The gaming community has had plenty of WWII and futuristic war games over the years, but one period of time that is seriously lacking is that of the WWI era. Well, Valiant Hearts: The Great War is one game that tries to fill in that gap, and I think Ubisoft Montpellier have done a wonderful job with that! A great indie puzzle adventure game that will also pull at your heartstrings.
Valiant Hearts will take you through the story of two main characters that you’ll swap back and forth from throughout the game. You’ll crawl through the trenches, wander the city streets and even try to escape from the enemy in a random companion’s vehicle on this journey through WWI France. The heart of this game is its story and boy is it a great one. It’s fantastically written and while there’s no dialogue aside from the narrator you will still be swept up by what is happening to these characters as you join them in their journey. The character development is great as well and you’ll be in for a roller coaster of emotions and by the end you might even shed a tear or two. I felt that the game as a whole captured the WWI feel fairly accurately to make it seem like you’re there as best as they could.
The gameplay is fairly decent as a side-scrolling adventure puzzle game. In most of the levels you’ll be tasked at finding objects, uncovering clues, sneaking past guards and ultimately reaching your end goal to move on to the next level. There are even a couple “driving” sections where you’ll need to avoid objects that are being thrown at you in order to escape. One great aspect that was put in the game is the clues you’ll uncover will also provide you with real-world facts about WWI and were very educational as I went through reading them. Some of the controls took a while to get used to, often leading to some complicating sections, but after a few levels you get the hang of things. At some parts during the game you’ll also be tasked at some QTEs (quick-time events), starting off small and then a very lengthy one at the end of the game that could throw some people off.
Visually this game looks gorgeous with its unique art style. All the graphics were hand-drawn and look wonderful. Between the 2D format and the unique art style this game is a joy to look at while playing. The audio in this game is what really hits the high point for me. The score throughout the game is one of the best, which knows just when to hit the appropriate tones for what is currently going on in each level.
I don’t know how much more I could talk highly of this game. It was a nice surprise and ended up being one of my favorite indie games in a while. You’ll get a very enjoyable 8-10 hour ride in the under-used WWI setting with a fantastic story, music and characters. With only a minor setback in gameplay controls that isn’t enough to affect my thoughts about this game overall. If you haven’t given this gem of a game a chance then I highly recommend you do!
- Fantastic, engaging story and characters
- Great art-style
- Equally fantastic score
- Enough level variety to keep flow constant
- Gameplay controls can be odd at first