This War of Mine

I’ve been playing This War of Mine: Final Cut recently. Believe it or not, despite my love for the survival genre, this is my first time ever experiencing this great game. I’ve danced around it a few times; I even mulled it over back when Half-Glass Gaming’s Josh mentioned it on an episode of the old podcast. But it wasn’t until I was given a review code for the Complete Edition that I finally settled into this gut-wrenching yet rousing little survival game. 

And now that I’ve spent several hours playing both the main survival campaign and some of the smaller War Stories, I have a pretty firm grasp on not only what makes This War of Mine special, but also what makes it tick. And even though This War of Mine is a solid survival game with clear-cut systems, its challenge has less to do with its survival mechanics and more to do with the rigid ruleset for how one actually survives in the game.

You spend your days in your shelter. This is when you can eat, craft, or upgrade your various work stations (or even the base overall). You can also choose to sleep during the day, which is a great way to offset running one of your survivors ragged if they spend most of their nights either guarding your shelter or sourcing materials to stay alive. You will occasionally get random visits from folks looking to trade or asking for help — sometimes they need medicine or food, or maybe they need help boarding up their shelter. 

This War of Mine

Once night falls, you can go out and find food, medicine, weapons, or building materials. This requires a little reconnaissance — you’ll need some foresight in choosing the right gear while leaving enough room in your inventory to make the run successful. This can be a crapshoot if you are visiting a new area for the first time. It’s usually best in these scenarios to go in with no gear, in the hopes of loading up on as many supplies as humanly possible. If you come across a locked room, or a grate that requires a saw, you can also make a note and come back, especially if there are too many valuable items for you to carry in one visit. 

It’s better to not get loaded down with lockpicks, saws, or shovels, only to find you don’t need any of them. I find that prioritizing food and medicine tends to work pretty well, unless you are actively looking for specific building materials to, say, upgrade your crafting or cooking station. Leave the shell casings, gunpowder, fertilizer, and cigarette ingredients for later on when you can actually make use of them. 

And once you find (or craft) an axe, you can break down furniture for wood to build with, and to make kindling for your stove. Considering you can only carry two wood in every one inventory slot, stocking up on wood can really limit the number of other items you can carry.

This War of Mine

Water is also useful to scavenge early one, but once you can make a water collection station (as well as the filters needed to make potable water), you will soon have more water than you’ll know what to do with. And thankfully your base inventory seems to be practically limitless, although I have yet to max it out to say for sure if there is a cap limit or not. 

Ultimately, This War of Mine comes down to managing your exhaustion and hunger more than anything else. You can pretty much take as many days as you would like in order to source materials and build up your base and arsenal, and since survival is the name of the game, this ultimately works in your favor. It’s worth noting that, as far as I can tell, you can only consume food at your base by either eating canned or uncooked food from your refrigerator or food you cook on your stovetop; you cannot eat it directly from your pack after finding it in the field. So you should always make sure you eat when you can and avoid getting too hungry while also too exhausted.

In my experience, food is the most important resource and meter to mind, hands down. It can also be the scarcest resource to find at times. Making that your number-one priority is gonna go a long way to lasting out the occupation of your city in this war of, well, yours.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for This War of Mine: Complete Edition for PS5, which includes This War of Mine: Final Cut, as well as the All Expansions pack. The opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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