To be honest, We. The Revolution isn’t quite my usual style of game. It’s a lot more strategy than I’m used to, with a heavy focus on micromanaging your reputation and other small details. In fact, We. The Revolution has a lot of moving parts and pieces to it – so many that I lost track a little bit through the tutorial and just kind of winged it as I played.
We. The Revolution puts the player in the place of a Revolutionary tribunal judge in France. An alcoholic and gambler, you begin with rumors and your family relations stacked against you. It will be your job to manage handling rumors, your position, and your family.
The majority of your gameplay at first will take place in the courtroom. Each case is given to you with fairly little evidence. Sometimes the testimonies are damning. Sometimes they’re rather nebulous. To complicate things, you have to be able to ask the right questions – and you only get so many chances to figure out what those questions should be. At the beginning of each trial, you’ll be given a number of topics, and tasked with connecting those to the case. What’s the potential motive? Who was the accuser? Sometimes it’s easy enough to figure out when something is part of the timeline of events or who the accusation came from. Other times it’s surprisingly difficult to figure out why something matters. Once you’re out of chances, that’s it. You’re stuck with the questions that you’ve unlocked, and you’ll have to base your report and verdict off the answers to those. Your verdict will reflect back on you in the eyes of the common folk and the revolutionaries.
After each trial, you’ll have a choice of how to spend your evening. Will you prepare for trial? Spend time with your children? Your wife never seems to be pleased with you no matter what you do – will your family fall apart? Meanwhile, the increasing bloodshed and violence of the revolution is shown in short cutscenes between acts.
As the game moves on, you get even more pieces to keep track of – extend your influence throughout Paris, while keeping your family safe and yourself in their good graces.
It’s a fascinating perspective, that lets you experience history through a man who is somewhat on the sidelines, but deeply involved in the revolution. The game gives hints as to what commoners and revolutionaries expect for a verdict, and you’re able to get a small glimpse into what the fallout might look like. Quite often though I was surprised to see how my choices reflected on me, and the tension I accidentally created. More than once I found myself choosing a verdict based on what I thought my image required – a rather disturbing realization, to be honest. For this, I really appreciated the position We. The Revolution put me in – it was both depressing and fascinating at times. It was also frightening – I go into games blind, so I had no idea if I was moving myself toward simply embarrassment, or an early death.
At times I did feel like things were moving a little slowly, but I think that was less a fault with the game and more that I’m not the general audience. Overall, I think that strategy game lovers will enjoy this one – the historical background is exciting, engaging, and puts players in the interesting position of making judgement calls, instead of having an outright right or wrong answer. For someone who likes managing stats and options, there’s a lot to do and the revolving door of choices, events, and cases keeps things from getting boring.
Additionally, We. The Revolution boasts a surprising art style, almost reminiscent of stained glass. It’s fun to look at, and provides some amazing visuals (blood on the guillotine was surprisingly one of my favourite images). It also boasts some excellent voice acting in cutscenes, though I wish there were more music or background noise – at the beginning I actually double-checked that I didn’t have things turned down or muted.
If you like political intrigue and very little hand-holding in your games, We. The Revolution might be a great choice for you. It’s high on strategy and you’ll have the chance to make some true organic decisions. It’s worth it for that first time you have to ask yourself – do you behead someone you think is innocent, only because if you don’t, the people will turn against you? You can pick up this historical adventure for PC, PS4, or Xbox1.