanoids, the faction in that area won’t then attack you on sight. However, you can still kill them to ruin that relationship and destroy the bond you just made, and stoop the questline. Siding with a faction has an impact on both gameplay and story, sometimes to a pretty drastic degree. There are scenes that you won’t come across in The Last Oricru if you don’t make the right choice, leaving you completely unaware of certain parts of it.
I will admit that some games get choices and the impact on the story is very right. I can think of a few, like The Witcher franchise, that do it very well indeed. This might be the best implementation of gameplay impacting story that I’ve ever seen though since it’s meaningful and can be changed at any time. You have to really work to see something through with a faction, and I can’t wait to see it play out in the full release.