War Hospital Review: A Tug-of-War Between Life and Resources

Beyond Guns and Glory - The Dark Side of World War I in the Trenches of Healing

War Hospital Review
Overall
3.3
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

War Hospital is one of the better attempts at painting a gratifying picture of WW1 despite being held back by clunky UI and frequent bugs

Pros

  • Immersive Wartime Atmosphere
  • Seamless Gameplay mechanics
  • A visual style befitting WW1

Cons

  • Barebones Narrative
  • Slow start
  • Rough UI
  • Technical difficulties on PlayStation 5

World War I, often hailed as the War to End All Wars was a period of unprecedented brutality and terror that reshaped history. Amidst the chaos of trenches, artillery fire, and chemical warfare, a seldom-explored facet comes to light in War Hospital, a strategy game that delves into the grim reality of field hospitals on the Western Front in 1918.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer:  Brave Lamb Studio 
  • Publisher:  Nacon
  • Release Date: January 11, 2024
  • Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
  • Game Length: 30 Hours
  • Time Played: 45 Hours
  • Editors Note: Our writer extensively played War Hospital, trying out each and every mechanic, before finalizing his impressions.

Story And Setting

War Hospital Review Story and Setting
Story and Setting. (Image Captured by eXputer)

At the heart of War Hospital’s story is Major Henry Wells, a British medic thrust back into the theatre of war to lead a team in managing a field hospital. It does not focus much on the narrative, which I feel is a missed opportunity as this side of the war is seldom explored, but it does manage to present players with a stark and realistic portrayal of the Western Front from the British perspective.

Major Wells becomes the lens through which players witness the agonizing struggle to save lives amidst the horrors of war. This title opts for a slow and, at times, laborious start. It chooses a more deliberate pace, which, unfortunately, might be a source of frustration for those yearning for immediate engagement.

It successfully captures the field hospital experience’s essence, where medics face not only the physical wounds of war but also the mental toll of making life-and-death decisions amid chaos.

While essential for tutorial purposes, the initial stages start to feel mundane, even for someone like me who usually enjoys these types of games. It requires one to invest time in tasks that may not offer the riveting, adrenaline-pumping experience expected from a war-themed game which might leave many disappointed.

Viewing The War From A Different Lens

They nailed the backdrop
They nailed the backdrop. (Image Credits: eXputer)

The game includes only a few supporting characters, limited to minor roles like occasionally handing out quests or fulfilling secondary functions. This choice initially felt odd to me, but it slowly grew onto me as their ultimate function was just to contribute to the humane atmosphere that pervades this nightmarish landscape.

Their presence, combined with multiple other factors, helps this game capture the field hospital experience’s essence, where medics face not only the physical wounds of war but also the mental toll of making life-and-death decisions amid chaos.

It requires one to invest time in tasks that may not offer the riveting, adrenaline-pumping experience expected from a war-themed game which might leave many disappointed.

This is one of the better World War 1 settings I’ve experienced. Its landscape has been meticulously crafted to emulate the Great War’s desolation and stands out as a testament to its developers’ commitment to historical accuracy.

The buildings, often reduced to ashes or adorned in somber shades of gray, evoke that era’s desperate and gritty reality. Vehicles, including trains and medical transports, resemble their real-world counterparts, enhancing the game’s immersion.

Gameplay

War hospital Review Gameplay
Gameplay. (Image Credits: eXputer)

At the core of War Hospital’s gameplay lies managing a field hospital. I loved its intricate network of buildings, including the Operation Ward, Staff Lodgings, Canteen, and Rehabilitation Centre, which became a canvas allowing me to paint my strategy. This title features meticulous attention to detail in hospital management, mirroring the challenges faced by medics during this dark chapter of human history.

The hospital’s success hinges on the effective management of these personnel, making strategic decisions to balance the criticaliy of saving lives and maintaining operational efficiency.

Players are tasked with recruiting and deploying a diverse array of staff, each with specific roles such as doctors, nurses, medic teams, engineers, and scouts. The hospital’s success hinges on effectively managing these personnel, making strategic decisions to balance the criticality of saving lives, and maintaining operational efficiency.

Whether it’s assigning tasks, managing shifts, or deciding who to prioritize, I found myself in a constant struggle to navigate the complexities of running a hospital, and I liked every second of it.

