Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Release Date: 6/24/2014
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It’s been a long time since I have played a game through an entire day and couldn’t put it down. Valiant Hearts will keep you instantly glued to the screen thanks to its rich history, characters, and story. Valiant Hearts is probably the only WW1 game I can remember playing. There is a huge lack of WW1 games and I’m glad Ubisoft decided to make it a 2D platformer rather than an FPS. The game is brilliant on many levels and fans of these types of games will not be disappointed.
You play as four different characters all fighting the tragic war in France. A German, an American, a French woman, and a Frenchman. The game reenacts major battles from WW1 and also gives you a history of what really happened during that time period. You can also go around collecting trinkets that are from the war. It’s great for history buffs or anyone who’s curious about what really happened during WW1 since WWII is all anyone talks about.
With that said, the game mixes up stealth, action, and puzzle solving; all of which are excellent. There’s no real fighting in the game, you don’t get a gun. You are mainly just trying to survive this tragic war while you watch everyone around you die. It gives you a sense of helplessness and makes you realize just how terrible and brutal WW1 was. The game is played on several 2D planes. Using the background and foreground to solve puzzles; all of which are completely different but the mechanics tend to be the same and it gets a bit old towards the end. However, many sequences are cinematic and scripted which keeps you glued. I can honestly say the game is well-paced and perfect for a one-day gaming spree.
I did find some issues here and there such as a few puzzles being extremely vague, but it’s nothing that some trial and error and exploration won’t solve. There is a hint system for people who aren’t very good at puzzles, but it can also be turned off. Some of the more frustrating areas were the action sequences in which bombs drop and you have to dodge enemy fire. A lot of it is trial and error because the game rushes you through it. Expect to restart and die several times throughout this game.
The graphics alone are just gorgeous and the colors pop on PS4 and Xbox One. The sound is excellent and the music is wonderful. Many pieces are classical symphonies from the time period so it adds even more authenticity to the game.
With that said, Valiant Hearts is probably a hidden gem that many people will pass up. It’s tragic, it really teaches and shows you every step of WW1 and enlightens you on just how terrible the human race can be. From mustard gas bombings to the creation of tanks and aircraft, WW1 was just a stepping stone for WWII.