This War Of Mine Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

This War Of Mine Review



Anyone who hasn’t read my preview of This War of Mine can find it here. That being said, all the positives I listed there still stand. I still enjoy the drab, dingy feel the game was going for in a rundown environment. I still like the sketchy, flip book feel to the graphics. And I definitely think that the idea of focusing on civilians during a war is a stroke of genius, instead of sticking with the obvious choice, those part of the actual conflict. Since I said pretty much I needed to last time, I’ll be focusing on things that happened differently that made this experience a better one.

Firstly, the save system has been fully implemented, and what a godsend that is. To make a fair amount of progress, and then lose it every time you quit is simply heartbreaking. The game quietly auto-saves every once in a while. I suppose you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

This time, I built my group a radio, which allowed them to listen to news updates and classical music, both of which changed daily. This helped them connect with the world outside, hopefully making them feel better. There was a weather forecast, which warned me of cooling temperatures. This gave me a heads-up to build a radiator, as it required a fair amount of raw materials to make. This type of thoughtful game design (warning players of future events without presenting it to them on a plate) is a welcome change.

My last playthrough had a slightly different team. I had Pavle, the fast runner, Bruno, the chef and a girl whose name I forgot. She was good at bartering and trading items. She was replaced by Marko, who had more inventory slots for scavenging old buildings. This replacement was fine by me, as the trader only came around if you were lucky, while I raided settlements every night. Plus in my first play through, Pavle was too injured to risk sending him out, so I sent out the unnamed girl. She got into a fist fight and was killed, so I don’t have particularly fond memories of her.

Speaking of fist fights, I fought some rowdy squatters who had no right to be in the building I was raiding. By which I mean, I broke into an elderly couple’s house, killed them, rifled through their pockets and looted the entire house. But it gets much, much worse. The old woman had dementia, who forgot how they had met. The man patiently explained that they met after her returned from the first World War. That’s right. I murdered a senile old woman and a war veteran. After learning this, I had every intention of keeping them alive. My plan was to sneak in, steal their stuff and sneak out. Bish-bosh, done. However, the old man spotted me as soon as I entered. I honestly considered running, he didn’t need to die. But this house was in the rich part of the area, and we needed medical supplies badly, with the other two members injured and sick. He raised his fists, leaving me no choice. I switched to “punch mode” (which is still as ridiculous as it was back in the preview) and started spamming the left mouse button. Once the old man stopped moving, his wife started screaming and stood up. I didn’t give her a chance to fight or to run. I bludgeoned her to death. On the plus side, I managed to find bandages and medication, which patched up all the members nicely. But I don’t think poor Bruno’s mental scars will ever heal.

I also learnt the wonders of revisiting previously looted areas. Technically, you can always bring more than one person, which means less trips back and forth. Unless you bring everyone, it’s incredibly unlikely to completely loot a building on the first visit. There’s always materials left behind. One place can tide you over two or three days, negating the need to put your team in any danger. Once they’re dead, they’re dead. they need to be fed, entertained and healthy, which is more demanding than it may sound.

I do have one large gripe with this game though. It seems to focus on playing to the team’s strengths, working together and whatnot. But time consuming tasks can only be undertaken by one person. Clearing rubble with your hands takes an eternity, which could easily be sped up by having more than one person work on it. You can make a metalwork table, and subsequently a shovel, but it would be much simpler to just share the workload. This may sound small, but if you only have a certain amount of time to do things in, then every second counts. Plus taking a shovel uses up an inventory space, which could have be used for new objects found in the location, instead of tools.

This War of Mine is still fun to play. This game makes you wonder what you would do in a situation like this. Would you kill an innocent elderly couple to survive a couple more days? Who should go without eating if there’s only two portions of food? It fixed my main issue of saving and while it isn’t perfect, it’s a fresh look on thetried and tested formula of war.