This War of Mine | Nintendo Switch Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
This War of Mine is a survival-horror game developed and published by 11 Bit Studios and is available on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch, as well as on Android and iOS mobile devices. It was initially released in November 2014 on PC with the mobile ports arriving in 2015. An expansion pack titled The Little Ones was released on both the PlayStation 4 and XBox One in 2016 which was followed by This War of Mine: Complete Edition which was released on the Nintendo Switch in 2018. It is the complete edition of the game on the Nintendo Switch that I am reviewing for this blog post. As well as the main game including The Little Ones expansion pack, this Switch complete edition also contains additonal content in the form of Father's Promise, The Last Broadcast and Fading Embers DLC as well as a Scenario Editor which allows you to completely customise the game and characters to create an even more unique and personal playthrough of this wonderful little indie survival-horror game. So plenty of content included and plenty of value for money.
You start the game in a war torn city with 3 characters, and you have taken shelter in a badly damaged house. The house is fully explorable, and each floor can be accessed, with some early obstacles being locked doors or piles of rubbish. Locks can be picked and rubbish can be cleared, but you will first need to craft or scavenge picks and shovels. Scavenging happens at night when it's dark and safer, due to the high level of sniper activity in the city, and you get to select which of your 3 characters you want to scavenge with, while the remaining 2 are able to guard the safe house, or rest. They will all become tired and hungry over time, so you will need to manage all of this throughout the game, and decide who does what from the 3. Each of the characters in the game come with their own strengths and weaknesses, and you can check their bios in the game to find this information out. There are also details on each character throughout the game which shows current mood and health.
Early on I found I was upgrading my work stations as soon as I could, to give me access to better items needed for the game. The shovel does make moving piles of rubbish a lot quicker, as does lock picks or indeed crowbars for tackling locked doors and cupboards. A lot of the time there will be more items to scavenge in locked rooms, so it is best to make a few return trips to the same locations, just to be sure you have collected absolutely all of the items that you can. Also there is the threat that while you are out gathering and scavenging, your own safe house could fall under attack from others, and if your characters are weak or unarmed, then you can soon find that injuries and mood can play a part in trying to keep that overall balance between your characters, on top of the lack of sleep and food issues as well.
As the game progresses, each day advances, and you can skip each day forward to night time at any point in the day, resulting in you unlocking more buildings and locations on the map to explore. Once you have chosen who you want to be the scavenger on that particular night and have selected what items to take with you, the game then switches to that location on the map, and you are able to search through the building, collecting what you need from the area, while trying to avoid any dangers that you may encounter. The more you gather, the more you can craft back at the safe house. There will also be food and meds and other items such as cigarettes and bandages, which will be helpful throughout the game. Before dawn arrives, you will need to make sure you have made your way to the exit, to avoid the dangers of the snipers again, and you are able to leave at any point during the night, if you have collected everything that you can carry or have exhausted the location of all scavenging items. You then return back to the safe house and there is a recap of all the items collected.
The controls in This War of Mine are at first a little bit much, but you do soon get used to them. You can zoom in or out of the screen, which is really just down to preference and the layout of the controls on the Switch could not have been any better really in my opinion. You can switch between scavenge and combat modes and select each action on screen quickly. Everything on screen is laid out clearly and the menus for crafting are easy to understand.
There is a fair bit of background and bios on each character, and you will soon have your favourites among them and the ultimate goal in this game is to survive until the end of the war. Whether you can manage to succeed or not with this and with all 3 of your characters right to the end, well that is the whole survival aspect of the game really. Each time you do start a new game, there can be new characters, new locations and indeed a new safe house, so every game could be quite different, and that does add a lot of replay value to the game.
The 3 DLC Packs included are Father's Promise, The Last Broadcast and Fading Embers and you have the option in the main menu to play through these. There is also an Anniversary Edition option, which allows you to play with the new locations, characters and the ending that were included in the Anniversary Edition of the game that was released back in 2017.
The Scenario Editor allows you access to My Own Scenario setting and here you can create your own story, setting up the game your own way. Characters can be chosen from all of the available ones in the game, or you can design a completely new civilian with options for you to pick name, gender, occupation, portrait and physique, then adding the new character to the game. You can set the length of the game and the difficulty as well as the map locations.
Overall I think This War of Mine is a great addition to the survival genre and it is quite unique with the style of the gameplay, and the fact that you are playing from the point of view of the survivors of war. There is a lot of extra content included in this complete edition, and with so much replay value, and the ability to create your own characters and game with the editor, I would highly recommend it, especially as This War of Mine: Complete Edition is currently on offer on Nintendo Switch eShop for £3.59 which is 90% OFF the RRP (£35.99) until June 27th!
g1a5w3g1an's Rating: 4 out of 5.
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