Poland :: This War of Mine

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Not everyone is a hero in war

Many people recommended different games from Poland. Most (all) of them mentioned different parts of the famous series The Witcher. I already player The Witcher, and I would totally agree. However, one game – which I haven’t played yet – I heard a lot as well was “This War of Mine”. Reading about the background story of the game already touched me. The game is inspired by wars and sieges such as the Siege of Sarajevo (1992 – 1996), when Sarajevo was besieged for more than 3 years. More than 5000 civilians were killed during this period. This War of Mine tells the dark story of war – not from the perspective of the glorious war-hero or the fighting soldier, but from the perspective of the victims: civilians trying to survive in such a raw and dark period.

You would start the game in a small shelter with three characters – Katia, Bruno, and Pavel – all of them with a different background story. The only goal is to survive. The resources such as water, food, or time for sleeping are extremely limited. It is cold, and in times of war you never know if you should open the door when someone knocks. The characters have to build objects to create different resources and try to survive day by day. At night one of them is able to scavenge the nearby places, such as an old fuel station or an empty villa to find food and material.

When encountering other characters in this game,  you never know if this is someone who would help you, or one of the characters trying to rob and/or kill you. You start becoming very suspicious about everyone and everything. Together with its dark atmosphere, this setup makes the entire game much darker. You would meet people sitting in front of graves. While you would be afraid of this person trying to rob you, he would answer sadly “Don’t worry – I’m just taking care of a friend”. Things, which are usually normal – like helping the neighbor and her baby – suddenly become a process of weighting between risk and value. And at some point you also have to decide whether you want to rob an old couple, which would be their certain death, in order to survive just one more day. And it is not only the situation outside your shelter, which is the worst part. All this anger, the fear, the war also break the characters inside this shelter at some point. After taking the food from the old couple, all characters in the house became depressed for several days. This choice broke them even though it was the only way to let them live.

This game made me really think a lot. Would you steal the last food from others to survive? Would you let your neighbor die just because you are too afraid of a trap? Would you rob an old couple to be able to have food for you and your friends for one more day? Bruno died. Katia got extremely depressed and shortly died after him. Pavel left our shelter and was shot the next morning. This war definitely did not only break my characters. Another screen for the Hall of Pain. Playing this game was not fun, but definitely an important experience.

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Release 2014
Genre Survival, Strategy, Resource Management
Developer 11 Bit Studios
Publisher 11 Bit Studios / Deep Silver