Today I feel like doing a game review. So I will do one over a recent purchase of mine and that would be This War of Mine. Now I haven’t done a single game review since my Dragon Age: Inquisition review back in November or if you want to count it my little Game-athon week back in February.
Either way though games have not been talked about for a while other than in passing so I thought it would be a good idea to bring one around again. The next one to show up will probably be Witcher 3 and that one will probably take a while to show up.
On the surface This War of Mine is a fairly basic game with decent to even great graphics (depending on your personal tastes obviously). It’s a simple survival point and click game as you take on the role of surviving civilians during war. You clear a pile of rubble here, pick lock a door or safe there, craft some food or weapons, and things like that until a set amount of days pass and a ceasefire is called on the war and you are able to safely leave the city.
So while on the surface it sounds basic, possibly tedious and even eventually boring perhaps, where I think This War of Mine shines is what is under the surface. This being the story it is telling while you are surviving day-to-day in a war zone as a civilian. What many people forget that during war it is seldom just two, or more, groups of people shooting at each other with guns. Other people tend to get caught up in a war, namely these civilians, who have nowhere to run to and whose lives are turned upside down due to a war they may, or may not, have any part of being in.
One downside of the game straight from the start, like so many other games out there lately, is there really isn’t any tutorial to show you the ropes. This is just a personal problem with me because some games out there really are confusing until you learn how to play it but come with no tutorial to tell you how. This one though is fairly simple to learn and you quickly get up to speed of what to do through your first day.
Essentially the game starts out with your group of survivors holing up in a building in an area the military now ignoring. In the partially destroyed building you will find piles of rubble, possibly some locked doors and cabinets, as well as a convenient starting kitchen. One of your first tasks essentially is to sift through the rubble of your base to find anything worth using, such as mechanical parts, electrical parts, timber, and things like that so you can start crafting.
Crafting is without a doubt the most important part of your survival. You use crafting to make workshops so you can make medicine, weapons, or furniture for your base. Furniture, and along with it just about everything else that isn’t weapons or medicine, is used to bring comfort to your group. Such as beds for a good nights sleep or guitars to bolster the spirits of your group. Weapons are pretty self-explanatory, they are weapons. Whether they are used for self-defense in protecting your base from looters or are used to make tough decisions down the road is all up to you the player.
Following up on that decision-making is what I think makes this game grand. The story it can tell through your actions proves that during war sometimes you have to make some disgusting choices in order for your survival. Between stealing from other survivors or killing someone, whether for self-defense or not, the story evolves with every choice you make or don’t make. All of this is detailed in each of your group members Bio pages which works as an evolving story/diary that details what each member is thinking and how they feel about decisions made.
Every once in a while you will sometimes receive visitors at your base. Sometimes they are vendors and other times they are fellow survivors who usually provide you with a task, or mission/quest if you will, that furthers your decision-making. One such example is being asked to help clear rubble from another building to help trapped people. You can either choose to accept or decline the task and either way your party has their thoughts on it. As shown above you can also acquire more survivors, which in turn gives you another pair of hands but also another mouth to feed.
Now I have only so far played about a week or two in the game and I understand that you usually have to survive a month up to I think three months before you see the end depending on how long you set until the ceasefire when setting up a story. But even with playing as little as I have so far I can tell this is a great game if you are in the game for the story. Gameplay might be minimalistic and repetitive but it has enough challenge to it to be fun and with the story it offers I just think it is great.
A great story that shows another side of the war that isn’t down the scope of a gun: +
Crafting is simple but not overly easy giving a slight challenge that isn’t easily beaten: +
Most, to all, gameplay is simple point and click which can get repetitive: –
Graphics are superb and a lot of detail was put into even the smallest parts: +
Overall I would give this game an 8 out of 10 and that is simply because I have yet to beat it as of yet so I have no idea what the ending, or even endings, are like so I can’t with any good faith give it a higher score.