Community Review: Valiant Hearts

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?


Comments

    I'll just post @dc's review for him.

    AAAAAAAAAAWWWWWESOMMMMME!!!!!!!!!

    Played chapters 1 - 3 over the weekend and really enjoying it so far. I really dig the art style and music. It's actually prompted me to read up more on WWI. Interestingly it's actually the 100 year anniversary of that war and what better way to commemorate it than to play this game.

      I had been listening to Hardcore History's podcast on World War I for the past month or so. So I was already really invested in the history -- I thoroughly recommend it btw.

        Yo Mark - for those who might also be interested, can you provide a link or some info. about HH?

        Is it the series by Dan Carlin?

          Yeah man, it's the Dan Carlin one.

          You can get them on iTunes or download them here, http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/hharchive

    Where can you get the game, is it digital distribution or boxed for retail? PC only?
    Can't watch the trailer at work.
    I do wish all Kotaku articles would end with a quick list of the platforms a game was for.

    Last edited 30/06/14 11:23 am

    this article is pretty much a perfect review of the game
    ...
    that trailer man... that fricking trailer

    If more games and movies were made like this and not the Cod/Michael Bay variety that glorifies war, I'm tipping there'd be a hell of a lot less recruits eager to sign up.

    Don't tell me they don't impact decisions, I'm a retired soldier and many of the stories I heard from my fellow recruits eventually filtered down to glorifying media.
    I'd love to see the pollies throw a war and no bastard fronted up as the saying goes.

    ...also that dog. :(

      I remember a Clarke story where the law was that the politicians/leaders who agreed to send the nation to war were all executed once the war was over. They had gone to war in the story, so each of them knew they were going to die, it was a really interesting story.

      It was setup that way so that they really would only go to war as a last resort, and that they knew they would have to share the fate of the thousands of their countrymen that they would be sending into battle.
      If that was enacted, I wonder how many wars would end up being fought.

    Finished it over the weekend, it was fantastic start to finish, the music set the tone perfectly, there are a lot of pretty creative puzzles and visually it's a pleasure. I loved the fact that it's a WW1 game where I did not fire a gun once (some vehicles and mounted guns but not one firearm). Highly recommended.

    I am pretty damn excited to see a WWI game, to be honest.

    Finished it Thursday or Friday, so much Baww, especially the end.

    Fantastic point and click style game (even with a controller), reminded me of the old Broken Sword games, but with less getting stuck trying to work out what to click on.

    Bought it on release and haven't started it yet. Finally pushed myself to complete Watch Dogs without hitting 100% over the weekend. Those Fixer mission, Drinking mission and song sneak is so too time consuming.

    Sold. Been eyeing it off, but this cements it. Article and comments both.

    There something about Unisoft Montpellier, there games are artistic and have great themes. Wonder what they'll do next.

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