War Hospital Review

War Hospital Review

They called it “the war to end all wars.” The days of open warfare tactics were over, replaced by the grim reality of trench warfare. The advent of U-boats changed the rules of engagement for naval battles and blockades, and war became a new industry; a voluptuous teat that could be eternally suckled.

World War I proved to be the deadliest of all conflicts in human history. Of the estimated 40 million personnel and civilians involved, roughly half perished. About 21 million men were injured by artillery or poisoned by chemical weapons. It was a very sobering moment for the world to have lost so many men, and only 21 years later, nations would tragically choose to repeat the same mistakes.

The horrors of World War I continue to resonate in popular culture, particularly in video games. Amnesia: The Bunker shows an interesting premise set during the Great War. There aren’t too many games that focus on the other heroes who fought to save the lives of the men who fought. Is a “field hospital” sim a premise pregnant with potential? Find out in this War Hospital review!

War Hospital
Developer: Brave Lamb Studio S.A.
Publisher: Nacon

Platforms:  Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 (reviewed)
Release Date: January 11, 2024
Price: $39.99 USD

The “hospital sim” genre overflows on mobile devices and Steam, offering diverse experiences. Some delve into the administrative complexities, while others, like Surgeon Simulator, thrust you knuckles-deep inside the blood and guts of the practice. War Hospital stands apart, not as a classic RTS with clashing armies, but as a strategic puzzle of mobilizing staff and patients within a war-torn field hospital.

Beyond treating the wounded, you must maintain the fragile ecosystem of your base and nurture your staff’s well-being. An exhausted surgeon wielding a scalpel becomes a greater threat than gangrene. This is the goddamn Western Front, a meat grinder wrapped in a white coat, where every decision is a crapshoot between saving a life and turning a man into a jigsaw puzzle.

The core of War Hospital lies in these life-or-death decisions, each echoing throughout your command. Managing resources, personnel, and care creates ripples of consequence, where every action carries profound weight. The game generously informs you of these burdens, ensuring you grasp the gravity of each choice.

War Hospital has a good foundation to work with. Resource management, strategic decision-making, and the tense tug-of-war between saving lives and managing resources – these are all ingredients for a compelling RTS experience. However, for console players, War Hospital stumbles on its shoelaces, transforming that potential into a frustrating chore.

The egregious mismatch between its PC-optimized controls and the limitations of a gamepad makes menu navigation agonizing. War Hospital thrives on its menus and pinpoint accuracy on the battlefield map. With a D-pad an analog stick and shoulder buttons, console players are left wasting precious seconds and stuffing bodybags.

Adding insult to injury, War Hospital‘s on-screen selection indicator is very hard to see. Highlighting the action you want to take becomes an exercise in squinting and second-guessing. In the heat of medical emergencies, where swift decisions are crucial, this is a recipe for disaster.

To navigate this menu-driven wasteland, console gamers are given no choice but to rely heavily on the game’s slow-motion and time-stop features. While these features offer breathing room for strategic planning, they highlight the fundamental flaw – War Hospital wasn’t built for consoles.

War Hospital needed a complete control overhaul for console players. Defined selection indicators, streamlined menus, and context-sensitive button mapping could go a long way in making War Hospital palatable for consoles. The current system is too cumbersome and tedious to navigate and it needs to facilitate snappier and responsive decision-making.

War Hospital‘s console port squanders any potential its core gameplay might have held. Beyond the agonizingly clunky controls, the PlayStation 5 version is plagued by frequent crashes. During a session, I encountered multiple crashes, each swallowing hours of hard-earned progress.

While the ability to save at any point should be a saving grace, it instead fuels a tedious cycle of save-scumming. Immersion gets sucked out of the airlock as the “What if it crashes again?” anxiety takes hold. You find yourself playing not the game, but a cautious tiptoe around potential crash triggers.

These frequent crashes, on top of the already-crippling control issues, create a double whammy of frustration. Playing War Hospital on consoles becomes less about strategizing and saving lives and more about navigating a minefield of technical glitches and preserving your sanity.

War Hospital‘s tangled menus and lurking threat of random crashes make it a hard sell for anyone but die-hard World War I buffs. Even the visuals disappoint, with a suspicious resemblance to Unity store assets. Optimization is equally questionable, as the game boasts impressively long load times for visuals that wouldn’t look out of place on a Nintendo Switch.

Despite its clunky and visually underwhelming execution, War Hospital carries a surprisingly hefty price tag. The gameplay, while aiming for depth, often falls short, feeling simplistic and occasionally malfunctioning.

There’s undeniably an intriguing concept at the heart of War Hospital. The potential for a gripping and stressful experience set amidst the chaos of a World War I field hospital is undeniable. Unfortunately, the execution veers into frustrating territory, where the stress stems from technical hiccups and clunky mechanics, rather than the game’s intended thematic weight.

War Hospital was reviewed on PlayStation 5 using a code provided by Nacon. Additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy can be found here. War Hospital is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5.

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The Verdict: 4

The Good

  • Managing a World War I field hospital while making yough choices is a novel premise
  • Various factors to manage that lead to various outcomes makes for unique scenarios
  • The skill-tree can potentially make replay value high

The Bad

  • Simplistic graphics that resemble something on a mobile device
  • Muddy textures, visually dull, and lengthy load times on PlayStation 5
  • Prone to crashing
  • Poorly converted for consoles and hopelessly inefficent UI
  • Overpriced


A youth destined for damnation.

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