Content of the article: "We. The Revolution – great idea for a game, but terrible execution"
I was interested in We. The Revolution for quite some time. It looked great on paper, a "Papers Please" idea turned up a notch, placed in revolutionary France. Finally I bought it a few weeks ago and finished today – it's a rather short game, you can finish it in 10h. Further text will contain MAJOR spoilers. I have few issues with this game that I'm going to mention.
RNG, RNG and more RNG
During game one of side mechanics is about fighting for a control of Paris. You have 3 different agents and you can send them to perform some actions in Paris, to fight enemy's agents and to capture zones. Agent vs Agent fights are 100% unpredictable. Many times my diplomat (that according to game is terrible at fighting) won against enemy Muscle while my Muscle (that according to game is great at fighting) lost against enemy Diplomat.
One of major game mechanics are intrigues, they are quite nice and interesting but again based on RNG. You can do everything right, pick the option that will give you the highest chance of success but still fail this part of intrigue because RNG decided that despite 90% success chance you failed anyway. However it's still extremely hard to lose intrigue, I had all intrigues on perfect score (Perfect intrigue) because you get many chances to succeed. Also Intrigues are ultimately pointless. I started a second play-trough and I don't really see differences if I pick other options than during my first play-trough. Final outcome is still same.
Even though the game pretends your choices matter – they usually do not. In normal day to day court cases it doesn't matter what you do at all. You can and should decide what sentence you want to give before you even start asking questions to the accused. You want to exculpate them? Just ask only questions that will convince the jury they are innocent – these questions are marked with a dove. Want to behead them on a guillotine? Just ask questions with the guillotine icon. Want to sentence them to jail time? Ask a mix of both to set the jury in the middle of the displayed meter.
Game have a few major plot points that will happen no matter what you do. Your decisions ultimately don't matter Your younger son will always die. Your older son will always lose one hand – it's scripted that Bruno will always win one round! Your wife will always hate you and stab you. You can't "win" the 3rd act, you will always lose and Napoleon will always rise to power. What's the point then? Beauty of Papers Please was that you actually had a major impact on story and ending. In We. The Revolution you don't.
Another thing at one point your two allies are charged with some crimes as Robespierre wants them dead. You can pick to be a judge on the hearing of one of them, but not both. Game literally tells you that only one of them can be saved. And this choice doesn't matter. If you decide to be a judge on Danton's hearing then you can save him. Other guy gets guillotined. If you decide to be a judge on second's guy hearing you can save him, but he will flee Paris and you won't hear from him. Danton will survive the process somehow. So even though game pretends to give you a choice it doesn't matter, Danton will stay and another guy is eliminated.
Poor story and cartoon characters
The story starts nice, but quickly goes down. Your brother appearing out of nowhere and revealing he is behind all the plots against you. He is the one who planned the death of your son. He is the one who turned you against other prominent figures in Paris and them against you. He is the one who planned your "downfall". Now he wants revenge on you. Revenge on people of Paris. Revenge he planned for years! Somehow homeless man managed to gather army and managed to manipulate all important people in Paris. How?! He won't believe anything, he won't care, he wants blood. This is some cartoon plot. At top of that you get these extremely stereotypical characters with no depth. You wife just blames you for everything bad that happens. Your older son just hates you because of all the pain you caused (even if you didn't). Your younger son just loves you boundlessly. Your father loves you, but doesn't show it much, he is also hiding a secret.
You make some decisions, people claim you will need to pay debt to them for their favors but you never do. Game just starts some plot and forgets about it instantly unless it's an intrigue related plot.
Unnecessary and annoying mechanics
There's this fight over Paris – literally serves no purpose. You win and control it all? Changes nothing.
There's a statue you need to build, there are some controls that check progress. Never cared about it and all went fine. This statue is just an attempt to force you to fight over control of Paris as taking over next zones will speed up work on the statue.
Buildings you unlock. Half of them give bonuses to fight over Paris mechanics, never used them, never needed. Another one makes hearings easier as it can for example get rid of reports you need to fill at the end of each hearing. Questions on the report are so simple you don't need it. Last one gives some small bonus to family relations. Also they all use influence points and trust me, there are much more important things to spend them on.
Battle minigame – the whole third act is based around it. It's bad, it's boring.
We. The Revolution is a game that's supposed to focus on story and on your decisions. Ultimately the story is a let down, especially ending and "twist" just before it. Ultimately your decisions don't matter much, just keep people, aristocrats and revolutionaries happy so they don't get rid of you. Game is also muddled with some useless side mechanics that are just annoying especially after some time. First act is actually mostly good, the second act is meh and the third act is just a chore. Big let down for me.
- Is it ok to make a battle that my players have to lose?
- What are some prerequisites to win a game?
- It is an honour to serve
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