Warsaw

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Warsaw Game Poster Image
Emotional take on one of WWII's biggest losses.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

While many fictional story elements exist, the game follows the historic and tragic events of the Warsaw Uprising of WWII, the largest European resistance effort of the war.

Positive Messages

The game, much like the actual Warsaw Uprising, brings together people from all walks of life for the purpose of a singular goal. Strong messages of teamwork, sense of duty, morality, all of which can come into question based on player's choices throughout the campaign.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters players bring to battle aren't necessarily soldiers by trade, but rather fighters by circumstance. They have their backs against the wall, fighting for their families, friends, homes, and their lives. Morally speaking, they run the spectrum, and some may still choose to be more morally ambiguous than others.

Ease of Play

Requires a lot of micro- and macro-management, with players watching things like ammo supplies for individual fire teams as well as larger-scale issues like overall morale. Choices made during exploration can have major unexpected consequences, both in individual battles and on the resistance movement as a whole.

Violence

Even with its hand-drawn art style, the game is presented in a dark and gritty fashion that doesn't shy away from its portrayal of brutality of war. Constant sprays of blood, characters getting burned alive with flamethrowers, other graphic scenes of violence. Even animals get caught up in the action, with players often being forced to kill dogs in combat.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters are shown actively smoking on a regular basis.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Warsaw is a turn-based role-playing/strategy game available for download on Windows-based PCs. The game is based on the events of the Polish resistance during the Warsaw Uprising of World War II. Players control a small band of resistance fighters as they attempt to hold back the forces of Nazi Germany trying to take over the Polish capital city. The game's turn-based play gives gamers an opportunity to plan out their attacks with easy-to-follow commands. But outside of combat, players are responsible for a lot of micromanagement of their forces as well as for maintaining the overall morale and supply chains for the region. The game uses a hand-drawn art style but doesn't shy away from the violence, with regular appearances on-screen of blood and some graphic imagery. Due to the subject matter, as well as its adherence to specific historic events, the presentation is dark and gritty, and the ultimate outcome doesn't offer a positive ending.

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What's it about?

WARSAW is a turn-based strategy game that takes players on a fictionalized recounting of the infamous Warsaw Uprising operation of World War II. In late summer of 1944, the Polish underground resistance rose up to drive Nazi forces out of the capital city of Warsaw. For 63 harrowing days, the Polish people fought against trained German soldiers, with little food, supplies, and ammunition, and with even less support from Allied forces. Warsaw drops players into the war-torn city streets as members of the Home Army, carefully orchestrating guerrilla missions to fend off enemy patrols, raid for resources, and recruit new people to the cause, all while trying to maintain morale and offer some semblance of hope.

Is it any good?

Let's get one thing out of the way right now: This is a game without a happy ending. That doesn't qualify as a spoiler for Warsaw if you have any knowledge of WWII history. The ill-fated Warsaw Uprising ended in a crushing defeat of the Poles by Nazi forces. Warsaw doesn't set out to change this outcome or to sugarcoat the brutality of the war. The game is dark, gritty, and somber, with a constant cloud of doom looming overhead. It's not so much a game that you can win, but rather one that you fight to lose as little as possible. It's also about the story to some extent. While the characters you recruit aren't necessarily fully fleshed out, they do have their own background stories, which serve as fictional windows that offer glimpses into the reality of what life was like for those caught on the frontline of war. If nothing else, Warsaw is a game that has a heavy emotional impact.

Setting aside emotion for a moment, Warsaw is a bit of a mixed bag. The game can be played multiple times, with a vast number of radical changes based on what random events players stumble across and the choices they make at certain moments. Sometimes these choices, even made with the best intentions, backfire in a spectacular manner, forcing a major setback to an already losing situation. There's a lot of micromanagement required, but there's also a lot that feels out of the player's control, with sinking morale and dwindling supplies sometimes unable to be fixed due to the random placement of certain events. This is made worse when you find yourself woefully unprepared for a battle because you either forgot to load up on ammunition or simply had no idea just how big an upcoming battle would be. While Warsaw makes for a great snapshot at the darker elements of WWII, it's hard to find comfort in fighting a perpetually losing battle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Warsaw affected by the artistic style of the graphics? Are there times that violence, even extreme violence, on-screen might be appropriate to tell a story?

  • Why is it important to study historical events? What are some ways that lessons from the past can teach us to deal with the present or the future? What are some good ways to learn more about history, outside of school?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Themes & Topics

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