• War games are all about how many kills you can get, the way the buildings fall, the realistic nature of bullet mechanics and other things. Very few games that focus on war have any real emotion behind them and even fewer of these games truly detail the most tragic nature of war, loss. Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a title that favors story telling in a deep and very emotive way. Focusing on the intertwining lives of a hand full of people the title tells the story of war from the perspective of the people in the middle of the conflict. This is a war game but very rarely do you actually shoot anyone, rather the gameplay is based on puzzle solving in the environment. The art direction and the raw emotive melodic scores really sell this game and its one I feel everyone will benefit from and enjoy playing. Give this a try and if you’re not in love with this then you’re dead inside.

    The very first melody heard during the intro sets the scene for the whole game, strikingly beautiful yet hauntingly sorrow filled. 1914 and Germany declares war on all, every German citizen living in other countries must leave and go back to the mother land. This includes Karl who is a farmer in France, he must leave his French wife and child and go enlist. Days later his father in law Emile, an older gentleman must join the French army, both of these men are forced and immediately we feel the sadness they have. During the game we not only play as these two but also Anna, a Belgian nurse and Freddie, an American who fights in the French army.

    What I love about this title is the variety of emotions and motivations they have. Anna just wants to help everyone and anyone, uniforms do not matter. Freddie is all about revenge and the first two characters mentioned above just want this war to be over so they can go home. Gameplay is all about puzzle solving, and distraction. There are fetch quests as well as mini games. There are levers to pull and dogs to give commands to, none of these ever get in the way of the biggest attraction of this game, the story. All of the missions and puzzles have a point to them, all move the story forward.

    The best instance is the boss fight I had with a Zeppelin where I had to beat it with grenades and a musical Organ (piano). Another instance was distracting a guard with a grenade then running around when his back was turned. There are also a ton of collectibles and war memorabilia here, historical facts and diaries are all over the place as the truly terrible conditions of war are bought into harsh reality as real life events remind us that war indeed is hell. Second to the story is the beautiful art style this title has. The cartoon like drawings really aid in the feel of war, it’s an odd thing to say but when depicted in this way the horror and beauty of war are captured nicely.

    Not only does this graphical style let the designers both give charm to each character but meaning and emotion. I love how hats hide each character’s eyes and the way they run across the screen as if on skates. The backgrounds are highly detailed and in a 2D world the impression on depth and 3D is given. Musicality is story in both sound effects and the scores that play in the back. The only issues were the odd mismatch between the accents during gameplay and during narration. Also some of the parts of Freddie’s story arch were very clichéd and for me it was the weakest story of the characters.

    Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a shining example of how a unique art style and deep story telling can give us a title where emotion is king. I really am loving the work done by the guys over at UbiArt. Not only do we have a game that is equally brutal as it is beautiful but a title in which every idea works perfectly well, apart from a few clichés and slightly over the top narrative aspects. This game educates, excites, saddens and mesmerizes in equally volumes. Simply put, I say buy this now.

    This review was made possible thanks to code provided by Xbox.

    Valiant Hearts: The Great War - Review
    Beautiful and haunting both in equal measures.
    Our Score9
    Positives
    • Story telling is at the forefront of a wonderful gaming experience.
    • The graphics here are nothing short of stunningly creative.
    Negatives
    • Some clichés and odd narration accent mix ups.
    9Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
    7.2

    About The Author

    UK Editor

    A gamer that loves to play games and write about them. Just living the dream.