With a name like this, you’d expect this game to be dark. And it is, but it’s also incredibly engrossing!
This War of Mine sees you play as a group of survivors who are surviving in a war torn country by taking shelter in an abandoned building. This building becomes your home and base throughout the game. You cannot leave the house during the day due to the fighting outside, but at night you are able to go out and scavenge from other areas to get supplies in order to fortify your base, feed your survivors and make sure that you survive another day.
And then you repeat the experience day after day. And bit by bit you make your base stronger, and defend yourself against the ever-more vicious bands of marauders who try to raid your house while you are out scavenging. And then at night you have to get more and more adventurous, raiding areas that have other people guarding them, trying desperately to survive until … well, that’d be telling wouldn’t it.
(And yes, I know that this is a rerelease of a game, and you can find out what happens in the end if you google it, but I’m not telling you).
So I’ve given you an idea of what happens, but what did I think of the game? Well overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not usually a man who spends a lot of time with games of a serious nature, and this (as you can tell from my description) is a game with a pretty heavy story and some pretty hard choices to make. But it was totally engrossing from the word go. It’s a game that is polished and well made, and while it may sound like it would become tedious and repetitive after a while, I was completely taken in by the choices and actions you have to perform in order to survive. It helps that the in-game days are just about the right length as well – long enough for you to get stuff done, but short enough that you don’t find yourself bored. And like other games of this type, you have the option of fast-forwarding to the end of the day if you don’t have anything else you want to do and you want to get straight to the scavenging.
I really started to care about my characters too. On my first playthrough, when Bruno was Sick, Wounded AND Depressed, I was obsessed trying to make him better. It drew me in and just kept me enthralled for the whole time. And that’s not all – the game is different each time you start a new playthrough as well. You get different survivors with different skills, and events happen differently as well. And that’s a real selling point for me, because it makes every playthrough different, which vastly increases the amount I’m likely to go back to this game.
The art style is amazing – very suited to the story it is telling, very striking and altogether individual – you know what game you are playing the moment you look up at the TV.
But are there any negatives, I hear you all ask – well, not many if I’m honest. The sound design, while atmospheric, is very forgettable, and you do have to be in the right mood to play it (if you want a bright, colourful distraction from real life, this is NOT that game), but it feels mean to complain about that – if you look at this game, you know exactly what you are getting into. I guess the only other negative is that although it does change things up, it’s not a game I’d play over and over again in a short space of time because while each game does have variety, it does eventually become a retread of the same. It can get a bit hard to play in handheld mode too, as the characters are quite small on the small screen – but it’s not a huge problem.
This complete edition does include some extra content that was originally included as DLC, however, which is always a bonus as well.
So by and large, I would highly recommend this one – pick it up and give it a try.