“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” – Ernest Hemingway
Much like the quote above, This War of Mine by developer 11 bit studios is the perfect example of what it means to give a player a rich experience that must be had by using the bare minimum. There is no fast paced run and gunning action, there is no abundance of supplies, and because of this the experience itself is stripped down to something that is powerful and more than anything else, raw. There aren’t many opportunities for dwelling on the past or what’s missing, there is only moments that stand between the featured characters and their survival or demise.
The latest DLC Fading Embers continues on with the concept of the original game, giving the player a story that looks through the eyes of someone who has struggled and suffered but persists nonetheless.
The game does well in the areas of drawing on empathy, using planned moments, heightened music which is intertwined with ambiance and the players emotions to push the games progression forward. I think what really stands out about this game is that the characters are relatable, we want them to be okay, we want them to survive, but the fact that there is always the risk of death looming over them if the player doesn’t make the correct moves, makes the experience much more intense.
It pulls from real life factoring in elements that if not tended too would result in our own demise. If the character doesn’t eat, they die. If they get sick and don’t take the necessary medication to treat it, they die, and these are just a few things, the rabbit hole goes so much deeper also factoring in things like sadness, depression and at the ultimate stage, being broken. It’s in this part of the game that by adding in these real life scenarios, the developers have creating a simulation of not only survival but also of how we as humans would have to react in real life, in order to survive.
Anja, the main character which you play is a victim of war violence and because of that is also an orphan. What’s left of her family home exists in art relics that have belonged to her family and memories that once brought rich joy. The relics are also attached to the history embedded within the game and as such, you can really feel the weight of their importance because of that and, they help to paint a picture of the world as it was before the war.
This was one of my favorite pieces factored into the game because sometimes a title might have all the shiny elements on the outside but they may lack that substance that truly work to create the world. Fading Embers most certainly did NOT lack substance, it was full, somber and an emotional experience as well.
11 bit studios really knocked the title out of the park, all the elements come together with a harmonious flow and as the characters struggle to survive, the way the game is really, makes it so you can not only understand their pain but feel it as your own.
Because of this, I have to say that this any many other reasons that I have listed above, it is an outstanding piece of DLC and only works as a further compliment to the original stand alone game.