While PAX East was a decidedly “non-MMO” show, there were some truly great RPGs on display. But none caught my attention quite like WARSAW from Pixelated Milk. A turn-based reenactment of the Warsaw Uprising of WWII, WARSAW is one part XCOM and one part Darkest Dungeon, but also a good deal of Valiant Hearts too. It’s a game with heart, history, and loads of addictive “one-more-mission” features, and it’s quickly become one of my most wanted titles this year.
The demo I was treated to was a quick mission, but gave an overall look at the general flow of WARSAW. There are main characters on your team, and the goal of the game is to make it through the entirety of the Uprising with as many of the main characters alive as you can. There are “expendable” soldiers too, but you’ll get just as attached to those side players probably so don’t let the fact that they’re not main characters fool you.
Each mission is split into two main parts - the overworld part where you move your party along the city streets of Warsaw, and the actual events and battles of each day. Events are reminiscent of your favorite cRPG of old - maybe something akin to Pillars of Eternity - where you must use your party members’ strengths and weaknesses to choose who will do things like try and talk a German soldier into putting his gun down, or rescue a Polish woman from a collapsed building.
The fights play out in 2D hand-drawn style, where each backdrop of the wartorn Polish down has actual landmarks from historical Warsaw, places you could have visited or might still be able to if you’re ever in the area. The fights are turn-based and grid-based, with objects for cover and each party member having skills that require specific positioning for the best effect. If there’s any complaint I had with the demo, it’s that it was hard to figure out where my party could move or attack. The grid wasn’t displayed on the ground, but rather above the characters heads with little droplet icons. That’s super minor though, and something that’s easily remedied if the team hears it from more than myself.
Once missions are over, or the day itself is over, you’re back at your base where you can upgrade characters, change their equipment, and upgrade the tools at your disposal as the resistance.
Overall, I was very impressed by what I got to play of WARSAW at PAX, and I’m eagerly awaiting a time when I can dive deeper into its campaign and features to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. But if you’re a fan of these sorts of games, you’re going to be in for a treat when WARSAW comes out on PC later this year.