Through the Darkest of Times is a strategy adventure game and is available on PS NOW. It is about building a resistance force consisting of people from different political ideologies and backgrounds as you fight against the rise of the Nazis and their authoritarian state. In this great story-based strategy game the player controls a German citizen during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power as the Nazis spread their evil throughout the region and the world that leads our German resistance.
The player’s responsibility is to recruit allies, gain followers, collect donations and take action against the evil Nazi government while avoiding detection. Through the Darkest of Times is as intense, depressing, and riveting as it sounds, and building a resistance from scratch isn’t easy as it sounds and players must approach their managerial duty as head of a rebel group with great care. Every potential ally has their own strengths, weaknesses, and political factions whether they be Catholic conservatives, Liberals, Democratic socialists, or Communists the players’ fellow resisters need to cooperate despite embodying different ideologies.
Characters with polar viewpoints fight regularly to the point that some party members forget the bigger picture and leave the group. These volatile scenarios must be treated with a deft hand in order to ensure the group’s survival. Maintaining a party with diverse backgrounds is the key to success in Through the Darkest of Times. Missions often require party members with specific attributes for example a communist is better equipped to appeal to a union of workers than an anarchist and a Christian liberal can raise donations at a wedding better than the socialist.
While recruiting members from a variety of different backgrounds can raise the tension being able to manage these randomized characters adds to the game’s great strategy elements. Of course, your recruits need to do more than just raise money, increase supporters and sell girl scout cookies. Seeing as this is Nazi Germany some missions are more perilous whether it’s hiding people, sending information to foreign powers, or stealing weapons and equipment from the German army, there is an abundance of missions to choose from.
These missions, however, contain a higher risk of being seen by suspicious police and if a character receives too much heat they will be arrested by the Gestapo. This adds an undercurrent of suspense to Through the Darkest of Times even though the gameplay is simplistic. This game requires the player to contemplate every decision they make despite how it’s morally imperative to help the Jews and defeat the Nazis there simply isn’t enough time or resources to be able to accomplish every mission.
After all, the Nazis are evil and tenacious in infecting their evil across every sliver of society and there’s only so much the player and their ragtag crew can do without getting caught. In this regard Through the Darkest of Times is a fittingly agonizing experience in the best way and has strong strategy elements and the tense gameplay complements the somber story. Conveyed through still images in black and white this game grounds the player in this horrific yet depressingly relatable world through its narrative.
Through the eyes of the protagonist, we witness key historical events like the burning of the Reichstag, the 1936 Olympics, and wartime Germany. In these cut scenes, the player chooses some options that allow them to interact and have some control over the sequence of events but whatever the player decides the game hammers home that the normalization of evil incarnate and human cruelty isn’t normal. These scenes are the best part of the game even though they are very depressing.
Admittedly Through the Darkest of Times is an imperfect experience as some of the strategy elements are confusing and many missions require specific items in order to access them but this is a problem due to how this game doesn’t explicitly state how to retrieve the objects necessary to the mission. The title can be incredibly frustrating and the English mistranslations only hamper the game further. I once avoided buying paper because the text label on the mission said buy paint and you can’t win a war with paint. The poor replay value is another issue as Through the Darkest of Times contains 2 ways to play the game, Story mode and Resistance mode.
The Story mode is essentially an easy mode that allows the player to focus on the story and Resistance mode enhances the difficulty to where party members are more likely to leave the resistance group and missions can’t be accomplished without gaining some heat. While having more difficulty modes is always a good thing this game carries so many lengthy cutscenes that it breaks up the flow of gameplay and even though the story is great the narrative surprises only shocked me the first time around.
Through the Darkest of Times is a very good anti-fascist strategy game even though the title stumbles a bit in terms of its slapdash menu system and replay value this game weaves a sad tale of a world that has gone cruel and how we must fight back no matter the cost. This is a very different strategy game but the story was fun nonetheless and I would definitely recommend this to any strategy or World War 2 fans.
Through the Darkest of Times has been permanently added to the PS NOW service.
Through the Darkest of Times is a very good anti-fascist strategy game even though the title stumbles a bit in terms of its slapdash menu system and replay value this game weaves a sad tale of a world that has gone cruel and how we must fight back no matter the cost.