Thank you so much to Klabater for providing a review code
Full disclosure, I am not an avid fan of the visual novel genre of games. I respect the idea of them, but I have never been able to really get into one to the extent I do with other games. But when I discovered We. The Revolution and its take on the events of the French revolution and the interesting part you take in it as a judge, I was instantly intrigued.
Set during the French Revolution you play the pivotal role of a judge. You determine whether or not a person is innocent, guilty, or a dead man walking. With the introduction of the guillotine and tensions rising in the streets as an incompetent king loses his grasp on his country, you must struggle to balance the life and well being of the country alongside the happiness and support of your family. It does sound cool on paper, but can be a bit dull as everyday blends into the next. However, there is a story here to enjoy.
As a judge, your job is to determine from evidence and insight whether or not a person is guilty. This can be done by asking the defendant questions which can be unlocked by matching different facts. All of your facts and information can be found in the case file with their corresponding parts in the case. For example the fact that *insert name* burned down a building, could go with something like a series of events, method, or even accusation.
Depending on the type of question or the defendant’s answer the jury might sway towards a more acquittal or guilty sentence, or at worst, the death penalty. When making your decision you not only have to take into account the jury’s position, but also how your decision will affect both the revolutionaries and the common folk. If you were to, for example, sentence a revolutionary to the guillotine the common folk’s reputation towards you would rise while the revolutionaries would fall. You also have to take into account how the decisions you make determine your standing in the revolution itself.
One thing the game does poorly is tell you how to play it. There is a tutorial level, but it just throws a bunch of information at you and hopes you remember it. You do get an annoying refresher any time you start the game back up, but the initial tutorial was handled very poorly for such a complex game.
Another aspect of the game as said before is the dynamic with your family. You have your wife who is not a fan of your work, your father who enjoys sophisticated things, your eldest son who is taking after you and getting into politics and finally your youngest son who enjoys nothing more than spending time with his dad reading stories and taking strolls. Every day after a case you are presented with a choice on what to do with your family for the evening, depending on your choice certain family member’s reputation of you might rise or lower. After that the day ends and you rinse and repeat the daily activities, work at court, go home and spend time with family.
After spending time with your family, the day ends. Eventually two new mechanics are also added to the game. The first thing that happens is a sort of board game style strategic map of Paris. During this section you have to unlock different parts of Paris to increase your influence points. By increasing your influence points they can be used to help with various problems during trials, fighting off invading agents and protecting your main section at all costs.
Then you go into another section where you try to make allies and make various decisions on different problems. This part of the game while interesting just seems slightly off putting. It comes in around a third into the game and like the tutorial, drops a load of information on you. It’s nice to see some variety to pull you away from the tedious trials, but since it comes in after you’ve thought you’ve gotten the hang of the game it feels jarring when you do get to it. Overall, I found it worked fine for what it is and as I mentioned, helps break up the game’s repetitive nature.
Sometimes however, special events do happen which are presented in a comic style cut scene which sets up the events of the day or continues the story of France falling into despair as the revolution takes over. Apart from those events the gameplay is very repetitive. Following a pattern in every case got me the same results and there wasn’t any real variety to any of the different day that I played. Sure the circumstances and defendants on any given day are different, but they don’t task you with really different challenges. Just read the case, ask the questions, and give them a sentence.
One aspect I found very interesting was the choice mechanic. While it’s similar to choice mechanics we have seen in other games here your choices feel like they mean something. Every sentence you make drastically changes your reputation with not only the common folk and revolutionaries, but also your family. There’s really no way to make everyone happy.
With a game that has so many choices at every turn, it always feels like you’re barreling towards the same outcome no matter what you do. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it adds to the hectic times of the French revolution and the burden a judge would’ve had to face during this time.
Another quick thing I wanted to mention was a surprising inclusion of a small detail. You see, you don’t only have to sentence someone to a guillotine. You also have to give a speech to the crowd, and most intriguing of all, control the guillotine. It’s a feature that makes you feel even more responsible that you already feel for the death sentence. Even if the people you sentence are bad, there’s a tinge of guilt that’s felt from executing them. It’s the icing on the cake to make you feel the ultimate burden of a judge at the time.
We. The Revolution is beautiful. It takes a very polygonal painting sort of art style that really compliments the setting very well. There isn’t much else to say other than that, they look great and work well.
During my time with We. The Revolution I experienced no technical issues.
We. The Revolution was a surprising thumbs up for me. Going in I had good expectations, but the way it sucks you into the feeling of the world is something you don’t see too often. While the repetitive nature of the gameplay did hurt my overall opinion on this game, I did realize that it’s a perfect game for the Switch. I found We. The Revolution to be great for quick pick up and play sessions, which lent itself well to the Nintendo Switch’s portable nature. This also helped alleviate We. The Revolution’s repetitive nature, by avoiding very long sessions with the game. If you’re into the visual novel genre and/or are a history buff, this game is worth checking out.
The Story Overall is a Unique Idea
Choices Feel Like They Mean Something
Beautiful Visual Design
At Times The Story Can be Dull
Gameplay can Become Repetitive During Long Sessions
Love playing games and experiencing all that the different developers have to offer, happy to have the chance to broaden my horizons and explore more of the vast universe of indie games with Switch Atlantic!