I’ve heard good things about This War of Mine, so I decided to pick it up during the Steam Summer Sale, and I absolutely love it!
The game takes place in Pogoren, the besieged capital of Graznavia. The country is embroiled in civil war, and while in most games, this would be the start of the player grabbing a gun and winning the war single-handedly, here, you’re controlling some civilians trying to eke out a living while surviving the siege.
Each day, you handle errands around your safe house, cooking food, sleeping, patching up holes in the walls, building tools, dealing with neighbors requests, &c. Each night, you decide who sleeps, who stays on guard, and most importantly, who goes out to scavenge for supplies.
Scavenging involves going to different locations in the city and looking for supplies, such as food, medicine, or parts to build stuff. Some of the early locations are abandoned, but others aren’t, with occupants ranging from vagrants to senior citizens to armed soldiers, who won’t hesitate to murder you if you try to steal from them. It’s all too easy to get cocky and try to get just a few more things to take back home, only to run into an armed psychopath and get shot like a rabid dog.
As the days pass, it’s a struggle to survive. Food runs low, cold seeps into the house, people got injured, sick, or depressed. After a few false-starts, I was doing pretty well, but then my two best scavengers got shot and killed. Bandits raided us frequently, making off with valuable supplies. The survivors started to get into fights at night, and we had no bandages for their wounds. They descended into illness and depression. Before long, only one woman survived, badly wounded, mentally broken, doing little but eating and sleeping. On day 42, she mustered up the strength to hang herself.
My next attempt went better. A vegetable garden and some traps afforded us a measure of self-sufficiency with regard to food. I learnt that I could use the ax to chop up all superfluous furniture to get a bunch of extra fuel and wood. I was a lot more careful, avoiding violent confrontations. I protected the home better, fending off bandits. There were still some deaths, but Bruno and Anton were able to survive until the end, with a healthy surplus of food. We could have easily survived another week without leaving the house when the ceasefire arrived and we were able to return to normal life.
It’s simply an amazing game. It’s very tense wandering through a decrepit building, trying to avoid armed thugs, scavenging for a few cans of food to keep your friends alive for another day, hoping they won’t open the door and find you. It’s not technically after the apocalypse, but I feel that this model would make for an amazing post-apocalyptic game, struggling for scraps in the ruins of society. Something like the Rebuild series, but better.
Just be warned, this game is a bit depressing and heavy, as befits its subject material. I felt really bad about robbing food from this elderly couple. They were gone the next night, so hopefully they moved to a big farm in the countryside… But I highly recommend it!