Lets not get carried away; as a work of World War I art its no Paths of Glory, Regeneration, Birdsong or All Quiet on the Western Front. We also encountered one weird bug, where going in the wrong direction during an early chase sequence caused the sequence to halt and the chase to roll on indefinitely, without anyone actually in pursuit. And while its not a tough game, its full of enjoyable or exciting set-pieces, whether these involve a moonlight raid for medicine behind enemy lines or a daring escape from a POW camp.VerdictValiant Hearts isnt perfect, and not everyone will like its tone, its graphic novel style or its story, but its a strange, beautiful and genuinely special game. With no inventory system as such the puzzles are often limited to moving objects here and pushing levers there, digging through spaces, rotating wheels or distracting guards.
Where other games have tried to bring war to life through realism like Brothers in Arms or the early Calls of Duty or through dark fantasy, like The Darkness, Valiant Hearts does it through artistry and suggestion.Nor are the action or stealth sequences particularly challenging. Following on from Child of Light a beautiful, artsy celebration of 16-bit Japanese RPGs we now have a kind of 2D graphic adventure, visualised like a European graphic novel and exploring the horrors of the First World War.Normally wed look at this kind of thing pretty harshly and start muttering about style, substance and unsatisfying arthouse tosh.
For that alone, it deserves to be played.99 asking price, thats not a huge problem. Sure, we get the mud, the machine-gun fire, the trenches, but this is more a game about smaller, human moments than about waves of men being thrown over the top to die. Valiant Hearts biggest problem is that the gameplay can be pedestrian, no matter how imaginatively its visualised.
If anything, it makes it all the more shocking, and perhaps less prone to the usual WWI clichs. Its a generous game with checkpoints, too.Available on Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 reviewed, PCWere not sure what Ubisofts management has been drinking, but we wish the boards of other gaming giants might take a sip or two. It has the look of an old newspaper strip or Franco-Belgian bande dessine, where gruff, highly stylised characters play out their dramas against gloomy, sketched-in backdrops, the game occasionally and abruptly shifting to a split-screen or frame-in-frame mode to show you incoming planes, a German sniper, or a friend in imminent peril of a gas attack.
It also flits between styles, working mostly as a kind of 2D puzzle platformer come graphic adventure, but tossing in into-the-screen chases, pseudo boss battles and rudimentary stealth sections.The chapters flick back and forth between the four intersecting stories, focusing understandably on the French side of the action, but not entirely demonising the Germans, bar a few obvious villains and strutting moustachioed guards. In a way, the game feels like its rooting for you to keep going, push your way past the obstacles and follow the heroes on their journeys. Its not that this stuff isnt interesting it is but youre best advised to come back to it periodically rather than let it spoil the flow.
It’s not even a Blackadder goes Forth.Its the tale of four people and one heroic dog, as an enlisted French farmer, an American volunteer, a reluctant German trooper and a brave Belgian vet become embroiled in the events of the Great War. If you thought the puzzles in Broken Age were disappointingly simple, then you might not even consider Valiant Hearts puzzles to actually be puzzles.It will, however, make you think, make you feel, and maybe see things from a whole new perspective.
The animation hums with personality, giving heroes a distinctive shamble or a muscular onward stride.Its not always effective. Valiant Hearts has flaws, some fairly deep, but you certainly cant accuse Ubisoft of playing safe.Theres also an endearing warmth here.
Still, given the 11. In fact, when it tries to educate, it goes a little overboard, with an onslaught of virtual information cards that give background details on the war, the lives of soldiers and the various trials, tribulations and terrors of life on the front. The highlights involve the dog, whos used as a sort of remote helper, going into areas where your hero cannot reach or cant be seen.Read more: Best PS4 games.
There may well have been a boss battle in the smoking ruins of Rheims Cathedral involving a Zeppelin and a shattered pipe organ, but history is oddly silent on the subject.There are other complaints, but they’re all pretty minor. The narrative ties into real events, but Valiant Hearts is playful enough to embroider them. Theres humour, music, silliness and more than a little sentimentality, yet Valiant Hearts never feels disrespectful.
With Valiant Hearts, though, we just don’t have it in our hearts to do anything more than grumble. Even these, however, wont have you scratching your head for more than a minute. The characters are sketchy, with no dialogue bar mumbled half-lines and simple, graphic prompts, yet that simplicity works in its favour you get enough to understand their hopes, fears and needs. Like a lot of games, Valiant Hearts seems weirdly obsessed with collectibles, and as in too many games that obsession seems at odds with an often desperate tale of struggle and survival.
Finally, its not exactly massive, with even the longest of its four chapters rattling by in around ninety minutes.Like Child of Light, with which it shares the UbiArt 2D framework, Valiant Hearts is an incredible-looking game. Your heart might sink at the thought of a boss battle in a game where heroes only have one life, but theyre still pretty easy, and the same goes for the different chase sequences. You can see the same spirit at work as in Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends; a desire to not be confined by style or genre, but to take what works for each situation and give it a go. If you have any suggestion, just let me know.