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  • Writer's pictureHannah Goodsell

We. The Revolution: A Useful Game

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

We. The Revolution has the player take on the role of a revolutionary tribunal judge where they decide the fate of the accused during the French Revolution. The player goes through the time line of the revolution, so their first major case is the trial of the Capet family after they have tried to escape from France. After those two trials, the player is then thrown into the chaotic world of blind trials and the city of Paris being controlled by puppet masters. During the trials, the player must balance their relationship with four groups (the common-folk, the revolutionaries, the aristocrats, and the judge’s family) while building their reputation. The judge’s family helps build the relationships with the other groups and mainly effects the judge’s reputation. Based on their reputation level, the player will be allotted an amount of reputation points that they can spend on help and advice throughout the game. The other three groups need to be satisfied in order for the judge to continue to live. If any of their relationships are damaged too much then the judge will be assassinated. After the Capet trials, the player must also try to control the city of Paris, laid out like a board game, to assert their power and figure out who the puppet masters are.

The game is played through three main mechanics: the trials, persuasion, and the board game. During the trials, the player must read documents and witness statements to formulate their questions for the accused. Each question leans towards death sentence, imprisonment, or acquittal, so the player my figure out what decision would benefit them the most in order to build, and damage, their relationship with the groups. These choices will push the jury to their verdict, and the player needs to follow the verdict, even though you have free choice, to build their reputation. The player must also keep the public at ease, or they will cause an upheaval. The trial set up is shown below.

Top circles: sentences with groups favorings

Left question mark: the jury’s verdict

Right circle with gauge: public distress

Books and documents: player stat book, statements, and verdict decision process

Persuasion comes in during speeches before the accused is executed or trying to build alliances. Before the accused is executed, the player will have the chance to make a speech to the common folk to improve their relationship and reputation. The same mechanic is used when the player needs to persuade other characters to join their alliance or help with certain world events. On the left column, it will only show one or two attitudes for the persuasion strategy, you can buy more with reputation points. The player can only use each approach once in a persuasion session, with the exception of longer persuasion sessions.

Withdrawn: manipulative/aggressive strategy

Oversensitive: humility/manipulative strategy

No Opinion: careless/aggressive strategy

Attached: manipulative/careless strategy

Bull Headed: humility/aggressive strategy

Carefree: careless/humility strategy

Finally, the board game lay out of Paris is added to the game. The player must make construction progress to prove their loyalty to Paris and fight off the minions of assassins and the revolutionaries, to hold on to their own control of the city. The player will build an alliance where certain characters help them defend their factions of the city and aid them during world events of intrigue.

This game is a complex lesson for any player; it teaches players about spiral decline into chaos that Paris fell into due to corruption while layering in a subtle lesson about decision’s consequences. The player is left with the blood of their victims running through their hands after each execution. The player is the one who pulls the rope to release the guillotine’s blade each time. As the guillotine is reset, the player is faced with the excited faces of the common-folk, but as the game progresses, their reactions become more twisted and horrified as the player becomes used to it. As the game mechanics become more complex, it becomes more difficult for the player to balance their control and actions. It allows for the game to truly mirror the downward spiral of chaos that France fell into.

Here a shot of the crowd after an execution, not the first, where most of the crowd is horrified. The guillotine becomes a tool of survival and power manipulation for the player, but the reactions of the public leave the player feeling guilty for their actions.

We. The Revolution was created by Polyslash and published by Klabater. Polyslash is an independent game development team who want to prove that games are an art form. They were founded in 2015 in Krakow, Poland, and they have begun to sweep game festivals. They have won the 2018 Pixel Award of Best Art, Polityka Passport Award for Digital Culture, and they were the second place recipients of Digital Dragons Award for Best Indie Game. They want to create a game where no play through is the same, so every event the player experiences is randomly generated. Critics have called Polyslash’s work a combination of visual novels, true player interaction, and a game board.

This game is not for the faint of heart, and I loved it. There are still bugs that need to be fixed and minor typos, but it is an overall, beautiful recollection of the destruction of France. If you do not have patience to learn how the game works on a deep level, then you will not enjoy this game. It is a very involved and difficult game, and it needs to be. Without the complexity of this game, Polyslash would not be able to truly make their players feel the emotions that the common-folk and working class felt during the revolution. Without the involvement and understanding, the player would not feel as connected to the world and main character as they do.

Photos were found through Google, photo credit belongs to the owners and original photo posts.

Cover image belongs to Polyslash and Steam.

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