By: Austin Comstock
Released Nov. 14 2014 by 11 bit studios
Instead of taking the role of a military hero, This War of Mine puts the player in control of a group of civilians trying to survive the war that has overtaken their city.
Set in a fictional country in Eastern Europe a war has broken out between the rebels and the government. Snipers watch the street during the day, killing anyone they see, and almost every building is left in ruins from the bombings.
The player takes control of a small group of survivors who’ve found a ruined building that should be safe enough to give them shelter. During the day the player can have the group fortify their shelter, build tools and weapons, and tend to the needs of the group. At night one survivor is sent out to scavenge the city for supplies while the rest of the group can sleep or stay on guard, as raiders can try to loot the shelter.
Scavenging is where the game really gets interesting, as it’s where the player will face the most challenges. The player has nine in-game hours to sneak around one of many locations for the night. Each area has varying levels of difficulty; some will have people willing to trade and others will be filled with soldiers who will shoot on sight. Combat is an option, but even the slightest mistake can be fatal.
Throughout a playthrough the player will face many hard choices that will make the player question their own morals. When a person comes to your shelter begging to join your group do you let them? The group is barely getting enough food to eat without another mouth to feed, but that person doesn’t seem like they can survive on their own for much longer. When you come across the home of a sickly old woman and her husband, would you steal from them? What if someone in the group was gravely injured or severely ill; the elderly couple has the medical supplies to save them but the old lady might not live without them.
The overall objective of the game is to survive until the war is over, and as long as one person from the group makes it the player will be successful. Those who survive will be changed forever and at the end of the game there will be a recap of the events of the game and how the survivors have moved on.
Aesthetically the game is very well done. The graphics aren’t anything groundbreaking but the art style, along with the soundtrack, reinforces the theme of the game very well. The gameplay really makes the player feel like they’re struggling to survive with only hope to keep them going. Unfortunately, the re-playability of the game is lacking, because the emotional moments don’t have the same impact as they do on the first playthrough.