[PlayStation 4] WARSAW Review
Warsaw is a turn-based strategy RPG from Crunching Koalas and Pixelated Milk that chronicles one of the harshest periods in Polandâ€™s history. Learn more in our Warsaw review!
In turn-based strategy RPG Warsaw from Crunching Koalas and Pixelated Milk, you will take on a game that chronicles one of the harshest periods in Polandâ€™s history: the Warsaw Uprising operation during World War II. Beautiful hand-drawn scenes add unexpected elegance to an otherwise bleak canvas that is war-torn Warsaw. The game tackles the weight of its setting head-on, and youâ€™ll be dealing with permadeath throughout the experience. If you thought losing units in other tactical games was tough, just wait to feel the weight of losing a beloved character to the horrors of the second world war. Are Warsawâ€™s themes, setting, and crushing difficulty enough to set it apart from other games in the genre?
The hub of the experience in Warsaw is the groupâ€™s Hideout. Itâ€™s here that you will prepare your scrappy resistance team for the next mission you will take on. You earn experience points while out in the field, and at the Hideout, youâ€™ll be able to use it as currency to unlock a plethora of upgrades for your characters. You can use the supplies youâ€™ve gathered to recruit new fighters to the resistance, which becomes a necessity if youâ€™ve lost any team members to the conflict. Tinkering with skills and equipment is standard fare in these kinds of games, but the player is really thrown off the deep end in Warsaw. Newcomers to the genre will not find much in terms of tutorials other than the basics, but experimenting with a variety of loadouts for your characters is one of the highlights of Warsaw.
Each mission in Warsaw drops the team youâ€™ve chosen into a thematic 2D map. You will need to manage your Action Points to ensure you have enough to complete the main mission objective. Objectives include things such as defeating X enemy units to discovering Y hidden caches, and the maps are packed with points of interest. These encounters could be an enemy patrol that will either require you to fight or to avoid from a safe distance with some sneaking around or non-combat encounters such as finding supply drops or taking on narrative-based events.
Managing your inventory becomes a mini-game in itself as you weigh your options as to what you should take with you and what must be left behind. The narrative-based events are definitely a highlight for the game. Each presents you with an impossible situation, with some brutally honest choices that would have to be made in wartimes. Some of these will rely on the attributes of your characters to determine your odds of success. This is heavily inspired by the depth of the gameplay system of RPGs, such as the beloved Dungeon and Dragons series, and I was pleasantly surprised to find this here.
Battles take place in a turn-based fashion. Your squad will face against a variety of German units as you trade blows in combat. Once you wrap your head around the combat basics and understand the intricacies of character buffs, healing, attacking, flanking, using barricades, and how unit placement is a very important element of Warsaw, combat is quite enjoyable – and incredibly difficult at times. Even though the game was originally released on PC, it controls really well on the PS4. If I didnâ€™t know that, I wouldâ€™ve thought the game was designed from the ground up for consoles. The one concern I had was that in combat, the grid wasnâ€™t entirely clear at first. Once I got the hang of it, combat was a breeze to control.
The Warsaw Uprising operation of 1944, which is the basis of this game, was a war of attrition. It makes sense that the game draws inspiration from this aspect of the source material. Resource management is a big part of this experience. Whether thatâ€™s watching over the morale in the districts of Warsaw, balancing your available resources, ammo, and the units youâ€™ll control, there is a lot to manage here. Youâ€™ll need to watch over everything if you want to survive!
Warsaw is brutally difficult, which makes sense based on the setting for the game due to its source material. The permadeath elements and depth of the combat systems will appeal to fans of tactical RPGs. While clearly inspired by its peers, Warsaw does a lot to set itself apart from other contemporaries in the genre by weaving a ruthless narrative through this war-torn gem of a game.
This Warsaw review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Crunching Koalas.