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PAX East 2014: This War of Mine hands on preview

by: Nathan -
More On: This War of Mine PAX East 2014

About a month ago, the first trailer for This War of Mine debuted and blew everyone away. I too was really excited about the concept of this game. The game does take place during a modern day war, but this time you aren't the soldier. You are the innocent civilians who have to fight to survive every single day as their homes, friends and family are taken from them in an instant. 

You start in a random area that has been devastated by the war. During the day, you manage things at your safe house. You can select any of your party members and have them perform a number of tasks. This can include building supplies so you can eat and sleep better, reinforced walls to keep other scavengers out, weapons and more. This is also where you will eat and take medicine to build up your party before you head out for the night. 

When you choose to head out at night, you will need to decide which of your party members will go out and which ones will stay behind. Each character has attributes that make them better at different tasks. It may be a good idea to send out the party member that is good at scavenging, and hold back the one that is good at guarding. After choosing who goes and who stays, you need to pick a location to scavenge. This is where the way gets really interesting and emotional. 

You have to search for supplies for your followers including food and medicine. On your travels you may run into other scavengers either living in that area or searching for items of their own. This is when the incredibly tough decisions will come into play. You may come across a family that is struggling to stay alive. Do you steal their items? They need to survive just like you do. You may take essential items from them, but it may help you and your followers survive. You may encounter someone who is on the brink of death and starving. They might beg you for food. Do you give it to them, or do you save it for yourself and your friends. People may join your party if you help them but that also means that you have an extra mouth to feed. You also need to keep in mind that other people aren't going to be so keen on you taking their stuff. Be prepared to fight for your life in some situations. This also brings up another interesting scenario. You never really know if someone will be hostile or not if they see you. You can sneak around ares if you want but you may miss out on the opportunity to get help from others. These are the kinds of huge decisions you will be faced with and I'm sure there are many other scenarios you will encounter when the game is released.

You never know how long a war might last so it seems like the game will keep going until you eventually run out of party members and items, or when the war does end. You need to also keep in mind that supplies will be scarce and you will often see your party members getting sick, tired, and hungry. 

I will admit that I was skeptical when I learned that the game was a 2D, point and click, side-scrolling or sorts but I am happy to say that it works and it is also really fun. The heavy use of the black and white tone really works as well because it really brings out how dark and scary the situation is. Color represents life and happiness, which there is none of in war. 

I absolutely love the idea of this game. It falls into the same level of emotion for me as the game Papers Please did. It actually makes you think about how you would react in those situations. Do you do what is best for you? Or what is best for others? I really love a videogame that actually forces me to think about how I would handle the situation at hand and I cannot wait to get my hands on the final version when it is eventually released.