This War of Mine
*This is my experience playing 'This War of Mine' and my thoughts on it. It may contain spoilers for people who have not played it yet, or played it a lot. I have not played it to completion either (meaning I haven't unlocked all achievements.) So continue on to my review with those things in mind. Thanks for reading!
Steam Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/282070/
Official Site: http://www.thiswarofmine.com/
This game takes place in a world that has been ravaged by war. Only unlike other games, this one is about the civilians and survivors. You have to play out trying to survive in the worst of conditions and an abandoned building you find at the start. Each night, one person can go out and scavenge for supplies... food, water, basic building parts, etc. but there is danger all around and you have to determine how much risk is worth what you need. If you visit the wrong place, you could be killed by militants or bandits. Eventually you can craft or find weapons to defend yourself, which becomes necessary against people trying to loot YOUR place at night too. Is it worth it to take someone's life in order to survive though?
As you play you will have or obtain different survivors in the game. Each survivor has different skills and vices. Some will be okay with stealing or killing. Others will immediately become depressed by immoral actions. If your survivors become depressed, things get increasingly more difficult for you to "win" the game. On the opposite spectrum however, you also come across times where you can choose to help people. Sometimes this will give your survivors a moral boost. However... sometimes helping other people can also be detrimental to you, and not every survivor is happy to help strangers.
The game has a sim like system where you can gather and build to have an easier time surviving. A workbench is something you start the game out with, which will let you build more things like chairs for comfort, or a radio to get information about what's going on out in the city. Some of these things are essential for early game... other things you can either wait to build until late game, or just choose not to use at all. Everything however does have some benefit in the game, so I recommend with each play through that you experiment with something new every time, just to get a feel for if you like it or not.
Based on real experiences, this game is emotionally enthralling. You cheer when something goes well, and you grieve when something goes bad. The more you play the game, the more story you get about each survivor and even the NPC's you visit. Even if it gives you no benefit to do so, I really recommend clicking on the little spy glass question mark symbols when you're raiding. It gives you little bits of story and insight to who either lives or lived in that place.
You decide how you want to play, and how you want to survive. You can go an entire game without killing a single person... or, you can choose to wipe out each place you visit of all living souls. Its up to you. Every action has a consequence though, so be ready to have to deal with your choices. This game is not as easy as it seems, especially as you start to move on through their different starter scenarios.
For example, in some of the later starter stories, your game begins in winter. Oh yes... there are seasons, and winter is brutal. Winter will block off certain locations from being able to be visited (such as the hospital, which can really suck.) So you'll have a harder time getting supplies. You also have to contend with the cold... or your survivors can freeze to death or get sick. Things in the game are random, so you might get a light winter where you only need one heater... or you can get a severe winter where even two heaters doesn't guarantee you'll make it.
Finally I'll talk about their expansion, "The Little Ones" which came out last year.
I bought it immediately, but I didn't actually play it until this year. I tell you... its a great addition. You can start with characters that have a child with them, and so now you don't only have to worry about your adult survivors... but you have to watch out for the child. The child at first is not helpful at all, except for giving people a slight morale boost. You can teach the child how to do things though, such as making water filters. Make the child do too much work though and they get sad, which upsets other survivors too. Keeping the child happy and safe is the key, so you'll need to build toys and talk to them each day. Taking the extra time to look after the child can really slow down your progress with the adults, adding that much more difficulty. Not to mention the emotions you feel for these children caught in the war.
There are new characters and new locations to visit with this expansion as well, and you don't have to play with the children themselves if you don't want to. I enjoyed it though, and think you should give it a try at least once.
I don't have anything negative to say about this game really. I haven't encountered much in the way of bugs, even though I've read of some. I find that the game has a ton of replay value, and there is the 'Write Your Own Story' mode, which gives you customization to play as easy or as hard as you choose. You can even make your own characters (one time I played as the Sailor Moon Senshi.) There is modding and a workshop, though I admit I have no dabbled in that just yet. Perhaps one day soon. The game CAN get a little stale if you don't choose to try new scenarios or buy the expansion, because then you get the same characters and locations to visit each time. Though there will always be randomness regardless if you play the same one scenario every time.
Visuals: 8/10. They are unique, a pencil art black and white style. I personally prefer a very vibrant, colorful game. That said though, with the mood of this game I think the art style fits it absolutely perfect.
Game play: 9/10. Its easy to control and easy to learn. I do wish there was a 'fast forward' feature for the day instead of just 'End Day', because I sometimes find myself just sitting and doing nothing through the day as I wait for my survivors to finish sleeping and then utilize the rest of the time crafting. The combat system is great... very difficult if you don't know what you're doing, and much easier once you get the hang of sneaking, stealth kills, or obtaining better weapons. The randomness of the game keeps it fresh each time it's played, and though you can use an exploit of restarting your day to avoid bad scenarios... I still enjoy it.
Replay value: 10/10. I can play this game over and over and still find new things to do or explore or try. Getting your people to survive until the war is over can be difficult, and each character has different needs and vices to consider. No matter how good you are at the game, you aren't guaranteed to always win with everyone alive.
Price: Great. I think it is the perfect price for the amount of content and replay value it has.
Recommendation: High. I think everyone should try this game. Its worth the price, it might teach you some things about war from a survivors perspective, and its the perfect level of difficulty, especially with being able to play at difficulties you choose.