REVIEWS | July 4th, 2014
Valiant Hearts: The Great War review

Here’s the bold move of Ubisoft in proposing a game based on World War 1. Valiant Hearts: The Great War brings the crude horror of the war with a cartoonish touch while showing a great story of a group of friends that will surely put a number of moments of warmth, compassion and will give you a sense of accomplishment when you play it through.

The game is a 2D platform puzzle cartoonish with a great sense of design and with the power of the UbiArt Framework, the same found in Rayman Legends… the sceneries give a full experience and a lot is going on around you.

The story is set in 1914 where the German Empire is heading Russia’s direction. You will play with four characters having their story in common, going from one character to another with their respective features, make the game much more interesting. You will be playing with Karl, a German citizen who is living in France, who due to the war, he is enrolled in the army and thorn from his wife and young son. You will also play with his father-in-law Emile who is enrolled in the French Army. Emile’s special feature is to dig. There is also Emile’s friend Freedie, an American soldier who has voluntarily enrolled in his personal vengeance after the German Empire has killed his wife at their wedding. His special feature is to cut the barb wire during a mission. You will also be playing as Anna, a Belgian born nurse who is stationed in Paris. This is the story of these four people who will be making their efforts to find serenity from vengeance, reunite with family and save lives. Of course we should not forget as these four heroes of war have a great K9 companion, a loyal Doberman Pinscher that will help them along the way with fetching stuff, pushing buttons or levers.

With the idea from Child of Light, only the cut scenes have voiceovers, but this is to increase the sense of the game’s story. Well, during the game they talk some parts but most of them are when they are shouting or some spoken gibberish. This is then empowered with a compelling soundtrack and sound effects which to be honest, makes the story more personal and interest you more in the story. After you end up the game, you will surely make you a bit emotional as the whole story is very moving.

As said, the gameplay is a combination of people who can dig, save lives and cut through barb wire. But you can do more like punching, throwing grenades or dynamite. The game also has a very good number of powerful puzzles which although are a bit tricky are not super difficult to complete and will not affect your gameplay. So in a way the game can also be considered as a light adventure game as well.

The game sometimes breaks the platform game by introducing some car chases orchestrated with music like the boss levels of Rayman Legends, where barrels or bombs fly in with the rhythm of the music. The music in these scenes are classical music such as the Can Can by Offenbach which gives the moment a bit of comic relief. There are around four moments of this part and they were a great break from the game genre along apart from the sadness and horror of World War 1.

Its cartoonish approach and hand drawn-like makes the game fun and interesting with an artistic touch. The characters, since there is no voice-over depend solely on their facial and body expressions to express emotions of fear, happiness and sorrow. To my experience with the game, the designers have succeeded as after I played the game I empathized and in a way felt sadness. The sceneries are filled with bombs flying around, soldiers running or citizens fleeing in terror while the game goes through a lot of different sceneries like in the streets of Paris, a bombed cathedral, a fortress, POW camps, trenches and much more. As regards to level of difficulty the game has no difference or option apart from a level of difficulty where items which you can interact with are highlighted or not.

In conclusion

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a superb and moving game which although it shows you the horrors of war, it gives you a sense of friendship, honour and inspiration. The story is quite compelling and with its gameplay makes the game a brilliant concept and inspiration for other games to be developed using the same ideology. A true game that makes you part of the story and feel for the people and events during the game, apart from its fantastic artistic point.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War was reviewed by and rated at 10 /10
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