Valiant Hearts: The Great War

released on Jun 24, 2014

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is the story of 4 crossed destinies and a broken love in a world torn apart. Dive into a 2D animated comic book adventure, mixing exploration, action and puzzles. In Valiant Hearts, the lives of all these characters are inextricably drawn together over the course of the game. Friendship, love, sacrifice and tragedy befall each one as they help each other to retain their humanity against the horrors of war.

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What a wonderful video game. The art is amazing, as well as the sound, which includes the voices of the characters and the music behind. The gameplay is fun and makes you think about what you should do, but it's not hard. There's also variety in terms of mechanics. The characters are well constructed. The controls are easy. Throughout the map, you can find collectibles and read diary notes about historical facts from the World War I, which I think is very interesting.
One of the best from Ubisoft, in my opinion. Congratulations to all the team behind this masterpiece.

"Not Much Of A Valiant Effort"
This game has been in my PS Plus catalog for a very long time, and I have a vague recollection of trying it out close to when it was handed out for free. The art style was simple but appealing enough, and it claimed to present a touching tale set during World War 1. I figured I would give it a shot lately, but I feel like the years haven't been kind to this one. That and the blatant overrating of the game as well.
The game is a pretty simple one mechanically. It's an adventure/puzzle game where you interact with objects in the environment, throw items around, and utilize different characters to solve problems. It's incredibly linear which is to be expected, but I was shocked to find that the majority of puzzles are simple in nature. They boil down to "find lever", "find grenade", "don't get spotted", "avoid mines in road", etc. This led to a gameplay loop that felt very unengaging and weak in practice.
I figured this would be fine if the story was good enough, but this one is definitely anything but special. It's a typical story involving following a group of characters and how their paths cross during World War 1, but the issue is that you learn nothing about them besides the fact that you should somehow care about them compared to other nameless NPC's. I can't really believe this was hyped up back in 2014 as something incredible considering how basic it is, but I guess I can see how some people would care about a game set in wartime that didn't really involve copious amounts of action. The issue here is that if you're going for an emotional and gripping story, you need to have the quality writing to go along with it, otherwise it comes off like a picture book.
The presentation is fine but just lacks a lot of character. Environments blend together which can be argued to be accurate to the battlegrounds of WWI, but I think it takes away from the importance of these battles to have a bunch of hazy greys, blacks, and washed-out colors when a parallel to pre-war times could've showed the opposite. This method is scarcely used in the game and makes it a dull experience in return.
This is just a really weak adventure game that forces a personal story of WWI that lacks a lot of emotion, character building, and cohesive storytelling. Puzzles and action are boring and repetitive, and the presentation fails to make it stand out enough as well. I would Not Recommend playing this one honestly, as it feels more like a steppingstone for other great war titles in the medium to take off from than a fun game to interact with.
Final Verdict: 4/10 (Below Average)

Solid little puzzle game with a simple but emotional story. I really liked the juxtaposition of the simplistic artstyle/dialogue and heavy story and the puzzles remained pretty fun throughout, though I did get kind of tired of Anna's medical minigame by the end of her chapter. I also appreciated the educational approach but it didn't really teach anything most people wouldn't get out of high school history class.

Decent. A deep-cutting indie game that you'll forget about in a couple months.