The War At Home
This War Of Mine was announced in a rather captivating teaser. I knew right away it was something I wanted to keep an eye on, something I wanted to look into. A game set in the middle of a civil war, where you don't play as the forces of either side but rather someone caught right in the middle. It's something we hear a lot of in the news these days - just take the conflict in Ukraine or in Syria as examples.
It's something we tone out often, not because we don't care but because the news talks about people as numbers and statistics and not living, breathing beings. This War Of Mine brings the war home, in a gripping adventure that will not only entertain you as a game, but may also make you feel raw emotion as a work of art with a very clear statement to make. To call this a point and click adventure would not do it proper justice as brings to life something I've never seen done before.
Day By Day
Welcome to Pogoren, the final battleground in a war that has raged out of control for too long. In the opening moments, your random set of survivors reveal who they are, and how they thought the war would be done and over with shortly after it started. Only now, it's right at their front door. Pogoren is a fictional city, in an equally fictional country with a somewhat ambiguous architecture of buildings that makes it impossible to place it within any known country's borders. And that's exactly the point. It's clear to see in the imagery that no matter who is playing this title, in what part of the world, the developers want to pull you in. They want you to feel like you're not just watching a story play out, but that you're a part of it.
When you first start the game, you are immediately shown your three survivors and the old apartment building that they now call home. It has "Fuck The War" painted on the wall just outside. I believe the three you start with are always randomized, but one constant I've always seen in the group is Bruno, useful for his ability to make a decent meal out of almost nothing. Other survivors I've encountered during my playtime have had different abilities and back-stories such as reporter and fire fighter. For the most part, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Only once did I meet a character who had nothing to contribute to the group.
By day the city is much too dangerous to scavenge, with sounds of gunfire and artillery adding to the already somber music that plays in the background. It's a soundtrack of sadness, of desperation, as you try to help them make something out of nothing; a home, out of a hovel. My days were often spent in somber nothingness, just making sure my characters were somewhat comfortable and making the best of a bad situation but it wasn't always like that.
Traders would sometimes visit, as would other characters in need of help such as the two children who needed medicine for their sick mother. It took me only briefly to decide to give the medicine away to the two brave souls who went through a war zone to get help, but it was a decision I would later wonder about as one of my characters succumbed to an illness with no other medicine in sight. As he passed in his sleep, the very same character I had used to give away the medicine, I was surprised that I actually found myself caring about his passing.
The gameplay, the randomization of events, the art style, the unbridled human element that in turn evokes actual thoughts and emotions from the player.
Sometimes environments don’t load properly, briefly breaking immersion as you have to reload again, Point and Click controls perhaps too simple for a game so complex.