Valiant Hearts: The Great War - Xbox One

Release Date:

25 June 2015

Also on:

Xbox One PS4

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.
8.0

Summary:

Valiant Hearts: The Great War on the Xbox One is a unique look into one of the most historically important conflicts in the history of planet Earth. Developed by the team at Ubisoft Montpellier, Valiant Hearts is a 2D action/adventure game set during World War 1 with the art trappings of a comic book. Focusing on a broken love story, Valiant Hearts interweaves a truly stirring account of different people trying to survive this devastating war as tragedy befalls them both physically and emotionally. The game was a transformative experience and definitely worth picking up on your Xbox One.

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Posted:
2015-07-16

Steven_Shaw

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Xbox One

7.9

Valiant Hearts: The Great War on the Xbox One is a unique look into one of the most historically important conflicts in the history of planet Earth. Developed by the team at Ubisoft Montpellier, Valiant Hearts is a 2D action/adventure game set during World War 1 with the art trappings of a comic book. Focusing on a broken love story, Valiant Hearts interweaves a truly stirring account of different people trying to survive this devastating war as tragedy befalls them both physically and emotionally. The game was a transformative experience and definitely worth picking up on your Xbox One.

We don’t often go to a video game with the intention of learning something or feeling something, but that was exactly what happened with Valiant Hearts. Though leading up to its release the title was fairly enigmatic, we pretty much knew exactly what we were getting after a few short minutes playing the game. This wasn’t a platformer or a puzzler. This wasn’t even a shooter. This was an interactive theatrical experience, built on the UbiArt Framework, that took us on an emotional journey. If we had to put the game into a firm genre slot we would call it a side scrolling puzzle game with occasional forays into action territory, but these are not common and that makes them all the more impactful as a result. The goal of this game is to push you emotionally and mentally and let all of the physical stuff carry out as a side effect.

So in Valiant Hearts you will be playing a bunch of different characters who have all been affected by the war. Emile is a French war vet, Freddie is a US Commando, and Anna is a Belgian nurse. Those three people are the primary storylines that you will be following and you will jump nimbly between them all as their stories reach crossroads or even intersect. The primary goal of the game is for you to enjoy, identify, root for, and despair with these characters as they go through their harrowing and intensely emotional stories.

You also have access to a playable dog that befriends your soldier’s crew and allows you access to a whole other side of the puzzler based experience. The dog can get under barbed wire, fetch items for you, pull down levers, and squeeze through areas that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. Whatever character you decide to play as, the other characters on screen will be relegated to AI control. This means when you play as the dog then your human character is controlled by the AI. Otherwise the AI handles the canine and does most of that work.

Developed on the UbiArt Framework, as we mentioned above, gave us some pretty high hopes for Valiant Hearts: The Great War. Other titles developed by Ubiart were Rayman Legends and the underrated Child of Light - both elite game experiences. While the game has all of the benchmarks of the development program, it still isn’t quite visually comparable to the aforementioned titles. Instead everything has a hand drawn, classic comic book aesthetic. You can see individual pencil strokes and brush strokes in certain details and all of the characters have a sort of stilted quality to their movement. It’s definitely a unique art style and it is absolutely representative of what this sort of comic would have looked like in that period of times. The artwork is pretty and you will probably like it.

We did run into some puzzling glitches while we were playing The Great War. There was a notable moment where a cart full of explosives were supposed to explode and clear a path ahead for our character. It never happened and we had to restart the sequence a couple of times until it happened. We also lost control of our character at one point due to how quickly we entered and exited a room. We had to restart the game in order to regain functionality. Hopefully a patch will be released to fix these relatively uncommon, but still visible, glitches. Nothing quite ruins the immersion of a story like an unresponsive controller.

Due perhaps to its difficulty and perhaps to the nature of puzzlers, Valiant Hearts offers loads of save points with the checkpoint system. So in the event that you glitch out, die, or get stuck you can always double back to a prior point in time and have another crack at something. Speaking of taking a crack at something, the puzzles in the game are done very well. There are multiple ways for you to solve puzzles and the game doesn’t force you to do things in any 'one' particular way. There is room to think and open your mind to different ideas, thankfully. Getting away from the puzzler aspect, we also have to applaud the inclusion of several driving sequences that added a whole lot of flavor to what was a relatively singular note experience.

But all of what we talked about can be considered an appetizer next to the entre that is the story. A twisting affair, with multiple POVs, has you on the edge of your seat and anxious to know more. Valiant Hearts is a series of fictional stories told simultaneously but still based off of a very real war and the very real people inside of it. The depth of emotion and drama that the writers were able to wring out of the game is astounding and we would not be the least bit surprised to see some sort of spin off medium, be it on camera or in book format, come from this game. We don’t want to spoil any of the answers that the story gives you from your questions so we won’t comment further upon it. Just be sure to pay attention.

All in all Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a solid source of entertainment thanks to beautiful art direction and complex, well written, story.

Submitted by Cheat Title Rating
profile Moderator Unlockable Achievements.
Jun 21, 2015
10

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Release Date:

25/06/2015

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