In 1944,the ending of the Second World War was imminent.The Nazis were weakening slowly and in the polish capital of german occupied Warsaw. The polish people were standing and putting up resistance in a desperate bid to save themselves and their country.
In the 63 days of the polish uprising,the object of the game is one of survival and desperation.
Can you forge a civilian team capable enough and strong enough to influence and promote the uprising and save the districts of Warsaw against insurmountable odds and overpowered German forces?
At the beginning,we are taken through a brief tutorial mission where the objective is to find the resistance headquarters in a place where flowers grow and the air is fresh…the city sewers!
Each mission occurs in a city district over a large map of Warsaw and on a zoomed in street map.Players are required to move a team counter through the streets where they may suddenly come across various points of interest. Foremost,there are dropped supply crates containing vital supplies like ammo,compasses and camouflage and flares.I mention these because every inch of movement is monitored by an AP points meter that depletes as soon as you move. If it hits 0 it’s mission over,requiring careful planning to reach objectives and a clever inability for players to want to “grind” every inch of the map for every item of supplies available.
Reach a supply box though and certain items used grant abilities for the duration of that map. Compasses slow the rate of AP used,allowing further movement and an increased opportunity to achieve your objectives. Flares highlight positions of nearby enemy outposts with camouflage allowing players to either walk through those areas undetected or confront force placements by ambushing them suddenly.
In between that,you may encounter “points of interest”that are story related and may either help or hinder. This could be a group in need of a supply donation like ammo.A civilian in need of rescue from enemy gunfire or even a civilian eager to join the uprising and your team.
Whatever you choose to do,these story situations have multiple choice answers with the right moral decision depending on the player and an answer possibly granting buffs like extra Xp for one of your team,supplies or a percentage bonus to your uprising meter.
Every district has an uprising percentage that must be maintained at a certain level and adds to the capitals overall uprising level. This is most certainly one of the most important aspects to consider and maintain. Once that starts dropping through mission failures and weak and incorrect planning,the less people are willing to join you and vitally,the greater the enemy stronghold and occupation of the city…districts go red and a full red map means ..”Game Over!”
This is probably the best point in the review to state that I will now use the “DD” reference. (No,not in the buxom polish lapdance sense) but from the game Darkest Dungeon.
A good majority of buyers will have noticed and recognised that when it comes to Warsaw’s combat and combat system,that this could almost be Darkest Dungeons twin in terms of looks and playability.
This is more or less true in every sense in terms of turn based movement,combat and even the same “zoomed in”combat screen as bullets fly and connect.
For those not familiar,enemy confrontation is best avoided but sadly inevitable for the most part of this game. A vastly underpowered civilian team against a greater number of well armed German soldiers carries massive risk with death just around the corner in most situations,but there is hope and possible victory against the odds.
Each team member has one turn to perform an action. Whether it’s to move to available cover,better position or fire a weapon or heal a member. Each phase carries one turn for each member with actions carried out and then turns pass to the enemy.
Unlike DD,there are no afflictions to take into account for starters but the vast difference in your teams limited firepower against the enemies,forces players to take more tactical and strategic actions. Against a rocket launcher or tank,positioning correctly is vital and with this game,buffs and debuffs like taunt to reposition the enemy or bleed to slowly drain the life force of the opposition,could potentially swing the odds in your favour and win the battle.
At the headquarters,the screen is divided into various rooms. Here,players can recruit new members.Gain supplies for the next mission and plan strategies by studying the codex book or place injured colleagues with the nurse in the medic room.
Again,players who have played DD will notice its similarity with the games “town”setting and the various areas of interest and help.
In Warsaw,this is noticeably more simpler and less involved and players may have to spend a lot of time “passing days”to allow supplies to build and crew to heal but in this game,recruits are drastically weaker than your main characters than you get at the start and through story interactions. At least in DD,you could theoretically build a new member with a good chance of survival in weaker dungeon settings. Here,you can get heavily penalised and punished,should your main heroes die in battle and you’re reliant on new recruits with lower abilities and energy to replace them.
The artwork is very very similar to DD and the doom and gloom characterisation and cutscenes in battle are inseparable. Bullets fly through german bodies the same as swords through demonic warriors with the same darkened palette of colours.
Sound is very atmospheric with a dark foreboding military score in non combat screens and main hub and combat carries the bullet sounds and soldier cries you would expect,as each civilian encounters the formidable enemy.
There is a decent game here,as days pass and you start to settle and adjust to planning,map movement and combat but the overall aesthetic of overbearing oppression can have positives and negatives. Opinion would suggest that this is mainly a DD clone and a more simplified one at that,but that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Without the affliction traits to worry about,this has the potential to be a decent “filler”title to play DD at a later time or to pair in your library and seek Warsaw as a kind of respite title in between the two. Not suggesting that Warsaw is any easier though!
You have a choice of three skill levels and even on normal setting the oppression and difficulty could turn new players off. The game doesn’t try to make any of your game time any fun at all at the price of simulating realism. This is war and war at a time of much poverty,despair and depression. This is perfectly replicated but at most times unforgiving for most,and one tactical mistake could ruin and diminish the whole campaign as you slide and the uprising slowly diminishes.
On a performance level,there are times I encountered a puzzling freeze bug on various screens. I found that in combat,there were times I was unable to select certain team members and was literally stuck in limbo and unable to progress without restarting the game.
On the headquarters hub screen,I had to press ZR and ZL to pick the characters in the menu underneath because I was unable to just move the stick and highlight the characters on screen and the biggest drawback…on a story multiple choice answer screen,I was unable to pick the answer I wanted as selecting it brought up a black centre bar on screen,forcing me to pick the negative alternate answer!
Luckily,it auto saves regularly but this is no real solution to minor problems that really need addressing in future updates/patches,as it can be off putting and stem the flow and “enjoyment” of this title.
Overall,this is a quality game that’s a little rough around the edges on first release at the moment. On the original switch,the text is a little too small to read at times but passable.
I’m not sure whether the additional DLC of the other console versions is included here or will be at a later date. The 63 days included,certainly make a substantial base game and those that have played DD beforehand will certainly have an 80% head start and immediately know what to expect here.
For the others,it may seem a little too much for novice players to get their heads around…
Warsaw is certainly not an eye saw!
Thanks to Crunching Koalas for the review code.