|Platforms||PC, Playstation 4, Switch|
Warsaw is a slightly undercooked tactical RPG game with promise but a lack of polish.
Warsaw is a roguelike tactical turn-based RPG or, if you’re not a fan of buzzwords, it’s Darkest Dungeon but set in World War 2. As its name suggests, it’s set in Warsaw, Poland during World War 2 and tells the tale of a rough and tumble squad of Polish soldiers as they try to take back the city from the Nazis. The game tasks you with completing missions throughout Warsaw, such as scouting out routes or sabotaging Nazi supplies.
The game takes place on a simple 2D map of the city of Warsaw. At its heart, Warsaw is a stealth game. The Nazi soldiers scattered throughout the stages all have a detection range but their vision is obstructed by buildings and other obstacles.
Despite its simple presentation, Warsaw’s 2D map somehow manages to create moments of of real tension and thrill. As you navigate your way through backalleys and around enemy patrols, you must constantly weigh the risk and potential rewards of your actions. Should I go for this supply cache when a group of Nazis are waiting just around the corner? How sure am I that the patrol up ahead isn’t going to turn right into this alley?
As we said earlier, Warsaw looks a lot like Darkest Dungeon. You carry out missions during which you’re faced with multiple critical choices to make. Securing supplies is also a key part of the gameplay in Warsaw; battles can become quite challenging when you’re low on bullets or medkits.
Actions are carried out by expending the appropriately named Action Points. Even simple actions, like movement, use up valuable Action Points, and the gameplay loop involves the game placing you in various different settings and you trying to route the most efficient path through them. Run out of Action Points and it’s game over, so you’ll be spending a lot of time getting familiar with the various maps, re-running stages and testing out routes.
Even the combat is just like the combat in Darkest Dungeon. Warsaw is a tactical turn-based title where each member of your party has skills you can choose to perform. There’s a fortification system in place which lets you sacrifice a turn in exchange for improved defenses, and both the player and the enemy AI can use it. Choosing which characters to include in your party is vital as deaths in Warsaw are permanent.
You’ll occasionally be faced with the responsibility of making some crucial decisions that can change the outcomes of certain events. For example, you might be asked to decide the fates of prisoners of war, suspicious characters, or whether to construct fortifications for your base. The decisions you make in these moments determines the rewards you get at the end of a mission.
Character management is a vital part of success in Warsaw. You can upgrade their skills and must switch them in and out of your party at the right times to avoid deaths or permanent injury. Characters’ lives are also quite low and only 4 soldiers can take part in a mission so who does and doesn’t get sent can be game-changing. And you’ll want to keep your soldiers alive because replacing them is expensive.
The basic gameplay and combat is enjoyable if occasionally repetitive, but the game suffers from some surface-level issues that, together, affected our overall impression of the game.
For example, when choosing which mission to take on next, there’s no way to tell how difficult the mission will be. There’s also no information about how many soldiers you’ll face. We concede that this might be a conscious decision by the developers to incorporate some surprise into each mission, but you can hire informants before a mission that provide useful data relevant to your mission. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to spend more resources to get this kind of information.
Warsaw should be a lot more fun than it is. The gameplay is solid and enjoyable, but the small problems add up. Little issues with the interface and a general lack of polish prevent it from reaching its full potential. We still believe that a few patches can make this into a great game.