Available On: Xbox One, PS4, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android
Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Deep Silver (Xbox One, PS4)
Genre: Action-Adventure, Survival
Official Site: https://www.tlo.thiswarofmine.com/
Release Date: January 29th, 2016
Where to Buy: Xbox Store, PSN, Steam, Local Retailer
This War of Mine is a survival themed action adventure strategy game that was originally released back in November of 2014 for the PC. Since that time the game has also released on Android and iOS and as of January 29th, 2016 has come to the consoles. In the game, players will control a group of survivors in a fictional war torn city who are holed up in a makeshift shelter. By day, players will have to maintain the shelter and craft essential items, such as beds, stoves, weapons and anything else that will help you survive. At night players will have to take one member of the group to go out into the war-torn city and scavenge for supplies to ensure survival for everyone back in the shelter. This review comes from the latest release of the game, This War of Mine: The Little Ones. While the concept of the game and story are the same, a new element is added to the mix which changes the style of play entirely. Children…
This War of Mine: The Little Ones is unique in the sense of who you are as a character and who you are not. In this war-torn city, you are not an elite fighting soldier. You are not on the front lines and you don’t have any power armor or arsenal of weapons stashed somewhere. You are a civilian. You are a lawyer, someone who once had a cooking show, a mathematician, and even a child. Your characters all have different skill sets and things they will excel at more so than others. Some will also be much more affected by theft or murder in the game than others will be. Children in your group will also have a different set of needs than the older adults in the group. They need to be played with and talked to and cared for differently. That old teddy bear that you may come across on your scavenging run may now be more important to grab than that extra board or two for crafting.
Something else that makes This War of Mine stand out is the very depressing narrative and the history behind the story. This game is based on the Siege of Sarajevo which took place during the Bosnian War from 1992 – 1996. Even though This War of Mine is based in a fictional city, the survival elements and experiences are from the very real material. During the day, you are confined to your shelter due to sniper fire outside. This is something the city of Sarajevo regularly dealt with.
On one occasion in the game, I found myself heading to a quiet house to scavenge for supplies. There was apparently little danger at this location and my survivors back at the shelter needed food badly. I came across an old man and a woman who were clearly frightened by me and were hoping I wouldn’t kill them. I cleared out the kitchen and downstairs cabinet and left. All the while the man pleaded for me not to take everything. Upon returning, my character clearly was questioning his actions wondering what would happen to those people. I myself began to feel bad, contemplating going back to see if I could put stuff back in the fridge. It’s interesting from a moral standpoint and makes you question yourself as to how far you would go to keep the ones you love alive.
When it comes to survival and fortifying your shelter players will have to act quickly. During the first play through you will have all adult characters. Only one character can be controlled at a time, but they can all be assigned to be doing different things. In one instance I had one character downstairs making a stove while another was upstairs making a bed and my third character was installing a filter in my water filtration unit. Not only will players have to care for everyone in the shelter with food and supplies, but will also have to deal with potential raiders at night and weather elements. While out scavenging one night, my shelter was raided and one of my characters suffered deep wounds fending off the attack. I needed bandages which I did not have and my character eventually succumbed to their injuries.
The siege of the city in the game lasts for an undisclosed amount of time unless you have selected the “Write your own story” option. The goal is to have your survivors last until the siege is over… and it will not be easy. After your first play through you can go back and either try again or write your own story where you have the ability to change the amount of time the siege lasts, when winter comes, how many survivors are in your shelter and whether you want to add a child to the mix.
My one main issue with This War of Mine on the console is the controls. They are especially frustrating when trying to sneak around a location at night that has armed soldiers around every other corner that you are trying to avoid. Slight pressure on the analog stick will have your character quietly creeping and keeping a low profile but apply just a little more than necessary and your character goes into a full sprint down the halls in the middle of the night. Once at a door, I applied just too much pressure and my character burst through the door without a care in the world. I had the subtlety of the Kool-Aid guy blasting a hole in the wall and saying “Oh yeah, Oh yeah!” I also found myself being reminded by my actual children in my home to watch my language when I could not manage to stop my character from repeatedly running up and down the steps and to just stay on one floor.
Even with the touchy controls, This War of Mine is a game that provides an exceptional and educational experience that I recommend. Death matters here and so do your players’ actions. There’s no quick respawn here or patching up a character who was just riddled with bullets. They are gone and you must learn to survive without them or start over from the very beginning. It’s an experience beyond frames per second or how well the cover system works. It’s beyond how amazing the graphics look and preparing for the next yearly release. It’s about taking care of the ones you love and doing whatever you need to ensure their survival and yours and more importantly the question, “How far would you go to achieve that survival?”
- Gameplay: Build your shelter by day and scavenge by night. Decisions must be carefully considered and always remember you’re not bulletproof
- Sound: Equally sets the tone to coincide with the somber visuals
- Graphics: This War of Mine plays in a side scroll fashion and the visuals accurately depict the tone of the game
- Presentation: Based on some very real experiences This War of Mine presents itself for what it is, a story about survival
- Death Matters
- Based off real experiences
- Makes you question yourself
- Based off of real experiences
- Analog Controls