This War of Mine developers, 11 Bit Studios, may have just started a new genre in the video game industry. Survival? Yes, most agree. But it’s so much more than that. It’s not your typical bash in zombie heads and it’s not going to make you feel like you’re a badass headed to victory. In fact, there aren’t any real bad guys that you’ll be faced with. Unless you consider, well… let’s not give too much away for those who haven’t played it. If you want spoilers, your next stop is probably YouTube anyways.
This game will take away every comfort of life as you know it and it’s up to you take the reins in order to survive in a post-war, somber environment. It’s not fun. Let’s face it – day after day of almost seemingly impossible doom would get to just about anyone. And your characters are no different. They aren’t above becoming depressed and committing suicide.
And don’t bother looking for a “Here ya go…” hand-holding tutorial, either. It’s not there. You’ll have to figure it out and learn through trial and error, hopefully before anyone in your group is in too dire need of something (good luck).
And it’s not going to be like anything you’ve played before, either. First of all, surprisingly, you’re going to try to stay alive in a Sims sort of way. You’ll be given a small group of characters that are under your control and you’ll guide them throughout the day (and night). But you won’t be striving for career ambitions or balancing family life – you’ll be struggling to stay alive by staying warm, proportioning out food rations and deciding which character is in need of a bed tonight and who will sleep on the floor.
You won’t have nice little bubbles or bars to monitor health, hunger, etc. You’ll simply be told when if someone is hungry or sick or tired. And more times than not, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it. It’s up to you to prioritize correctly. Those parts that you scavenged last night could help make a knife or a water filter, but not both. Or should you save them to barter for medical supplies if you run into someone who has them? Whatever choice you make, you’ll soon learn that someone in some way will likely suffer from it.
Civilian life in a war-torn area where everyone has to make life and death decisions on a daily basis isn’t easy. Is this game entertaining? Many would say no. But it does grab a hold of you in a way that’s rarely seen in today’s Call of Duty gaming generation that thrives off of the likes of MMOSite, PlayerX and Twitch gamestreams.
It doesn’t glorify war. War is dark, dangerous and demeaning, especially to innocent civilians who are caught in the aftermath. The journey and depravity that you’ve trudged through in This War of Mine is an experience that most of us have never dealt with and though you may not necessarily call the game “fun,” it’s definitely worth playing.