War, in whatever form you put it, is still one of the most used themes for video games, especially in recent years and This War of Mine follows these events. The scheme is always the same: military territorial supremacy, fighting for the greater good and shooting at enemies. It is certainly a winning mix, with game mechanics and a well-defined narrative that allows the houses to be able to sell on the market. Impersonating the classic soldier is now almost customary but no one has ever asked the question "but how do civilians experience war?".
The vast majority never take this point of view and the Polish study into consideration 11 bit studios has seen fit to narrate these events in the new title This War of Mine and focus exclusively on the civilian view of the conflict.
Surviving, the absolute imperative!
Ever since it was announced, the theme of this game was clear to everyone but the big surprise was that this is not a game made for shooting, but a real management title, with a classic setting as already seen on PC games but this time with a step forward compared to the usual. The aim of the game is to manage a small group of survivors in a conflict-torn setting. The war will only serve as a background, never discovering the reasons that led to the war nor where we are precisely.
At the beginning we will be able to control three characters, inside a dilapidated house but undoubtedly better than staying out in the cold, covered by the rain and away from the conflict zones. It will be necessary to look for raw materials, food and useful objects to warm up and shelter from the cold, thus managing the days of the survivors. The gameplay is based on the day-night cycle, two distinct phases marked by a time. Within the game we will have to be good with resource management to avoid consuming more than we produce, learning how to filter rainwater, try our hand at creating medical herbs, alcohol and tobacco.
The night brings fear!
All normal, the day we will be quietly dedicated to creation. The hard part comes at night. Once the sun goes down, our characters will have to go in search of food and items to steal, in various exploration and recovery missions. Everyone will have specific tasks based also on their abilities: those who are good at stealth will be in charge of going around, others will take turns on guard to protect the ill-intentioned who will try to plunder you, while others (the weakest) will rest. It is clear that in a time of war, people are willing to do anything to survive, and as already mentioned we will suffer a lot of attacks from strangers, making life in the game very difficult. The closer you get to the war zones, the more the risk of finding armed men is high and in this way you pass from a management game to one of the stealth, trying to keep an eye on the indicators and avoid making as little noise as possible.
If we find ourselves in a fight, the combat system will be minimal and we will only have the weapon that we have in our backpack. The weapons are classic, like a built knife, crowbar and the more you go through the game, we will find real weapons like pistols and rifles, which can also be bought with barter using our primary goods.
Dying in the game will be easy enough, just make the wrong decision like groped to loot the wrong group, or infiltrate abandoned hotels and find yourself up against well-armed mercenaries and soldiers. Even the various parameters of life can lead to death such as not eating, thanks to a well simulated system that also takes into account fatigue and morale. Not only us, but also the group must be kept under control. The great idea of the Polish studio was to completely simulate a man's life. In the absence of food or otherwise, roommates will often find themselves in moments of tension between them. Characters who go into depression risk not being able to be used and to relieve them you will need to talk to them or provide them with a distraction.
There are not many places to explore but those few present great difficulties well realized that will test our skills. Often it will happen that we have to make difficult decisions that can affect ourselves, such as perhaps sacrificing the weakest in a difficult moment in order to survive. The basis of the game is not the story itself but our mind. 11 Bit Studios wanted to recreate a world that can affect our emotions and feel fully involved, the narration will be effective in proportion to our sensitivity, always ready to get involved to make us understand how those who are in these situations live in reality .
To accompany this title there will be a graphic sector of effect that enriches the gloomy atmosphere thanks to a large scale of shades of gray that reflects the situation. Small drops in frame rates sure, but if you look at the title in its entirety it is almost irrelevant. The same goes for the sound sector, which reproduces the surrounding noises very well even if it is not the best, but still good.