The original game was a gripping tale, but the remastered edition of this strategy title analyzes the toll of warfare so well that it's a must play for all gamers. This War of Mine: Final Cut is more than a simple visual upgrade or marketing spin on some play enhancements. It packs all of the downloadable content, which forces players to look at the extreme circumstances of Pogoren's war through different eyes. It's difficult and infuriating to see kids trapped in these dire straits, locked indoors for their safety because the war's raging around them. It's a tragedy that they're subjected to these circumstances instead of having a chance to grow up. Similarly, it's just as difficult to watch Livia, the new character, process her grief as a widow while at the same time trying to push on because she's expecting a baby. Past these characters and the heavy weight their shoulders are forced to carry, Final Cut brings the other DLC in as the Stories mode, self-contained short stories about a man's struggle to save his daughter, a radio operator's challenge to keep his listeners informed about what's going on in the city, or the preservation of cultural and religious artifacts during conflict. These are heartbreaking tales that have shocking, often painful twists, ones that will remain with the player for a while after they finish each tale.
In many ways, the Stories highlights a larger truth about the game itself: no one in the midst of war escapes unscathed. Do you share your medicine with your neighbors, even if it means that you might get sick and die at a later time? If you have to steal food to feed the people in your shelter, can you get over the moral anguish and depression of having to perform that deed? These questions don't have right or wrong answers, which increases the tension that you're under to hope that the choice you make works for those characters at that moment. Since Final Cut still doesn't include a tutorial to tell you what to do or how to best get started, you could be easily frustrated or lost in how to give your characters a chance to survive without a lot of trial and error. But it's worth fighting through this issue and this challenge; besides, there are people going through this in real war zones, trying to figure out how to survive with similar life or death decisions without a save file or restart available to them. The fact that Final Cut is being released as Eastern Europe is being gripped by war once again is only more pressing as to why gamers should check out This War of Mine: Final Cut. It reminds them that war isn't glamorous or something to eagerly engage in. it's the breakdown of civility between groups or nations, and often, it's the average citizen that pays the price.