This game was played on the Xbox 360 console.
Games based after historical events are always an interesting way to teach history, even when you think you know all the facts from reading textbook after textbook. However, ‘Valiant Hearts: The Great War,’ takes a unique and humanistic look at the struggles from everyone involved in World War I. It’s not just a history game for kids, it’s actually more gory that one might think. It takes art directory, puzzles, adventure, story, and a loyal canine companion and creates a nice package.
Four complete strangers who have been thrown into the war become intertwined with each others’ destinies.
- Karl is a German living in St. Mihiel, France with wife, Marie, his infant son, Victor, and his father-in-law, Emile. When it was announced that France was at war with Germany, all German citizens were forced to leave the country, including Karl. Upon returning to his homeland, he is enlisted into the German army.
- Emile, Karl’s father-in-law, is also enlisted to fight in the war by the French army; and this is only a few days after Karl is deported. Leaving his daughter Marie to look after the farm and her infant son, Emile goes back to a place he thought he would never go again: war. However, during his first battle, Emile is heavily wounded, as is taken to a prisoner camp.
- Freddie was one of the first Americans to join the war (America didn’t officially join until April 7th, 1917). He enlisted into the French army soon after the conflict started with one sole purpose in mind: revenge. After losing the love of his life when the Germans bombed France, Freddie vowed vengeance on the German Regiment that took the one thing that mattered to him the most.
- Anna, a Belgium citizen, was in Paris focusing on her studies when war broke out. When the conflict first started, she received a letter from her father imploring her to not return to Belgium until the war was over. However, Anna was never one for sitting around. Months later, Anna finds out that her father, a brilliant engineer and inventor, has been kidnapped by the Germans and forced to make weapons of war for them. Anna sets off to rescue her father and crosses paths with Emile and Freddie, who are heading in the same direction as she is!
- Finally, there’s Walt. Unlike the other characters, Walt isn’t a human. He’s a Doberman Pincher, who originally belonged to a German military kennel as a medicine dog. And like most dogs, he’s one of the most loyal friends a soldier could hope for. This dog is an essential key on getting through the war, and luckily, he’s your best friend.
Art Style and Graphics
This game is exactly like a 2D comic book adventure, which Ubisoft stresses in past interviews and in their description of the game. Despite it being 2D, the background art adds depth and is just amazing! The motions are simple, but just… the perfect kind of simple. You’d really have to play it for yourself to get a feel for it.
Music and Sound
While there is some dialogue in this game from the narrator, there isn’t much between the characters themselves. Well, they do have voices, but most “dialogue” between characters is communicated via speech bubbles with symbols and pictures. Another neat thing is that each character speaks their own respective language based on where they are from. Karl speaks German (and a little bit of French), Emile speaks French, and so on and so forth.
The soundtrack is absolutely great. There are some classical music numbers that are just lovely; especially how they incorporated the soundtrack to action sequences. This creates a delightfully entertaining way of playing the game.
History and Collectables
Each chapter has a set of items for the player to collect. These collectables are items that were used during World War I. When the player collects an item, it gives a little background story of the significance the item had in the war.
There are also little history blurbs that pop up, depending where the characters are at during the game. These blurbs consist of short synopsis of certain battles and locations. It’s a nice little history lesson while playing the game!
This is probably one of the best historical games ever made. Currently, it’s being sold on all console systems and on Steam for $14.99, which is not a bad price for this game.
This is highly recommended if you want to play a game with star-crossed characters and a deep, bittersweet story on the conflict of war and being separated from your loved ones.