I feel like "Through the Darkest of Times" deserves a review, because it touches some very difficult subjects, while treating them with proper gravity.
First of all, as a Pole, I'm touched somebody made a game about the atrocities of WWII, and had shown them from a perspective of regular people. We command a group of German citizens who try to resist the cruel Nazi regime in any wayI feel like "Through the Darkest of Times" deserves a review, because it touches some very difficult subjects, while treating them with proper gravity.
First of all, as a Pole, I'm touched somebody made a game about the atrocities of WWII, and had shown them from a perspective of regular people. We command a group of German citizens who try to resist the cruel Nazi regime in any way they can. But, whatever they do, it's more about surviving than it is about fighting the actual tyranny. At the same time, the devs manage to avoid any historical blunders. There are no "Polish death camps". Instead, we can see clearly Auschwitz was created by Germans. On that note, the terms "Nazis" and "Germans" are used interchangeably. We're not opposing some mythical, impersonal Nazis, but normal German citizens who got swayed by the terrible propaganda or forced into submission by the sheer terror of the NSDAP. People who were our friends and neighbors not that long ago. There's no Holocaust denial. No historical revisionism -- the Soviets who are liberating the lands east of the Oder do not bring just the freedom, but also death and destruction.
On the other hand the gameplay itself is very shallow. You have a group of dissidents who can take all sorts of actions: collect money for the cause, gain supporters, paint anti-Nazi slogans on walls, and sabotage the regime. And while it all seems great, in reality you don't have to do much to beat the game. In truth, you can limit yourself to collecting money and gaining supporters, and leave the dangerous missions to... someone else? There are 4 chapters, and each one is 20 turns long. Since the consecutive chapters are like 3-4 years apart, if you won't manage to do something in the previous chapter, all progress is lost. You were one turn away from blowing up a Nazi factory? Sorry, you can't, move on to the next chapter. This sucks big time, because at the end of the game you feel like you've accomplished absolutely nothing. So, what's the point of trying? Gaining supporters and collecting money is easy, and also enough to get by. Is that what it's all about? If there's a war just try to find suckers to give you money in return for unfulfilled promises? I don't think so.
That aside, while the strategical aspect of the game is rather poor, the game is still worth playing. It is an excellent history lesson, one everyone should play to understand war is not something to be desired, and the world's warmongers are just evil people. Think about it next time your government starts sending boys and girls to yet another "justified" conflict.… Expand