Reviews for Valiant Hearts - The Great War (NA)


The Human Side of War

bwrussell | June 4, 2015 | See all bwrussell's reviews »

Can a video game be fun, emotional, and educational all at once? The short answer is 'of course' but it's a tough combination to pull off. Enter Valiant Hearts, a narrative-first, 2D puzzle game set in the oft overlooked First World War. Lets start with aspects that provide most of the "fun". The mechanics are a smooth blend of point and click style puzzles and physics or action based puzzling. There shouldn't be any puzzles that cause undue frustration and for the most part the solutions are fairly apparent for anyone who's been around the video game block once or twice. In other games the relatively low challenge level of the puzzles would probably be a detriment but, at least personally, in Valiant Hearts the puzzles were there to simply add contrast and tension to the story. There was even a small section in the final third of the game where the complexity of the puzzles started to draw too much attention away from the story, opening some chinks in the immersion. The hand-painted artwork is very well done, especially some of the character designs, but is easy to overlook because the setting doesn't allow for much color and variety. The animation style is simple but an effective use of parallax backgrounds give the scenes plenty of motion and depth. A simple but hauntingly beautiful soundtrack is used effectively and actually provides some needed levity during the driving sections. Unsurprisingly the emotional punch is brought mostly by the story. I say "mostly" because it was actually some background NPCs that delivered one of the bigger blows personally. With that said, the story is no lightweight, as is to be expected from a game dealing with the travesty that is The Great War. You play four, really five, characters whose personal stories weave back and forth in an implausible but satisfying manner. In fact that's probably a good way to describe the entire plot. While it's clear that the story is a work of fiction and contains some obvious embellishments, it manages to remain grounded through its presentation and focus on the personal side of war. The decision to not focus on nations and figure heads is terrific and gives the frantic and unexpected ending the gravity it deserves. Now to complete the tri-fecta we have the educational aspects. Despite loving pretty much all of the rest of the game this was probably my favorite part. In the U.S. at least, WWI is almost criminally overlooked in most educational curriculums, probably due to our late entry to the war and no fighting happening on our soil, so the chance to learn more in a game setting was exciting. Valiant Hearts accomplishes this in a couple of ways. First off they use real places, real battles, and an accurate depiction of the players involved (it likely would never have occurred to me that the Canadians were heavily involved let alone how instrumental they were at times). For me though the more intriguing tidbits came from the short historical background info, complete with real photos, provided in each level and the collectible system. Scattered through each level are a number of items relevant to the level and war in general. When you find an item you can open a page that provides a little insight to the nature of the item and life during WWI in general. The combination of dramatized but immersive story and real life accounts allows for greater impact than either could provide alone and there in lies the beauty of using games for education. I really hope that the developers can find a way to give some other overlooked conflicts the Valiant Hearts treatment. As promised, that's fun, emotion, and education in one game shaped package. Usually when making recommendations there are caveats like, "probably best for fans of genre X" or "Feel free to pass this up if you don't enjoy Y" but Valiant Hearts has no such caveats. I really feel that there is something here for everyone. Even if you know all the WWI facts already or don't typically enjoy puzzle games (there is a hint system for you folks by the way), simply being reminded that wars are fought by humans, on both sides, is something we all could benefit from.


Nice story but simplistic puzzles

sergebelanger22 | Dec. 17, 2014 | See all sergebelanger22's reviews »

This game went under the radar for a lot of people, including me. However, as soon as I started it, I liked it. I really like the visual design of it. That may be a con for some people, but not me. I think that you like or not that style. The story is very interesting, from the begining to the last second of it. Sensitive heart refrain. The end was not made by Disney. That being said, the gameplay is really basic. It is made of few simplistic puzzles. Sometimes you need some objects to open a door or to fire some dynamites, but you never really get stuck. You play few characters, which have different objects in their hands which adds a little variety to the game. There are plenty of objects to collect in the various levels. Each of them have an element of history attached to them, which is nice for history lovers like me. You can see how many there are in each levels, which are not too long, so you can replay them and try to find them all. I personnally was able to find each of them without too much difficulty. It took around 10 hours total. If you like good stories and learn part of the history, this game is definitely for you. You will learn a lot of fun facts on the First Great War and see that there was no mercy at that time.


Great Game!

884okeoJ | July 8, 2014 | See all 884okeoJ's reviews »

Valiant Hearts explores an area rarely explored in video games, that of the first World War. It is primarily a puzzle game that focuses heavily on story telling and artistic merit. In those ways, this game passes with flying colors. The hand-drawn graphics add a lot to the game, and the story is absolutely fantastic. It makes you care about the characters in a way not many games these days do. The weak part of the game is the gameplay. The puzzles are all fairly rudimentary, and there are no innovative mechanics. That being said, this is not a game which relies on addictive gameplay, more on story. In conclusion, Valiant Hearts is a great story based game that is a definite buy for anyone looking for a World War 1 game.


A great and emotional game

Sharkiller | July 7, 2014 | See all Sharkiller's reviews »

This game is just perfect in its kind. Since you start the game you feel the atmosphere of World War. When a sequence starts the game gives you genuine information about the war, you learn fun facts while you play, important dates, important events, and so on, by playing what is done is revive a parallel step, ie, relive the story from everyday life, which is extremely interesting. That's why the game is perfect ... more than graphics and gameplay, you give a general sweep accompanied by fun facts for the Great War, obviously not replace the book but I think everyone would have actual notion of what was the great war. GAMEPLAY: 8 For the first time I see a game in my life about war that is not based on fire bullets and thats nice. Maybe there is more, but this game have something special. Not a 10 because have some stucks here and there. GRAPHICS: 8 In its class is a real gem, how drawings are managed are fantastic in its simplicity, and animations you always immersed in the middle of a life-style comics. Not a 10 because could be more differences between characters. SOUND 10 The music is great. Some levels you have to play to the beat of the music, great music, and is fantastic. The voices that narrates the story are great too. INNOVATION 10 The game is unique on his kind. Is very immersive and addictive. 100% recommended to play.


Valiant Hearts: A Sad Disappointment

mrminecrafter1 | June 24, 2014 | See all mrminecrafter1's reviews »

I really had high hopes for this game. The storytelling is really fantastic in this game as well as the artistic style. It's more like a comic book than a video game overall. There are hardly any mechanics in the game and the ones that do exist are barely passable. I love story-driven games but a bit more gameplay and the game would've done better. Soundtrack and sound is excellent. The game overall isn't as great as I wished. Unfortunately, this game doesn't stand out. Recommended for people who look for story-driven games.