We. The Revolution has been out on the Nintendo Switch for about two weeks now, and since then, players have been exploring how to navigate the oncoming storm in Paris. In the end, there are two endings, varying only slightly in their meaning.
This is sure to irk some players, since from the beginning of the game we are made to believe that the many choices we make along the way matter with the game explicitly telling us how perception can make an impact with our resources and our standing with factions. In truth, choices hardly matter at all. While this began as an effort to write a guide to always get the best ending, it instead is going to be a mix of discussion about how the game presents choice, and what it may be mean. Towards the end, there is a section regarding tactics for defending the city, which is a hard shift in gameplay in the final acts, but necessary to learn.
What Are The Two Possible Endings?
In the end, the character we have been controlling, Alexis Fidèle, lives or dies by the outcome of one final game of dice against his brother, Bruno. If Bruno wins the game, he will kill Alexis with a pistol, and we are then shown a cemetery in what appears to be modern-day Paris, with our character’s contributions to the revolution forgotten. In this ending, Alexis is not remembered for his efforts.
If however, Alexis wins the game of dice, it is Bruno who is killed with the pistol, and Alexis then steps outside to see Napoleon arriving with his troops, and later we see the same modern-day cemetery, only now the grave of Alexis marks him as the man who saved Paris, and the people comment about how this man should be remembered.
The Game Of Dice: Terrible RNG, Or An Elegant Narrative Device?
Players will note that two games of dice are of the utmost importance in the game among others. First, we play to save the hand of our eldest son, and second, as stated above, we play for our life. An issue that some players have with the use of dice is that it feels completely arbitrary, with Bruno favored to win.
We know, however, that there is an element of chance, since the game can be reloaded indefinitely until one achieves their desired outcome. On the one hand, that is cheating the spirit of the game by not accepting the outcome of fate, while on the other hand, we love the illusion of feeling as though we are in control.
So, is the dice game terrible RNG meant to frustrate us, or rather an accurate representation of the futility of fighting an inevitable tide? The reality of life, which is certainly well exemplified in this setting of a violent political revolution, is that individuals only have the illusion of control over the largest and most significant events in the world. We can work hard all our lives, be good people, and still be hit by a drunk driver at nine in the morning while walking the dog in a quiet suburban neighborhood.
Is it fair? Is it within the realm of our control?
The idea of the dice game is perhaps to simulate the reality of struggling against an inevitable force. We can imagine that everyone who supported King Louis in the game (and in real life) did their utmost best to maintain political cohesion, only to be swept away by revolution.
While the dice may feel terribly unfair, consider it more a lesson in life. You cannot control everything, no matter how hard you try, but this brings us more to an issue with the statements made in the game rather than with the game itself.
The Illusion Of Choice – Telling Players Their Choices Matter
Arguably, the only choice that matters in the game with regards to getting the best ending is whether or not to reload the game repeatedly until you defeat Bruno.
Everything else, including all of Act I and II with our court cases and the family ties, ultimately feels irrelevant. Having a supposedly excellent relationship with my wife, doting on her in the evenings until in quantifiable terms I could do no better, I was still greeted with her sharp blade and maniacal laughter. And yet, in another run when I attempted to favor other individuals and further prepare myself for the next day’s court case, she did no such thing despite not having nearly as good a quantifiable relationship together.
In that regard, it is difficult to advocate for doing our best to be morally good for the best ending, because it does not seem to matter. This is also seen as an impossibility in one specific case, when we deal with Beatrice. Try as we might, I do not think anyone could consider how she is treated to be within any realm of “good.”
The shift in later acts to the defense of the city is abrupt and not easy to handle, at least at first. In sum, the conflict with your brother is escalating drastically and you must defend the city until Napoleon can reach the city with his men.
You will decide which of your troops will defend, which reduces incoming damage, or attack, which does damage to an enemy at the risk of taking an attack themselves.
In general, tactics pertain to the following:
- Front-lines: All classes attack the first row and no one defends.
- Suppressing Fire: Infantry defends, Shooters attacks enemies in both the first and second row, Artillery hits father back in the second and third rows.
- Neutral: Infantry attacks the first row, Shooters attack the second row, and Artillery attacks the third row. No one defends.
- Defend: Similar to Neutral, but Artillery defends, while Infantry and Shooters get reduced damage taken
- Entrenchment: Infantry and Shooters will defend, and only the Artillery attacks enemies in the second and third rows
Important notes regarding combat include:
- When attacking two rows, attack power is divided equally between each. Keep this in mind as sometimes it is better to focus on wiping out one group rather than chip away at two.
- On the other hand, a class tactic that normally targets two rows does not divide its attack if only attacking a single row.
- The order of attack is Artillery, then Shooters, and Infantry last.
- As a front row is eliminated (on either end), we see a moving up of troops. For this reason, you must make the unfortunate decision to use infantry as defensive fodder to protect shooters and artillery.
Consider your choices carefully, as promised aid from allies does not always materialize, and you are left with only the option to hold out for just a little longer.
Saved By The Story
Ultimately, the game does a fantastic job as a narrative structure, and despite the feeling of insignificance with our choices having less impact than one might hope, the story properly relates the helplessness of the worst periods of national turmoil.
Perhaps then the issue is with this writer, who at first was disappointed in the lack of meaning of so many choices, but in the end, found it perfectly acceptable. The trouble stems mainly from the manner in which we consume games today, always expecting replayability and for choices to matter, but the trailer for We. The Revolution could not exactly present itself as “a good story where nothing you do matters.”
For that, the game is still top-notch, it is simply far different than was initially expected.