When it comes to games that are based on real life events, mainly about a past war, they usually have been your over the top, first person shooters like the Call of Duty or Battlefield series. But even though Valiant Hearts is a game themed on the First World War, it’s even in the title of the game, it is a completely different experience and gives a new shed of light on something that was so devastating, that even after 100 years from when the war began, emotionally it can still effect people.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a puzzle adventure video game developed and published by Ubisoft. The game is inspired by letters written during the First World War that follows the struggle of four characters, a French Farmer named Emile who has been called up to join the war; Freddie, an American who volunteered to join the French army for vengeance; Anna, a Belgian student who doubles as a battlefield nurse; and a dog who starts off as part of the medic squad for the Germans. Who try to help a young German soldier named Karl, who was one of the many Germans deported, and is forcibly separated from his wife Marie, Emile’s daughter, and their child, reunite with his loved ones.
So where to begin, well first of all the games design seems beautifully hand drawn throughout the whole game, from the characters design to the momentums you collect. But then for a game like this, that’s main focus is on the emotions felt throughout the war, I wouldn’t expect anything different. Yes, even though your triple A titles can use realistic graphics, so much so that there has been many times that people have mistaken it to be the real thing, for something like this it wouldn’t feel right, it seems that the games style has benefitted that plot and the story told from the letters of the war.
Also, it seems that, unlike other war based games, it gives off the feeling that it is focusing on the emotions that each of the 5 characters felt during the war, even the dog. Plus the game does an amazing job of showing these emotions without the use of constant dialogue, with the characters only speaking during a cut scene, and by the sound of things, they are only saying what was written on the real letters that each of these characters wrote during the war.
Instead, the game uses images to point out what your suppose to do next and where to go, though the NPCs you do interact with do make a sound that does sound like they are talking, and they might be in their national tongue, it sounds like a few key phrases that has nothing to do with the task you are doing, maybe a hello or thank you here and there.
Now the length of the game compared to how much it cost, it’s worth it, the game cost just under £13 and there is about 8 hours worth of gameplay for you to enjoy, the only problem is that, once you have completed it, that is pretty much it, ok there might be a few collectables here and there or a trophy/achievement you might of missed, but once you have played through the story that is it, no added extras, no hard mode no nothing, but the game doesn’t need these extras, if anything I think it might of took away from what the games meaning is, if they were there.
So what is the games meaning? It’s for us, who are now 100 years in the future of these events to remember what happened, to use a media that just keeps getting stronger every year to teach future generations of what it would of been like during that time. But more importantly it’s to help us never forget what our ancestors and others did to risk there lives for there country. For this game I will not give it a score because even though in gameplay it’s not worth a 10/10, for it’s story and what it stands for it certainly would be.