Resource Management: Scarcity in the Shadow of War

As players grapple with the demands of hospital management, War Hospital introduces resource management as a crucial layer to the gameplay. The Pharmacy, where medicines are procured, and the Engineering Depot, responsible for producing essential supplies, become lifelines in the war-torn landscape. The scarcity of resources mirrors the logistical challenges faced during wartime.

Resource Management
Resource Management. (Image by eXputer)

The delivery of crucial supplies becomes a strategic consideration, with players forced to make decisions on where to allocate resources for maximum impact. I liked how this scarcity introduced an element of challenge, and forced me to adapt and improvise in the face of adversity.

While this title excels in delivering a rich and immersive gameplay experience, I ran into many challenges and bugs that frequently disrupt its flow. Instances where medical teams and doctors cease to function present a serious hurdle that needs addressing. 

Visuals And Performance

War Hospital Review Visuals
War Hospital Review Visuals. (Image Captured by eXputer)

War Hospital successfully captures the essence of wartime despair through its visual design. It employs a subdued color palette, dominated by somber grays and muted tones, effectively conveying the bleak and desperate atmosphere of the war. I especially liked its use of this moody art direction as it was crucial in establishing the wartime ambiance.

The meticulous attention to detail in depicting war-torn landscapes, dilapidated buildings, and the ever-looming threat of conflict creates a visual narrative that resonates with historical accuracy. Its choice of a digital stylized painterly art style enhances the overall aesthetics, providing a unique look. The character portraits and in-game models also contribute to the appreciation of this distinctive art style.

UI: A Battlefield of Frustration, Not Strategy

The UI, tucked away in corners with small, unlabeled icons, presents a challenge to players seeking intuitive navigation.

While the visual representation of the war-torn setting shines, the User Interface (UI) played a large factor in souring my overall experience. It draws inspiration from classic RTS titles, resulting in an interface reminiscent of older games like Civilization and Command and Conquer. This deliberate choice imparts a sense of nostalgia but feels outdated and rough.

The UI was tucked away in corners with small, unlabeled icons, which was frustrating as intuitive navigation should always be considered in modern games. It also lacks shortcuts for menu access, adding an unnecessary layer of complexity to an already clunky UI. The text dialogues, aggravatingly small, hinder the immersive storytelling that the visuals strive to achieve.

Many confusing icons
Many confusing icons. Image Credits: eXputer)

There is a stark mismatch between PC-optimized controls and the limitations of a gamepad on consoles. This creates an agonizing experience for players, particularly in menu navigation, where precision is crucial.

This title also encounters performance challenges that impact the overall gameplay. Although I had no problems with a GTX 1060 on PC, there are many reports of frequent crashes on the PlayStation 5 version, marring the experience and forcing players into a cycle of cautious save-scumming. This version of the game also features lengthy load times.

Verdict

War Hospital Verdict
Verdict. (Image Credits: eXputer)

War Hospital, despite its noble attempt to carve a unique niche in the realm of war-themed games, stands on precarious ground with a bittersweet outcome. The game’s meticulous hospital management mechanics and the gritty realism of World War I offer a refreshing perspective, but its cumbersome user interface and console-related woes weigh it down.

For players willing to endure its learning curve and navigate its pitfalls, this title unfolds into a strategy symphony, blending the agony of choices with the chaos of war. Despite its flaws, it manages to deliver a resonant experience, but one that requires patience and a tolerance for its imperfections.

This is box title
Get This Game
If you’re looking for an immersive and unconventional strategy game set during the Great Warl.
Dont Get This Game
If you’re looking for a riveting and adrenaline-pumping strategy game.
Do I Need To Get This Game
If you like strategy and resource management games and are willing to look past some technical issues.
Alternative Games
  • Frostpunk
  • Project Hospital
  • Two Point Hospital
  • The War of Mine
  • WW1 Medic
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Asad Ahmad is a Games Reviewer on eXputer who’s combined his passion for writing and gaming into a sweet blend of content for his audience to enjoy. He started off his gaming journey in the RTS genre but settled on RPGs like Skyrim as his go-to games. Asad has a substantial amount of writing experience in reviewing and writing for games, which is backed up by his extensive gaming library on Steam.

Experience: 2+ Years

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