This War of Mine is a game for those of us that champion the “Games are art” message. This isn’t the game for you if you want something easy to play and uplifting, this is the game to play if you like a piece of art to make you think, to make you feel. This is a title that will make you feel like a horrible person, but in the best way possible.
This War of Mine places you responsible of a small group of survivors in a war torn modern day, western city. These people are isolated and cut off from the rest of the world, while a conflict, much bigger than them and not even related, tears the city around them apart. Survival is the overall goal, keeping your people alive.
The game alternates between 2 major cycles; Day time and Night time and how your people handle themselves through these period and the decisions you make are integral to their survival.
Your own groups interactions with other survivors are all your decisions, will you help out someone struggling, or will you steal everything they have left in order to keep your own people alive?
The Day time period is used to make sure your survivors are fed, maybe rested and attempting to keep their spirits high in this bleak world. During the day your survivors have to execute timed activities and crafting to prepare or the future and the night ahead.
The night is used for savaging amongst the ruined city. Your survivors need to venture out in order to find food, supplies, medicine and crafting items. In the beginning you’ve given plenty of areas to explore and scavenge from, but as the days go on they deplete and your survivors need to start venturing out into more dangerous and riskier territory in order to stay fed and well.
Everything seems to be going well. You’ve managed to craft a bed, so your survivors can get a good nights sleep, your fastest survivor was out for the night, you managed to find a good deal food on this run and you’ve got enough supplies now to build a crafting bench. You get back to your hideout and you’ve been robbed. Your supplies have been slashed, your resting survivors were attacked. And now you need to try and get back on your feet.
The Bottom Line
This War of Mine is crippling. It will make you upset. It will make you feel like a horrible person for the decisions you’ve made and the regrets of what you could have done. But what it’s doing is emphasizing a beautiful aspect of video games; what we have is a medium that is better than any other at making people feel. This War of Mine is a great game, not for how fun it is, but for what it can make you feel.