Imagine Ace Attorney, but instead it’s the 18th century. And instead of solving grizzly but altogether over the top crime, you’re a judge with the true power to shape the entire political economy of Paris during the French Revolution.
That’s We. The Revolution, and yeah, it’s pretty heavy stuff.
Set predominantly in a court room, you take on the role of a judge of the Revolutionary Tribunal. From a locksmith accused of conspiring with a renowned thief to rob the homes of the wealthy, to the former King Louis who opposed the Revolution, each of the cases presented to you is complex, rich with intrigue and altogether compelling. What a case never is, though, is clear cut.
You aren’t Phoenix Wright here; you can’t snoop around a crime scene and gather your own solid evidence. Instead, you’re presented with a case file that gives you the background information. You can ask the defendant a number of questions, and occasionally a witness, though it’s rare you’ll ever get compelling evidence to lean one way or another. Ultimately, the decisions you make in We. The Revolution are yours and yours alone. But the choices you make will have a big impact on how the public perceives you, and Parisian politics as a whole.
In each case, you’ll be able to see how the jury want to vote. You’ll also be made aware of how ordinary citizens feel about a certain outcome along with the opinion of the aristocracy. The side you take is entirely up to you – but there’ll be consequences to everything. You can never please everyone, after all.
It isn’t just the wider populace of France you need to appease, either. Outside of the courtroom, you’ll also have to manage your familial responsibilities. You’re a married man with two sons; one young and impressionable, and another almost-grown. Your elderly father also lives with you. At the end of each working day in the courtroom, you’ll have to make a decision about how to spend your evening. Do you take your sons out to a political protest, gaining their respect but disappointing your wife? Or do you take your wife to see a concert, much to the disapproval of your youngest son? Or perhaps you’d rather forsake your nearest and dearest altogether, and instead gamble with your father.
The decisions you make within the courtroom, too, will have an impact on your family. They’ll make sure you’re aware of their opinions – but ultimately the decision is in your hands.
We. The Revolution isn’t an easy-going, passive experience. It requires you to be fully switched on, paying attention to every last detail. You’ll need to carefully read every case file that’s presented to you (and you’ll even be tested on your comprehension). When it comes to questioning defendants, you’ll need to make sure you understand the case enough to unlock the maximum amount of questions to ask. Make a few wrong moves, and you’ll be left with limited inquiries. But you’ll still be responsible for deciding the defendant’s fate. That means, sometimes, letting a guilty person walk free, or sentencing an innocent one to death.
It’s dark, challenging, and a times a little hard to bear. From its dulled colour pallette to its beautiful yet foreboding polygonal art style, every aspect of We. The Revolution screams a tone of seriousness. It’s often bereft of ambience; there’s no background music or sound during a court case – just a deafening silence that echos the importance of the decision you’re about to make. It isn’t a game for everyone, but We. The Revolution is ultimately thought-provoking in a way that few games ever are. It deals with real-world history in an aggressive way, not afraid to get its hands dirty while it does so. If you’re up for the challenge of taking life and death into your own hands, then give We. The Revolution a try.
We. The Revolution is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.