Valiant Hearts: The Great War review

Ubisoft Montpelier unleashes a historic piece of storytelling in their bite-sized release of Valiant Hearts: The Great War which is available on consoles and PC platforms. With the game providing an engaging story set within the realms of World War I, is this a game worth picking up? Take a look at our video review for the full picture and watch the opening 25 minutes here.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War review:

Today we’re taking a look at Ubisoft Montpelier’s World War I drama, Valiant Hearts: The Great War which is available now on consoles and PC.  From the offset, the game draws you in slowly but surely, after an introduction to the likeable main characters in the opening chapter. Once the dark tone and prelude to the great war has been established, the game then lays on the drama in abundance as you switch between the plights of the three main characters and medical dog. Their stories are all linked and cross paths, which provides some neat twists and turns throughout. However, the story , whilst endearing,  simply fuels a tale of predictive emotions as it doesn’t delve too deeply into the real horrors of war, as it only dances on the surface using hand drawn imagery to exemplify the words. It’s a gentle excursion, but does have its fair share of action moments, where the flavour of being bombarded on the battlefield is well presented.

Playing the game, simply requires movement of the character around predetermined areas set within the 2.5 D world. For a lot of the game you are holding left or right and interacting with specific puzzle solving items. There are also a number of fetch quest type puzzles that require a keen eye and a bit of lateral thinking as you move from one area to the next and fulfil the needs of those around you. It’s generally not too taxing, and if there’s something a little vague hindering your progress, then some handy time based hints are freely available at any time. There’s some neat interplay with the dog which can be ordered to pick up items, enter dangerous areas, pull on levers and such like, but there’s no emotional attachment,bar one moment when it gets caught up in barbed wire. – aside from this the Dog is merely invincible.

There are simplistic elements of stealth also interwoven into the menagerie of varied actions on offer. One moment you’re sneaking passed guards undetected, digging underground rescuing the fallen, and the next, shooting down aeroplanes from within the relative safety of an armoured tank. It’s certainly a game with great pace which never lingers too long on just one element which is good.

In terms of looks, the 2.5 D hand drawn approach is fantastic and does a great job of presenting animated details in the backgrounds that create a stunning atmosphere all round. Whilst the main characters movements are pretty functional,  it’s the visual tour de force of every set piece and element working in tandem that adds to the appealing nature of the game.  Coupled with some excellent sound effects, mumbling voices, quality narration between scenes and a classic score which suits every moment, including the light hearted car chase sequences, the game provides a murky but enjoyable aural feast.

Sadly, Valiant Hearts is over all too quickly with just four chapters available with the ending credits rolling in one afternoon’s play. The game doesn’t beg to be replayed either, bar gathering collectibles, which if you were thorough are easily obtainable the first time through. For £12 the price might be a little steep for the number of hours gained, for the price of a DVD the entertainment value is about the same.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War offers a compelling game filled with historic facts, and a predictable tale of love and war. It’s well presented with its rich hand drawn visuals, and excellent audio, but simply lacking in gameplay to be regarded as anything more than an interactive story. It’s brevity is also an issue where its asking price is reasonable, but not necessarily likeable simply because there’s no replay value at all. If you are looking for some entertaining but mild puzzle solving with a splattering of movement based set pieces, wrapped up in a digestively cute story, then this is worth a shot, although for anyone on a budget it would be prudent to wait until the asking price lowers.

Score 7/10 – Review By Robert Cram

 

 

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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