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Review: Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Content Warning:

War.  Death.

Story:

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The story is assembled from the view of four people in The Great War (WWI). It was inspired by actual letters written during that time.  The story starts out with Karl and Emile living in France.  Karl is a German who has married Emile’s daughter Marie.  The war breaks out and Karl is taken from his wife and son to fight for the Germans.  Likewise Emile is enlisted into the war to fight for the French.  Anna is a Belgian student who is a battlefield nurse.  She is looking for her father who has been kidnapped by the Germans to create weapons of war.  Freddie is an American that is upset with America not joining the war. He enlists in the British army to help with the war effort.  Throughout the game, the characters end up in the same parts of the war and their stories get entwined.

The story of Valiant Hearts is well written and very touching.  I hope that Ubisoft makes more Valiant Hearts games that revolve around the WWI era.

Gameplay:

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The gameplay consists of solving environmental puzzles, quick time events, dodging falling projectiles, stealth sections and rhythm based button presses.  Environmental puzzles make up the majority of the game.  You interact with the environment to figure out how to move on to the next area.  For example: You have to get a piece of meat to distract a dog, which in turn lets you get into a building, in which you find a handle to a lever to open a gate, that allows you to escape the camp you are in.  Later in the game you find a dog that helps you get through these puzzle sections.  Sections of the game will have your character running along the battlefield or driving a car. Your job is to run left and right to dodge incoming projectiles or oncoming cars/tanks.  Stealth sections have you hiding behind bushes/planks while guards move by you.  When Anna heals soldiers, you are presented with a rhythm based game where you have to time your button presses to heal the patient.

There is a hint system for when you need to get past a puzzle and cannot figure it out.  For the most part, I did not need this as the puzzles were not that challenging at all.

The only thing I didn’t like about the game was the dodging falling projectiles sections of the game.  It just turned into me dying a lot until I memorized the pattern for the falling objects.

Presentation:

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This game is loaded with presentation.  The art style is super cool.  The music is gripping.  The characters don’t talk in the game so when an idea is being conveyed to you it is through speech bubbles. However, there are no words in the speech bubble, there are pictograms.  It is super endearing and totally fitting to the art style they chose.  Between chapters, there is an animation of the map and a fitting historian’s voice tells you about what is happening in the story and the war in general.  This really helps flesh out the story.

There is also this whole history you can look at as the game plays out.  When you collect items you can view the history of that item.  Or if you are in a battle, you can view the history of that battle.  This is all optional and you don’t have to waste time on it if you are not a history buff.

Conclusion:

Valiant Hearts is a great puzzle game that takes you on an emotional journey that is worth taking.

Notes:

Played on PS4

By Jonathan Klassen

Just a small city, Christian boy from the province of Saskatchewan in Canada. Go Riders Go! I have a wife (Andrea), a son (Ethan) and another one on the way.

1 reply on “Review: Valiant Hearts: The Great War”

I love the way this game is presented it’s quite powerful and sobering. The gameplay is relatively simpe, but effective. A fantastic title.

I hope Ubisoft will keep bringing us these kind of releases.

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