Saturday, 13 February 2016

This War of Mine: The Little Ones

War is really f*cked up. We've all played countless games of you being the heroes, moving from city to city to secure it form the enemy and be hailed a hero. But what about those that aren't fighting soldiers? The only fight they face is survival. This War of Mine: The Little Ones focuses on those that are left in the warzone with very little, if nothing, to defend themselves with and with nowhere to go, they can only survive in the rubble and decimation. This isn't a game to mindlessly play. It's a very affecting game that focuses on the things we seem to forget about war: The innocents.

Developed by 11 Bit Studios and out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, This War of Mine: The Little Ones is hard. Not in the typical sense however. You won't be wrestling the controls for button combos are running form cover to cover to headshot enemies. It's hard in the mental sense as your own morality is really tested.

The game controls like a strategy game, telling your characters where to go and what to do. Think of it all as a game of The Sims except it's in a 2D plane and the world is f*cked. It's all pretty straight forward but almost every action has a consequence. The game begins with three players that you control all held up in a decrepit building. Each of the characters have traits and problems. You must survive in this world by upgrading parts of the house, building, scavenging, and maintaining. It's just not that easy though. Everything in This War of Mine: The Little Ones is limited. You need to cook, scavenge, and look after the people in the residence.

During the day, it's important to cook, upgrade, and make sure everyone is healthy. During the night though, it's time to head out and let someone rest. Scavenging for resources, food, and weapons is the toughest part of the game. You must carefully enter a building, search for what you want and need and hopefully get out without being spotted. The only thing is that you don't know what's waiting for you on the other side.

You may encounter people with weapons which you feel like you're evening the odds by taking their stuff, but sometimes you'll encounter an elderly couple, or a sick person with supplies. This is where morality comes in and you'll quickly feel yourself trying to reason your actions but you'll feel like shit most of the time. One of your survivors may need medical help and you come across some supplies in a place with a person that seems healthy so you reason with yourself about taking it because you need it and they don't. You may return though a couple of days later and they'll be dead, succumbing to wounds that needed attention. You taking their medical supplies killed them. Same case for taking food from the elderly, you can't help but feel like shit.

And your characters feel it too. Should they become too depressed, they will kill themselves. There are very few happy moments in This War of Mine. The only real joy comes from the children you come across. They draw on the walls and in your residence they skip around singing, bringing that innocence and happiness that just doesn't exist in the world. They are a stark contrast to the mute adults that lack any real personality. Should you not look after them or they get hurt, services will come and take them away (they cannot be killed) and it makes a huge difference when they go. The hollowness and emptiness of what's left in the world is more prominent than ever.

This War of Mine: The Little Ones proves that war really is hell. 5/5.


 Jason Redmond

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