They say that war never changes. But thankfully, the way it’s portrayed does. Developed by the Polish studio Pixelated Milk, the studio responsible for the amazing Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, and published by Crunching Koalas, Warsaw Console Edition is a turn-based tactical RPG that places you during one of the darkest moments of mankind. First released in 2019 for PCs, the game now makes its debut in consoles. In the game, you will control the Polish Uprising against the Nazi occupation of Poland during WW2. Although we know the unfortunate destiny of this resistance, it won’t prevent you from fighting for a better outcome in this battle.
Controlling members of this the Uprising, you will confront the Nazi troops, recruit new members for the resistance, look for resources, loot and salvage whatever you can find in the ruined districts of the city, and deal with morale and attrition between the population. And to guide you in this mission, check our review to know all the secrets of these dangerous streets and help the Uprising survive!
What we liked!
- Visuals: Although the sad and heavy ambiance of the game, Warsaw brings an incredible representation of such difficult times. Its beautiful 2D scenarios in sober colors have a remarkable level of detail. Their pastel tones contrast with colorful and vibrant characters, creating an interesting effect. All characters, allies and enemies, have beautiful models, showing a lot of love and dedication from its designers to this project. You will be so impressed by these elements that you won’t even notice the game has no animations at all – and no, those close-ups during combat don’t count as animations.
- Gameplay: Warsaw combines three different gameplay moments to deliver a complex and still interesting gameplay. The combination and interconnections between them make this game an experience I have never had before. Now let us check each one of them and see what is so special about them.
- Exploring the city: The first one, with a bird view, where you control your troops through the streets of Warsaw. From this perspective, you will be able to explore the city to conduct missions and search for loot. But be careful: Nazi squads can be found after every corner! So, it’s up to you to avoid or to confront them and free each district from their occupation. Just remember that, as your movement consumes action points (AP) and these same AP are limited, first focus on the main goals before you start exploring the city after loot. In these missions, you can also find random events where you can help survivors in need, investigate ruins, collapsed buildings and more. In these events, you can find resources, ammo, weapons, and other resources. By the end of each mission, you will also have similar events that can help increase (or decrease) the morale of your movement and new members can join your insurgency.
- Engaging the enemy: The second gameplay moment takes place when you find (or gets into the line of sight) of Nazi troops and a battle starts. The battles in this game are pure strategy and this is going to be the line to define if this is a game for you or not. The battle system is very original, even though some elements reminded me of Red Hook Studios’ Darkest Dungeon: On one side, you will position your troops in two rows of four slots each, with one soldier occupying one of these slots. Your team and the enemy team take actions, one after the other, in a total of four rounds per turn – it doesn’t matter if one of the teams has more or less than four members. The catch is that each soldier has only three AP and your actions can consume more than one AP. You can, for instance, do 3 actions that cost one AP each with one of the insurgents, saving the AP of other soldiers for the next turn – just remember they all recover one AP per turn. ‘And where is the strategy here?’, you ask me. Well, the less available AP your soldier has, the worse his/her statuses are, making it much more difficult to land a hit or to dodge enemy attacks. So finding this balance between saving your AP for a more expensive attack or going all out to finish all enemies in a single turn – and become vulnerable if you fail – will require some serious thinking – especially because permadeath is a constant concern in this adventure.
- Managing your uprising: Finally, the third and final gameplay element of Warsaw is your hideout, the base of operations for the insurgents. There you can recruit new members, manage your inventory, treat wounded soldiers, unlock new skills, repair guns, and buy items for your missions. The currency used here is the resources you can find while carrying out the missions, but as they are very rare, you better do only what’s utmost necessary for your progress. In the hideout, you also have access to a codex that catalog information about every enemy and every piece of equipment you find. There is also a morgue that keeps a record of your fallen members and the war room, where you can select your next mission and dispatch your troops.
- Take aim! The actions your characters have available will partially depend on what equipment they are carrying. This is an interesting aspect of its gameplay because sometimes you will stick to a weaker weapon to keep their useful skills. But ‘partially’ because each one of them also has a set of skills and perks that can be learned and equipped while in your hideout. Some attacks can have status effects like burning, blindness, bleeding or suppression, playing a key role in your strategy!
- Ranks with personality: One characteristic that surprised me is that your troops – the main characters, be warned, not the random ones you can summon in your hideout – all have a story to tell. From the farmer who has never wielded a gun to the scoundrel who lied on his lies, all of them joined your ranks for a reason – and the more you use them in missions, the more you will get to know them. It gives an impressive level of profundity into the lives of those involved in the Uprising. And knowing this game was developed by a Polish studio, it would not surprise me if all those stories are based on real-life stories, from real insurgents from the WW2. A nice touch to this already amazing game!
- Sounds of war: The sound in Warsaw, both music and the sound effects, is amazing! With some exceptionally good tracks – especially the one that plays when in your hideout… loved that song – your adventure will be accompanied by charming and touching melodies. The sound effects, mostly present during the combat, is also outstanding! Each different gun has its sound, giving them a welcome personality.
What we disliked
- Hard to get into: I am not lying to you. I had a tough time getting the grip of this game. Even though there is a tutorial and many in-game guides accessible by the press of a button, it is complex to understand all functions, roles, and elements of its gameplay. Only after the third or fourth mission, after some hard-to-accept casualties and dispended resources, I started getting the grips of the game.
- Repetition: Even though there are so many things to do in this game and so many things happening, the feeling of repetition will soon start to knock on your door.
Even though it won’t be a title for every game out there, Warsaw Console Edition is an amazing experience, so full of content and with so much depth! While also being an homage to all those who fought against the Nazi forces, the game is a must-have for fans of strategic combat and resources management! If you fit in one of these segments – or even is even remotely curious to check this title – check this title. Save some time to learn its complex gameplay mechanics and get into this uprising!
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.