We. The Revolution | game review
Literally putting your neck on the line.
Game summary: As a judge of the Revolutionary Tribunal, preside over complicated cases of ordinary citizens, dangerous criminals, and enemies of the revolution in revolutionary Paris. Make judgments, plot political intrigue, and try to not lose your own head! (Steam)
Over the past few years, I've developed some interest in the French Revolution and, when you look into it, it's incredible just how much of an impact it had on the world both at the time and continues to do so today. So when I found out about game where you got to play the role of one of the judges sentencing people to death for a whole variety of reasons, I knew had to play it - and I've still got Assassin's Creed Unity to try too!
For starters, nothing in We. The Revolution progresses without the player wanting to do so, meaning that you can really take your time to take in what you've learned and make decisions about how to proceed with your plans to gain power in Revolutionary Paris. With the game divided up into days, there's also neat 'breaks' built in if you don't want to plough through it as fast as you can.
Most of the time, a day will involve you conducting a trial of some description, handing out sentences you deem appropriate - which can become difficult when imprisonment is removed as an option and you have to choose between letting someone walk free or have their head removed - while trying to avoid offending the various groups who have an interest in the outcome of each case.
There is one major issue I had with this part of We. The Revolution is when you have to link information about the case to various categories in order to unlock questions to ask the accused. There were more than a few times when how the game linked things didn't seem to make any sense at all, including a piece of evidence not counting when linked to the Evidence category.
It might seem like cheating, but this issue happens often enough that I would absolutely recommend reloading the day and starting the case over if it happens to you, especially the days were one piece of information can be linked to multiple categories - often with both links making no sense rather than another category which might seem like a much better fit.
Also, the game doesn't tell you this, but just because you unlock all the questions doesn't mean you have to ask them all, especially if you want to try and get a certain sentence to pacify a group angry with you. It can feel a little underhanded, but that fits perfectly with the political manoeuvring that dominates the story going on throughout We. The Revolution.
There are other moments like that which can really suck you in, but another major issue is that the game goes too far in trying to replicate your character's actions in a way that gives the player control. There's a battle mini-game, gambling games, moments when you have to try and convince others to do what you want them to, and an almost board game-like aspect of trying to take control of Paris.
Again, you can take your time with all of this as time doesn't pass until the player is ready, and it's not as if any of the gameplay mechanics in these sections are bad either - it just makes everything feel a little unfocused. I do think some of these sections could be removed by delegating them to allies or simply by making them feel more important than they do.
However, We. The Revolution's biggest failing for me was its intention to adhere to historical accuracy when it feels like historical fiction would've been better. No matter how well you've done or how dominant a position you've established by the time you enter the final stretches, it will all come crashing down to align proceedings with historical events, which does leave the finale lacking in real catharsis.
Despite the issues I had with it, I still enjoyed my time with the game although I have to admit that I'm not sure how entertaining it would be for others who have no real interest in the French Revolution and the political - and often literal - back-stabbing that went on at that time. It's also a pretty cheap game and has deep discounts when on sale, so I would still encourage at least giving it a go.
We. The Revolution is fun, but tries to do a little too much and - coupled with an ending determined to keep to reality - can make it feel somewhat unsatisfying. That said, it's still an interesting game to play, set in a time period that rarely gets made us of despite the impact the French Revolution had on the world, and the fact that the player can take events at their own pace means it's also a very accessible experience.