This War of Mine: Final Cut [PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X/S, PC]
Developer: 11 bit studios
Publisher: 11bit studios
Released: May 10, 2022
It’s hard to believe it’s already been over seven-and-a-half years since This War of Mine first released.
The indie title from developer and publisher 11 bit studios wowed gamers and critics alike when it first released for PC on November 2014.
It won over a new set of gamers when it finally came to PS4 and Xbox One with the expansion This War of Mine: The Little Ones in January 2016. And again with This War of Mine: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch back in 2018.
Across all of its platforms, including an Android and iOS port, the game had sold over seven million units worldwide. It has been a big commercial and critical success.
Now, This War of Mine has come to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S with This War of Mine: Final Cut.
This War of Mine: Final Cut brings 4K visuals, an improved UI, remastered locations, new quests and events, and includes the Anniversary Edition which added three new locations, new NPC’s, a new scenario, and a new playable character.
You can also spring for the Complete Edition to get that, the Little Ones DLC and the Stories DLC.
War games have dominated the industry for decades now. People love virtual warfare, usually in the form of a first person shooter. In those games, you go out as a solider and mow hundreds and hundreds of enemies.
And that’s certainly fun. There’s a reason Call of Duty and Battlefield have been so popular for so long.
This War of Mine is not that kind of war game. It’s the anti-war game.
You’re not a soldier, not a hero. You’re not super skilled mowing down the enemy spreading freedom or whatever the case may be.
Instead, This War of Mine has you playing as a group of civilian survivors in a 2.5D space. You’re just trying to survive in the fictional war-torn, besieged city of Pogoren located in the fictional country Graznavia.
It’s something many of us don’t think about whenever there’s a real war going on somewhere. Like that waged in the Middle East for decades or currently in Ukraine.
You’re not jumping in the car and casually going to the grocery store to get food or medicine. They’ve been bombed, they’re empty, or whatever.
So as a person trying to survive in a city with a war tearing it apart, you’re going to need to scavenge for supplies; food, medicine, water, fuel, wood, and other materials. Some are necessary for your wellbeing, others are more luxury that will just make things easier for you and your group.
Long Days, Hard Nights
There are two gameplay mechanics in This War of Mine.
During the daytime hours, your group members are confined to your shelter due snipers outside. So during the day, your spending your time managing your group and taking care of shelter activities.
This is the time to feed or give medicine to survivors who need it most. It’s also the time to make improvements to the shelter, build beds, cook food, and so on. Occasionally, there’ll be survivors from other groups that you can trade with or they’ll ask for shelter and join the group (up to four total members at a time).
At night, the “fun” begins.
You’ll pick of a member of the group to go out and scavenge. You’ll control that person in whatever location you pick to scavenge. While scavenging, you’ll want to grab as much supplies as you can, grabbing the necessities before anything else, and hopefully while avoiding members from other groups.
You can get into combat, but unless you’ve crafted a weapon and no what you’re up against, it isn’t the best course of action. You’re already potentially robbing from other desperate people, do you really want to kill that old dude while he steal his stuff too? Stealth is the best approach, for both your physical and mental wellbeing.
While you’re out scavenging, hopefully you’ve made sure to select a member of the group to guard the shelter. Eventually, you’ll want to give the guard a weapon of some sort. The guard will hopefully prevent stuff from being stolen, but keep in mind they’re likely to be wounded (even severely) if someone comes snooping around.
Night is also the time to let someone sleep. The group gets tired, hungry, sick and various stages of mental problems, so you’re going to want to juggle all of that the best you can with the supplies you have. Probably not the best idea to send the very sick, wounded, extremely tired and hungry person out to scavenge.
Survival Isn’t Easy (or Fun)
This War of Mine is great and a lot of other things, but it isn’t fun to play.
If survival and time/item/people management is your thing, you’ll love it. But it still won’t be fun to actually play. That’s not a knock on the game, it’s not designed to be fun.
Like war, it’s a miserable time.
There will be times when you won’t have the supplies to keep everyone in the group somewhat content, health and fed. Someone is going to get very tired, very hungry, very sick. Someone’s going to die, probably despite your best efforts.
And you’re going to have to make the decision should you spend supplies trying to prevent that death, or do you think the small group would be better off in the long run without that person?
There are no right decisions, it is war and survival after all. But those decisions, even in a game where the point is survival (and you don’t have a character, you can control all group members), aren’t easy or fun to make.
You’ll make decisions and then feel bad about it.
Ultimately, it’s not about the whole group surviving. You just need one person to survive to not “lose.”
This War of Mine: The Final Cut Review Final Thoughts
This War of Mine isn’t an easy game, especially if you aren’t good at multitasking or management. If you stick to the classic mode, it’s also random each time you play it. The war could last different amounts of time, one play through might be significantly more brutal or violent than another one.
The randomness aspect of course makes it infinitely replayable. It’s been almost eight years since first release, and people are still playing it and loving it. It’s especially timely now, as a gaming reminder of how hellish war is.
This War of Mine shows us that there is no bystander in war. While you may not be a soldier on the frontlines, you’re still in the thick of it trying to survive. That means doing what it takes to survive, and that may mean tossing your morality out the window.
For more replay, the game offers up a custom scenario mode. This allows you to choose up to four people to start with; men, women, and children (a few family options). You can choose how long the war will last (20 to 80 days) and the intensity of the conflict (low, moderate, high). You can pick when winter comes, how harsh it is, and how long it last. And finally, you can customize the map by selecting at least eight locations to scavenge at night.
There’s a lot to the game, and it’s all good. I only have one complaint with it, and that’s the controls can be a little annoying (almost floaty). That aside, it’s a great game that everyone should play at least a little. A timely and harsh reminder that war is especially hell for those caught in the middle of it.
This War of Mine: Final Cut is available for $19.99 on PlayStation 5 ($26.99 for the Complete Edition) and is included in Xbox Game Pass on Xbox Series X/S.
This War of Mine: Final Cut gets a four out of five: GREAT
A digital PSN code was provided by the publisher for review.