The original This War of Mine made its debut in the videogame scene back in 2014, shaking the hearts of many players with a new way of telling and conceiving the most human (and inhuman) of dramas: the war. No space for the spectacular action that dominates in historical series like call of Duty or Battlefieldbut a terrible event reported in the intimacy of the real victims of such cruel events, which are often not soldiers, but civilians.
Home developers 11 bit Studios have in the past claimed to have taken inspiration in particular from the historian siege of Sarajevo, which with its duration of four years (from April 1992 to February 1996) marked one of the darkest events in European history. Yet despite the team’s statements, play This War of Mine Final Cut Edition exactly in this historical period, in which the invasion of Ukraine by Russia becomes more and more violent day by day, is truly significant and is an experience that every player should face.
The events narrated in the game manage to put the story and human traumas back into perspective, the conflict narrated has not historical and geographical coordinates very precise by choice of the developers, who by depriving the events of well-defined contours do not make them less effective, but ensure that the pain of the characters assume universal boundaries, putting us in front of not personalities, but people, who manage to assume human traits despite being simple digital avatars made up of a handful of pixels.
The most human of tales
This War of Mine Final Cut really puts a lot of meat on the fire, gathering in one single package the contents of which the basic version has been enriched over the eight years that have passed since the original release, in particular there will be two game modes which have differences which, although not substantial, will change the very essence of the game and the approach required of the player.
There main campaign will be divided into two different modes: the classic one and the survival mode. In both cases we will be at the head of a handful of survivors who will have to resist with few means available and try to procure basic necessities in scenarios obviously devastated by the conflict. We will deepen the question in the section dedicated to gameplay, as far as the actual plot is concerned, it is the Stories modeadded only later to the base game, fortunately, I would like to add.
In fact, if the main campaign does not present a real narrative plot, the Stories mode presents three different stories, each unique and touching in its own way. Of the three in question, two in particular have struck me: A father’s promise And Dying embers (although also the last transmission is certainly not inferior to the other two).
A father’s promise it is undoubtedly the most human of the three stories, intimate and cruel in its development will see us take on the role of a father, left alone with his sick daughter in the middle of the siege. The narrated story will hardly leave the players numb, displaying human indecisions and contradictions, but also the incredible firmness and resilience that a man can show when he finds himself involved in a situation infinitely greater than himself.
Dying embers instead he sets up a story with ethical and philosophical implications. I prefer not to make too many spoilers because I believe that most of all this story must be lived because of the ethical choices what we are called to do; just know that you will find yourself making (in no uncertain terms) decisions in which you will have to understand what defines theidentity of a people and a person, and what are the traces that are worth leaving in history (and yes, the capital S is wanted). Personally, one of the most intense stories that can be experienced pad in hand.
A gameplay that doesn’t feel at home …
For what concern gameplayThis War of Mine Final Cut obviously does not modify anything of the original, remaining a management in real time in which we will have to think not only of administering the few resources available to the survivors, but also of weaving and preserving human relationships that could prove crucial in the more advanced stages of the campaign. One more ally it will always be an excellent resource, but we cannot trust everyone regardless, we must therefore be able to weigh every single word of our interlocutors properly without being carried away by the emotions or events of the moment.
Regardless of the game mode selected, the days in the title will be divided into two distinct moments: day and night. The daytime hours will be dedicated to facility management where we find refuge, we will therefore have to find materials and resources in the immediate vicinity; with the favor of the darkness instead we will be able to decide whether to send a survivor to explore distant places to recover other resources, or to leave the survivors at rest or to take a watch to defend their belongings.
It goes without saying that the player must always be extremely attentive to resource management, since they will never be abundant, and indeed too much lightness could jeopardize the success of an entire run. This War of Mine Final Cut, however, takes care to meet even the players who are looking a more relaxed experience and they want to focus only on discovering the stories of the characters, each parameter relating to the difficulty will in fact be customizable to meet the needs of the players, thus significantly attenuating the level of challenge.
However, I recommend to players who want to fully experience the experience as it was designed by the developers of start with Stories mode. If the original experience opens from the very first bars to dozens of approaches by the players, the Stories proposed by the developers instead show a very precise writingwhich the developer can model, but not guide, in a sort of long tutorial that can then prepare us for the all-out war in the main campaign.
Although the game presents a touching and above average writing of several other productions, similar and not, and its gameplay is full of ideas and options to be calculated with caution, however, it is not exempt from defects. In particular, i commands have been clearly designed to be used on a PC with mouse and keyboard: especially in the presence of multiple scales and choices within the menus, it becomes really difficult to orient the controlled character towards the choice we want using the joystick, a situation unfortunately too much common and that very often leads to having to repeat the same action several times before being able to conclude it correctly.
Technical sector, a clear step forward!
I remember well that the original This War of Mine was among the first games I got for free via PlayStation Plus (we’re talking about 2016) and it impressed me with its minimal graphics, but effective. This re-edition, however, manages to clearly surpass a work that I had already appreciated years ago! The game backgrounds are more beautiful than ever, and are graced by an artistic direction that has decided to focus on sepia tones rendered with strokes that look like watercolor brush strokes; a decidedly apt choice that, especially in its colors, perfectly conveys the melancholy of the characters.
Also with regard to the sound sectorthe sounds will always be light and often give way to silences, in a game of harmonies which will often be interrupted by sudden noises like bombs and gunshots, unexpected events that can only increase the anguish of the players by interrupting intimate conversations and touching moments in front of which, in the chaos of conflict, one cannot stop.
Definitely, This War of Mine Final Cut it is obviously the best and most complete way ever to recover the work of 11 bit Studios. A title that presents an above average writing, capable of dealing with the drama of wareverything is then enriched by an excellent artistic direction and by a deep gameplay, albeit not without defects that betray the nature of a game mainly oriented to use via mouse and keyboard.