This War of Mine depicts the macabre atmosphere of war in a side-scrolling survival game, delivering a harrowing and immersive experience that is unlike any other in gaming. You are placed in the tattered shoes of a group of civilians caught in the crossfire of a brutal, bloody war. The characters find themselves redundant in a new world; the lives they have built themselves serve no purpose here, and each day’s objective is to make it to the next.
“Either help the man risking the life of my character or protect myself and forsake them. I regretfully chose not to help them.”
The survival elements are simple; food to keep you alive, weapons to defend your possessions, medicine for sickness, and warmth to protect you from the claws of winter. Each day is split into two, in the light snipers outside stop you from leaving, so you must build, trade, and care for your survivors. And in the dark you must scavenge the shelled remains of the city subsistence.
A distressed man knocked on the door of my crumbling safe house in need of my help. His brother Milosz had been wounded by a shot from a stray sniper. He was bleeding out and would surely die there if I wouldn’t offer to help carry him to a safe location. I was left with a moral dilemma. Either help the man risking the life of my character or protect myself and forsake them. I regretfully chose not to help them.
“Alternatively you could chose to watch The Chase, slipping into a life of unawareness and mediocrity, a life of Harvester’s salad bar and discount price double glazed windows; stuck in a swirling world of Bradley Walsh and nothingness.”
On a later scavenging mission to an abandoned petrol station I found a freshly dug grave. Where laid a carefully folded origami flower and the ID of a man named Milosz. This is where the game sets itself apart from other titles in the survival genre, with abject misery. And what makes it even more horrific is that the game has actually been inspired by real-life events.
I am not going to lie, this game is quite heavy for an evening’s entertainment. It is incredibly compelling, but it is not fun. Alternatively, you could chose to watch The Chase, slipping into a life of unawareness and mediocrity, a life of Harvester’s salad bar and discount price double glazed windows; stuck in a swirling world of Bradley Walsh and nothingness. This is equally as depressing, but much less captivating.
What leads to it being so compelling is that it’s a war game that doesn’t focus on the combat. It makes killing a big deal; you are playing as regular people that are not prepared to kill, which makes it tense. And if you do kill someone it may lead to your characters becoming depressed and perhaps even commit suicide anyway.
Helping those in need rarely yields any rewards, you’ll only take a sense of goodwill confirming you have a heart after all. But sometimes you will have to gun down an old lady to get your hands on medicine. That is the risk you take playing This War of Mine, you will have to do terrible things to survive.