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A twisted war story, February 6, 2023
A whack in the gut. This is a hard story. Brutal even.
A soldier is broken. He succumbs to his obsession. Treason means nothing to him anymore. He must obtain what he needs.
Four short linear chapters are all it takes to leave the reader gasping for air, as if his lungs were ripped by the PC’s bayonette.
Very powerful writing, pulsing drive, evocative sparse descriptions, haunting imagery and theme.
Traversing the game is a very linear affair. The only physical direction is northward and up, up that hill that the war command has designated as a strategic target, and thus worthy of throwing men's lives at. This is mirrored in the focused single-mindedness of the PC, who has only his obsessive goal in mind amidst the mayhem and death around him.
There are opportunities to examine the surroundings. Doing so provides nothing to hold on to, just the bleak battlefield with its corpses and artillery holes. And the men running with you, northward, up that distant hill.
At a few resting points in the game, you can converse with your comrades and commandant. These short menu-based conversations go a long way in building the characters of PC and NPCs alike, and they provide glimpses of backstory in precious few lines.
Since there is not much of anything the player can do to stop the relentless pace of the game (or the assault on the hill), the interactive element comes almost exclusively from the experience of complicity with the PC's actions. The player feels strongly responsible for the actions undertaken by the protagonist.
This is the most impressive feat of Entre les lignes de feu: the power with which it grounds the player in the situation, how it draws the player ruthlessly down and deeper into the protagonist's obsession.
Very strong piece.