Quite frankly, it’s a shame that This War of Mine isn’t higher on our list, simply because there isn’t a single game that came out this year that can hold a candle to it story-wise. Taking place in the middle of an ongoing civil war, your job is to help a team of survivors survive, no matter the cost. You’ll be dragged, kicking and screaming if necessary, towards an ambiguous finish line as you consistently are met head on with choices to make.
Choices that don’t have a right or wrong answer most of the time, and more often than not lead to two wrong options, but choices that you can honestly imagine people frantically scratching and clawing their way through a complete hell would be faced with. If I steal the old lady’s medicine, I can keep one of my team alive for a few more days, but she’ll undoubtedly die. On top of that, now my guys have to live with the fact that they allowed themselves to devolve into this type of behavior when they were so sure that the end of the war was right around the corner, and humanity was going to win out.
This War of Mine plays out closer to The Sims here, but it’s the emotion that sells the game. It’s not a happy title, and it’s not even necessarily a “fun” one all the time, but it’s something that forces you to come face to face with the harsh realities of war and realize that the whole “right and wrong” paradigm is a lot more complicated than that.
You know the second you start playing that things aren’t going to go to plan. You know it’s going to get ugly, but you have to see how ugly. Moreover, you have to see if you’re stronger than the war around you. And that’s exactly why this should be considered one of the very few “must play” games this year.