Could Valiant Hearts live up to that trailer? That trailer. Before the game’s release I showed ‘that trailer’ to my wife. I never show trailers to my wife. After it had finished she looked over at me and burst into laughter in sheer disbelief: there was a single tear rolling down my cheek. That was the fifth time I had watched it. Every time. Every single goddamn time.
The promise of that trailer was incredible: the art style was glorious, and immediately reminded me of the incredible animated documentary Waltz With Bashir. The time period it was based upon was rife with potential and possibility. World War I: probably the most brutal war in history, and a fascinating era in terms of how in would impact technology and the power balance of the entire 20th century and beyond.
And then there was the writing. The voice over in the trailer was so masterful. Absolutely gorgeous. If Valiant Hearts could maintain that level of writing, with the art and the history… there would be no way we weren’t looking at a masterpiece in the making here.
So does it maintain that level of quality? Not really. Does it matter?
Again. Not really.
At this stage, about two or three hours into Valiant Hearts I am still loving the game. The writing never really maintains the heights of that trailer, and delves into flat exposition a little too frequently. It talks when it should stay silent and stays silent when it should talk. But Valiant Hearts is so unlike any other game that it’s easy to gloss over. It often devolves into video game cliche, but for the most part this is a brilliant look at war and its impact on the people who fight in it. For all the games we have that feature war — your Call of Dutys, your Battlefields — this is the first game I can remember that looks seriously at the human cost of battle — Spec Ops might be the other exception. Sure, there are caricatures and certain mechanics that subvert that message, but this is a great historical piece and it is put together like nothing else I’ve ever played. It’s something I think players should experience.
Anyone else playing this game? What are your thoughts so far?