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War Hospital Review

War hospital was released on January 11th, 2024. In War Hospital, you take charge of a WW1 field hospital on the Western Front, and make all the decisions necessary to help the soldiers recover and to support the war effort. In this narrative management game, you are the last bastion of humanity. How does the game stack up? Find out in this War Hospital review!

War Hospital Screenshot 1

The Great War

In a welcome departure from the (now quite familiar) World War II settings, War Hospital takes place during the Great War (1914-1918), presenting a unique perspective on the conflict through the lens of the Army Medical Service. Seeing these differences immediately drew my attention. Although I am very interested in WW2, this strategic management game, developed by Brave Lamb Studio, stands out because you are not actively fighting on the front lines, but you are a British medic, attempting to save the lives of soldiers in order for them to be able to continue the good fight.

The first World War is the backdrop to the game, where you find yourself in a small location with a few (war-torn) buildings. Here, you need to coordinate your staff and save as many wounded as you can. However, you will quickly find that resources are scarce and doctors tend to tire after long operations. This is the start of the balancing act that you need to perfect in order to save those that need saving.

War Hospital Screenshot 2

Hospital Management

There’s definitely comparisons that can be made to other hospital management games such as Two Point Hospital and Theme Hospital, but both the setting and the premise differ quite a bit from those other games. Visually, the game is a blended tone of gray which fits with the backdrop of the game quite well. I did see some comparisons made to the Frostpunk UI and I can see why people think of it in a similar manner. However, it also sports an interface that just feels outdated and bland, not really providing the information as snappy as you would hope when you need to make quick decisions on who gets to live or die. 

You are able to zoom in and view the action from a bit closer up but the animations that you see look mediocre and I’ve seen multiple bugs where my doctors would just fly across the screen without actually walking, oftentimes holding a stretcher and seemingly ice-skating from right to left. There are some brief views from the battlefield that are presented in extra scenes, but they look even worse than the main game. Overall, I would say that the game is a disappointment with regards to graphics. The sounds and the music don’t do much to save it in this department either.

The foundation

Now luckily, strategy and/or management games don’t really require the best graphics to be a fun game. I personally have thousands of hours in Football Manager every year and their match engine isn’t much to look at either. However, that does require the gameplay to be fun and engaging. It is the foundation that the game relies on. I don’t mind looking at spreadsheets and figuring out how I can best do what needs to be done if the outcome is fun at least. But let’s look at the actual gameplay for War Hospital.

You start off with the surgical department where patients are taken for surgery. The patients that come through require all sorts of treatments that you can expect as they arrive from the front. Bullet removal, limb amputation and the sorts. As you get access to different wards (chemical and trauma), you will find that some of the patients require more time and care after their initial surgery. Initially, as you are receiving new patients, you move from issue to issue and do your work in order to prepare enough supplies. You also need to ensure that doctors have enough rest before they tire out completely. The micro-management of doctors’ health adds depth to the core gameplay. The successful healing of wounded soldiers not only impacts the hospital’s efficiency but also influences the morale of the medical staff. The game also introduces a random element with occasional train arrivals, delivering supplies ranging from vital necessities to items of less immediate need. This mechanic enriches the gaming experience, providing a clever touch that adds unpredictability to resource management.

War Hospital Screenshot 3

Resource management

That is the part that keeps you on your toes during the first few hours of War Hospital. Resources are fickle and tough decisions will need to be made. Sometimes these decisions need to be made during patient surgery, where your decision can affect how many supplies are needed or what happens to the patient. Even the most experienced War Medic will occasionally have to give up on a patient, which once again shows you where you are. It is an actual war and not everybody can be saved. There are some extra scenarios that happen, including some ‘VIP’ patients that require immediate action or you will face some minor penalties such as temporary disfavor from HQ if he were to pass away. In a game where you are always fighting against increasing odds, you do not want any further negative penalties. That is most apparent in the first few hours of the game. I had a hard time keeping patients alive just because I found myself with limited resources all the time and it seemed like maybe setting up this camp didn’t do much to help the war effort at all.

Things started improving shortly after that, as I managed to get some improvements in the camp, but I didn’t feel like my own personal actions had become much better. I was still working to keep morale up, to manage my supplies well, but it just became a series of repetitive processes that become quite boring. Even speeding up time didn’t really help. I was swapping personnel into units, assigning patients to their doctors and deciding on the wards that patients needed to recover in but it just started turning into tedious tasks that didn’t really provide much enjoyment for me.

War Hospital Screenshot 4

Technical issues

I would say that you can get 10 hours of gameplay out of the game before I got to the point where I was utterly bored. That is mostly because it was introducing mechanics in the beginning and I was still learning the game but when I ultimately came to the point where I understood the things that needed to be done and I had the facilities I needed to be able to do what the game wanted me to do, it just wasn’t that interesting. The setting is great, the idea of not actively fighting on the front is great, but it just all felt boring and unengaging to me. 

Which brings me to my next point: I wouldn’t even be able to get to those first 10 hours. The game would just continuously crash and this caused me to have to restart the game multiple times, trying different settings to see if I could fix it, without results. Now when I managed to work around that with GeForce Now, I would just get more and more bugs the deeper I went into the game. It felt like Acts 2 and 3 were hardly even tested and I had so many issues ranging from the ice-skating I mentioned earlier to staff members disappearing and doctors just ‘stuck’ on patients that can’t be operated on. It seems like this game still requires quite a bit of work for it to be functional, but I don’t really see them changing the game enough to make it fun for the entire playthrough. 

War Hospital Screenshot 5

Conclusion

Overall, I just can’t recommend this game unless you manage to get it in a deep, deep sale. If you really enjoy war management games and think you might be able to enjoy this, I would only get it at a very low price point. The visual style of the game is OK, but the graphics are mediocre and the gameplay just gets boring after you get through the initial hours. It didn’t do enough to entertain me and I feel like I can’t recommend this game to you.

Pros:

  • WW1 theme and color palette

Cons:

  • Many, many bugs
  • Visually not appealing
  • Gets tedious and boring quite fast

Grade: 3

That was it for our War Hospital review. War Hospital is available through GeForce Now. You can follow our X / Twitter account to stay up to date with the latest changes.