E3 2014: This War of Mine (Impressions)

by: Chuck -

Nestled in the back of the Alienware booth at E3 was a game about war. However, unlike all of the shooter and strategy games surrounding it, This War of Mine isn't about conquering but about surviving the war.

The team at 11 bit studios is best known for their Anomaly reverse tower defense games but This War of Mine is a completely new direction for the team. The game was inspired by an article titled "One year in Hell" which was written by someone who was trapped in Sarajevo for a year while the city was under siege during the Bosnian war. The article details everything he and his family had to do to survive and it's not pretty. The article moved the team at 11 bit studios to come up with a game that would allow gamers to experience what it was like to be the people caught in the middle of a conflict.

This War of Mine isn't a happy or fun game, it's a mature game that will make you think about the impact of war on those where the war is waged. What it's like for civilians who have to survive without water, power, and food as civilians are the ones who suffer most in war.

Every time you play the game you will be given a set of supplies and you have to figure out how to make them last and how you will interact with the rest of the populace. Do you partner with them to try and form a formidable gang and face the task of feeding additional mouths, do you rob them blind and hope they starve before they retaliate, or do you kill them and take what you need to keep your family alive? Choose wisely as these decisions will impact your characters mood and have long term ramifications on their mental health.

Another thing you'll have to deal with is the time and temperature. Due to snipers you can't go out during the day and so all of your foraging will have to be done at night. This means you have to watch the real time clock carefully to make sure you're making the best use of your time. Some playthroughs will also happen during the winter which means you'll have to deal with keeping warm as well as finding food and supplies.

What little I saw of This War of Mine was impressive and what really drew me in was the detailed character portraits each character had. This is one of those cases where photorealism brings you further into the game and helps create a bond with you and the characters. I'm interested to actually get my hands on a build of the game to see how all of these mechanics play out over the course of multiple sieges as I think they could have a sleeper hit on their hands when it comes out later this year.

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