This War of Mine: Survival Horror With People as the Monsters
Afterward, he returned to the house and gave the medicine to the ill member of his own party. However, here I saw how such decisions will play out. Every choice you make can potentially lead you into danger, but it will also take a toll. Survivor emotional state is as important a mechanic as health, and so it was the the survivor who robbed and murdered to save his friend was wracked with guilt over what he had done. When my guide attempted to order him to build a makeshift bed, the character threw up his hands and cried out (paraphrasing) “what’s the damn point? We’re all going to die anyway.” While the guide was able to get the character to complete the action after ordering him a second time, I was told eventually your survivors will shut down, which means it’s important to be aware of the ratio of horrors to relative normality you subject them too.
The final portion of the demo saw the survivor who robbed and murdered get his comeuppance. Sent out to scavenge for more supplies, he came across two other survivors who happened to be armed with firearms. While he attempted to hide from them in the ruins of a building, they shot at him, injuring him, then forced him back to his base of operations where, the game informed us, they robbed the player-controlled survivors of significant resources, including remaining medicine.
This is dark stuff to be sure, and no doubt this game won’t be the first and last thing you’ll want to do for weeks straight. But, at the risk of sounding pretentious, this is important. Most games offer casual escapism. Even games that seek to rise above mere escapism tend to offer wish fulfillment or fantasy problem solving – you, the player, are generally the hero of a story with considerable skilled advantages, even if you must go through terrors. Not so here, where you are, in essence, imagining what it would be like if you – the real you, reading this article right now, not the fantasy version of yourself – were suddenly dropped into hell on earth. It’s a stunning antidote to endless COD clones and zombie apocalypse games in which the killing is the goal rather than the thing to avoid at all costs.
It should be noted that This War Of Mine is NOT finished, and some elements may end up being changed. However, I was told the game will be out later this year, with press builds and a beta launching soon. Even in this incomplete state I was riveted by what I saw. It might not be the flashiest or funniest or most eye popping game at E3, but I think it might have been the closest anyone there came to seeing real, difficult art. I can’t wait to play the final game.
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Ross Lincoln is senior editor of Comics and Cosplay at The Escapist. Find more of his GameFront work here, his Escapist work here, and follow him and GameFront on Twitter: @rossalincoln and @gamefrontcom.