363: This War of Mine

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363: This War of Mine

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 12:57 pm

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of This War of Mine for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Re: 363: This War of Mine

Post by The Baboon Baron » March 4th, 2019, 3:31 pm

Full disclosure, I played This War of Mine: The Little ones, but I think the main elements are the same, except now kids are suffering too…. yay?!?

This War of Mine isn’t fun, it isn’t fair, and it isn’t pretty. And that’s a good thing. For all of our FPS’s or Third person run and guns, few games capture what war is actually like. And if I’m honest I’ve no idea what war is actually like, but games like this and Spec Ops: The line capture brief glints of what true hell on earth is.

This war of mine starts with throwing together a rag tag few survivors with different characteristics and attributes completely at random, something that immediately immersed me into the war-torn environment. Though this dice roll really can make or break your game. Or should I say games, as I found myself constantly restarting as I ran out of resources, as my survivors died or they were plagued by illness. True to this random nature, the how’s and whys of survival are not clear, with resources often being wasted or accidentally destroyed. But, once you’ve got to grips with the game, its clear that some of this difficulty is due to poor design, with awkward controls that often resulted in beds being destroyed for firewood, when all I really wanted was my survivor to get a couple hours kip.

Though the true gut punch is the weight of melancholy and hopelessness. Every one of my attempted play throughs resulted in death, suicide, murder, theft, illness, starvation, malnutrition or other horrors once far removed from my cosy living room. And all these nightmares were delivered very powerfully. Actions will affect others, characters will lament mistakes, there is never enough food to go around… TWOM paints miniature stories of self-sacrifice and selfishness elegantly and cruelly. As your characters succumb to depression or mal-nutrition, they slow down to a miserable shuffle, taking agonising minutes to do anything. It really captures the unending sorrow of a city at war.

But, and it’s a big but, this is still a video game. And in that sense, TWOM trips and stumbles. All this misery is fine if you want to wallow in your own sadness, but that’s why Morrissey still sells records. The mechanics and controls are quite obtuse, making quick and perma death a common occurrence. Whist status effects paint a powerful picture, you’ll be board soon after your moved by your survivors’ plight. Similarly setting up, building, or in any way interacting with items is long, drawn out and often dull affair.

An interesting and moving game, it unfortunately doesn’t hold up on repeated play throughs. That said, I would point to it as an important curio in gaming, not for the “game” part, rather the scene setting and decision-making elements are quite fascinating in their bleakness. If you have a copy I would recommend you play it, but it is a shame that sorrow and reflection is so quickly followed by boredom and frustration.

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Re: 363: This War of Mine

Post by Alex79uk » March 4th, 2019, 6:49 pm

I remember getting really in to this for a couple of weeks and then never really going back. It was a really interesting game, and one I still have installed both on my phone and PS4. Really good sense of atmosphere, very oppressive. I'd like to see a much more expanded sequel I think, as the game had a lot of potential but ultimately became quite a repetitive gameplay loop. I remember feeling very tense sneaking around houses though whilst the occupants slept upstairs, and feeling awful stealing medication after being begged not to. Yeah, it really is an interesting game.


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Re: 363: This War of Mine

Post by Simonsloth » March 17th, 2019, 7:49 pm

This war of mine is terrible. By this I mean bleak, disturbing and because it made me question my own morality.

Be it Mass Effect or a Telltale adventure I generally try to think what I would do in the given situation. If there’s a binary choice of good or bad I will opt for the positive outcome. Video games are about escapism but for me they are putting myself in an interesting situation and thinking what would I do. My Shephard, My Lee and now This of War of Mine.

Unfortunately the game forces you to make difficult choices and each time I role played as myself my house got invaded and my 3 survivors soon succumbed to their injuries or hunger. I could not bring myself to rob the elderly couple or the homeless men who were like me just scraping by.

I decided on one playthrough recently to try and overcome my natural desire to do no harm. I killed an elderly couple and stole all their food, butchered some hobos and stole theirs. I turned away survivors who wanted to join our struggle and I was generally awful but I survived longer than I ever had. I died stupidly in another greedy self indulgent moment and I deserved it.

I haven’t gone back to the game. I can’t be the person it wants me to be and as far as my experiences go to win you have to be awful and I can’t do that. if the world of this war of mine became a reality I won’t do very well at all and that to me is better than destroying my own morality which I hold dear. I hope others do as badly as I.

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