• Art Design
  • Story
  • Gameplay
  • Sound Design
  • Replay Value

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a beautiful melody of art, music and gameplay that can keep one enraptured for the entire experience. The game takes place in World War One, which given the trend of today’s games, is a much different setting. There is no combat involved in this wartime game, instead it  focuses on driving the narrative along with fun puzzles and, at times, button sequence mechanics that vary enough to never get stale.

The game focuses on 4 different protagonists, all of them relating to each other in some meaningful way that doesn’t feel forced. The gameplay is simple and elegant, only utilizing 4 button on your controller at any time. This makes it all less convoluted and it is hard to mess up or forget mechanics. The puzzles are never that hard, sometimes requiring you to find a piece to complete a machine or throwing a well-placed grenade in order to lower a platform.

The art style seems to be all handcrafted cartoon, using a large color pallet and highlighting important objects or aspects of the environment, making very pleasing to look at. The music is also beautifully entwined within the levels, and in some instances of driving in the game, sync with how obstacles come down the screen, sometimes making me burst out loud in laughter at how amazingly it was crafted.

emile karl Narratively, this game holds no punches in making the player feel for the characters on screen. They all have their own motives, from a father being separated from his family because of the draft , a father seeking his son in law to help ease his daughter’s heart, an American, looking for revenge for a lost loved one or a nurse, searching for her father that had been captured by the Germans. In the story they cross paths and help each other out in their goals, creating a bond using little to no dialogue minus the narrator. The diary entries collected in game shed light on how the characters are feeling and their thoughts and motives behind the story, allowing the player to become closer with the characters in the game.

One of my favorite features in the game is its combination of the story and true facts about the war. As you collect items or go to new levels in the game, facts are fed to you, all coming from true historians and organization that focus on preserving the history of the war. Not only are you able to play an amazing game, but you can learn some knowledge on the war and how it really was. This is a great feature for people who are into history as much as I am, and provides context to what the gameplay experience is feeding you as well. For example, in France, Taxis were used to transport troops to the front, while hey only consisted of carrying .3 percent of troops, this created a rallying point for civilians at the time. These facts are then depicted in game as the nurse takes up the role in transporting troops to the front in search for her father. This blend creates a sense of realism in what you are playing and gives true reasons as to w
hy you are doing, not just creating an ambiguous experience with no context.

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The Verdict

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is an amazing gameplay experience and deserves every minute of your time while playing it. The settings and art create something that is visually amazing to stare at, while the musical score sets the perfect mood for the game. The characters are more compelling than many seen in AAA titles and all have a good sense of realism to them which is refreshing to see. This game is a must buy in my eyes. For 15 dollars, I feel it is a much deeper experience than many 60 dollar games out today. This game fires on all cylinders and doesn’t slow down all the way.