Sunday, 14 February 2016
This War Of Mine: The little ones review
I would say happy valentine's day, but to me it isn't, so I decided to write a review of what is probably one of the most depressing games I've played for a long time.
It's not about commanding soldier's to the brink of victory within this side scrolling survivor title, it's all about the survivors of the war. In the console versions they've thrown children in tot the mix making it harder to play, but there's a downside, a lack of tutorial, or any real help at all, upon first starting the game up, makes for a huge learning curve. This builds up on you quickly making it hard to grasp the first few attempts you have.
My first game consisted of three male adults, who all succumed to starvation, because I couldn't find any weaponary to get past snipers in some of the more built up buildings. The second saw the two ladies succumb to depression, making it hard to get them to finish jobs.
Then I discovered you could write your own story. I included a child in my own version. "Write your story" is basically setting the game up yourself, you can toggle winter between off and incredibly harsh, you can make threats really low or have it on the verge of a mass exodus. The more interesting part is making up your own survivors, althoug, their back story can occassionally make no difference. From here you also chose the locations for scavenger hunts, trying to make it easier or not, but you must have ten active. Once scavaging you also have to make moral choices, do we kill those snipers, thus possibly affecting the war around us? Do we steal medicene from that nice elder couple, thus making violent looters more likely to kill them? Do we help other survivors when we do?
When scavaging you can also tell yhe survivors left behind to go to sleep or guard the house. This is another area we get to explore. When you've finsohed and come back with goodies, you can build items from chairs and beds to radios, distillerys and kids entertainment. All designed to make the place feel like home. You can even patch holes in the walls to stop intruders during the night, this could hopefully mean that everyone can sleep.
Random help encounters can also get you some nice rewards for helping out, from food to medicene or even just building supplies, it all builds to a helpful conclusion. So, why is it depressing? Well, the overal undertone os a depressing look of greys and blacks, not that it's a totally bad thing, as it reflects the subject matter, but when you add Plague Inc's random situations to it, it becomes a whole new ball park. You can have all the food and medicene in the city and still end up with multiple depressed characters, or keep their spirits up, but run out of food, thus, everyome starves to death. There isn't a set strategy you can use. That is what makes it interesting, but also brutally honest of the subject in hand.
The moral decisions is what really makes the game impactful, it's the inclusion of this and the fact you now have childrens lives to protect that give it such a great feeling of impending doom, it's still a fun title, but be prepared for the "oh, I just give up" moment you'll definitely have whilst playing.
Too high learning curve for new players
Can be too aggressive whilst trying to learn
Brilliant story telling
Children add a flavour of compassion
It makes you think
Solid gameplay mechanics