War Hospital – Review
Follow Genre: Management sim, survival game
Developer: Brave Lamb Studio
Publisher: Nacon
Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: PC

War Hospital – Review

Site Score
Good: Accurately conveys the sense of dread and gruesomeness of war
Bad: Several glitches and shoddy UI harm the overall experience
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

War. War never changes. Games about war do, however. It wasn’t all that long ago that war games would glorify battlefield conflict, in clear-cut stories about good versus evil. In recent years, however, we’ve seen a shift towards more realistic representations of the horrors of war. Games like This War of Mine or Last Train Home highlight the tragedies and grey areas that take place in the aftermath of battle, and War Hospital aims to continue this trend. This management sim puts you in charge of taking care of battlefield victims at the tail-end of the First World War. Are War Hospital’s virtual soldiers worth saving or should the game be put out of its own misery?


Stepping in the mud-and-blood-soaked boots of Major Henry Wells, you’re put in charge of a British field hospital. The year is 1918 and although the end of WWI is drawing near, there is still a nigh-endless stream of wounded soldiers being brought into your care. With only limited resources at your disposal, your aim is to save the lives of as many of these brave men as possible. You can’t save them all, however, and making the difficult choice between who dies and who lives is at the forefront of War Hospital’s narrative. Wells himself is an interesting character too: a retired field officer, called back to the front while still processing the loss of his son. He arrives in a desperate situation, convinced to do what he can to transform the humble field hospital into a beacon of hope.


Like many games in the setting, War Hospital cloaks itself in the muted browns, greens, and greys most people associate with war. The visuals aren’t necessarily the most impressive, but they are fitting of War Hospital’s grim atmosphere. The top-down buildings and environments that you spend most of your time looking at are adequately detailed, as are the hand-drawn portraits and office environments that are shown when you’re pondering decisions. On the other hand, the character models appearing in the very rare pre-rendered cutscenes feel oversimplified. War Hospital nails its presentation for the most part, although this is achieved through context and knowing that this is based on real-life events. That’s a minor complaint overall, because the game looks good for what it wants to be, but it could have been even better if more care had been put into these cutscenes, even if it meant showing outright gore and gruesomeness.


Fortunately, War Hospital’s audio fares slightly better than the visuals. The ambient sound effects of the hospital bring the horror to life. The screams of wounded soldiers are heard across your hospital and the sounds of war echo in the distance. The setting of a British field hospital means that you’ll be hearing plenty of stiff-upper-lip English accents, and thankfully the characters don’t ham it up or sound like Monty Python rejects. Not all of the dialogue is voiced, but a good chunk of it is, and the voice cast does a commendable job of bringing across the emotions of their characters.


Beneath War Hospital’s bleak and depressing setting, you’ll find a resource management simulator that relies too much on its concept. Admittedly, said concept is fantastic, but War Hospital doesn’t quite nail the gameplay side as well as it does its narrative and audiovisual presentation. We’ll get into the nitty and the gritty of what went wrong here a bit further down, but first, let’s take a look at War Hospital’s core experience and what the game does right. Contrary to what the title might have you believe, you’re not just running a hospital, but the surrounding logistics as well. You’re in charge of medical staff, of course, but also engineers that repair and expand your infrastructure, scouts that keep an eye out for German spies in the area, and what boils down to HR management as you need to make sure your staff gets their wages, manage the spending of your facility and keep an eye on how much food you have left.

Just like any good management simulator, War Hospital forces you to make choices to try and run things as efficiently as possible, and those choices might come back to haunt you. You can try to be as practical as possible when making a decision, but more often than not, a practical choice doesn’t align with what is morally right. Whether it’s the morale of your exhausted staff, your limited access to medical resources, or simply the never-ending flow of time, you simply never have everything you need to keep things running optimally. Which patient do you help first: a high-ranking officer who gives you a reward or a member of your own staff who got wounded out in the field? After successfully saving a soldier, do you allow him to go home or do you send him back to the battlefield? It’s choices like these that make War Hospital stand out, and it’s in these moments that the game truly shines.

Fortunately, these moments are plentiful too, and while you don’t necessarily get to see what happens on the battlefield, you do feel the consequences. Send home too many soldiers, and the trenches may be manned too thinly, for example. A much-needed delivery of medical supplies and food might end up being destroyed by enemy forces, meaning you’ll need to improvise and ration what you have left. This in turn might affect the morale of your loyal staff. Should this drop too low, it results in a game over. War Hospital never feels like an easy game, and even when things slow down and you’re simply waiting for something, there is always an underlying feeling of stress as things can happen in a snap.

Where things start to come apart at the seams for War Hospital is with how certain elements are executed. The user interface is unclear and information shared across different menus is often full of contradictions. There were times when the number of patients on the UI icon didn’t match the in-game situation, and even a few painful instances where the game told us that a soldier had been successfully treated although he had instead passed away. Even when the information is correct, you’ll often have to dig deep to find it, clicking through multiple menus to find out just how tired a staff member really is or how much priority you should give to a patient depending on their condition. There is an overall lack of polish here, and we ran into several glitches, a handful of them even liable to making the game crash. Examples we encountered include random audio drops and timers that were already running randomly resetting themselves when loading a saved game. There is no auto-save feature here either, so if you don’t save often, you risk losing quite a bit of progress should the game decide to end things there and then. While these instances are far and few between, they’re present in the game, so we can’t ignore them.

Now, we do assume that most of the issues mentioned above will eventually be patched out. When they do, War Hospital jumps from an interesting but flawed title to a must-play game about the folly of war. Must-play, but not because War Hospital is a fun game in the slightest. As an educational tool of sorts to bring across the gruesomeness of war, however, War Hospital does a more than admirable job. We weren’t able to stomach playing the game for prolonged periods of time, and usually felt exhausted after playing for an hour or so, yet somehow we felt the need to return to the battlefield, eager to save just a few more lives. In this regard, War Hospital succeeds in what it sets out to do. This isn’t a war game. It’s an anti-war game, and a great one at that. It just needs a bit of polish.


At times satisfying, but more often than not devastating, War Hospital delivers an important message, and it does so in a very effective manner. This is a game that perfectly encapsulates the horror of war, showing the efforts of its true heroes. It’s not perfect, as at the time of writing, there are several glitches present in the game, and the UI seems to work against you. There are a lot of rough edges here, and we hope to see many of them resolved with future patches, but even in its current state, there are plenty of reasons to give War Hospital a go.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
War Hospital - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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