This post is about a game that I absolutely love but took me three months to get because PSN was being wonky. Valiant Hearts the Great War. Warning! This game may contain SPOILERS!!! Also Warning! This game has instances of violence (hundreds of soldiers dying on screen, one mission has you amputate a soldier's arm, etc).
For those of you who never heard of this game, Valiant Hearts combines three of my favorite things into one beautiful package: History, Puzzles, and a BEAUTIFUL soundtrack. Oh, and a fantastic art style that is similar to sketches (almost like comic books in my opinion). On to the premise!
Valiant Hearts takes place in World War 1 (no not World War 2). At the beginning of the war, a German man named Karl (who married a French woman and is part of a French family) is drafted into the war.
I should mention that this game DOES NOT glamorize war. None of the playable characters even want to be here. The only playable character who joined the war voluntarily is Freddie, an American whose wife (spoiler alert!) was killed in a bombing. And even then the only reason he joined was so he could get revenge on the Germans.
But one would think that Karl is the main hero, right? WRONG! Sure he is a playable character but he doesn't even become playable until three-quarters in to the game.
The main hero is Karl's
(who was drafted into
WWI as well).
And Emile is by far my favorite playable character. He goes through a LOT (he gets shot in the shoulder at the end of the very first level, becomes a P.O.W. for a whole year, barely survived a collapsing building, and even gets, spoiler alert, post traumatic stress disorder/shell-shock syndrome at the end of the game) during the game.
On another note, Valiant Hearts is as authentic and historically accurate as a video game can be. It even has enough true facts about WWI that will give even Wikipedia a run for their money.
And speaking of spoilers, Valiant Hearts has the best ending ever. It's atmospheric, emotional, beautiful, and actually gave me goose-bumps (P.S. you remember that old show called Goose-Bumps? That show gave me nightmares during that puppet episode. ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING!!!! Then again I am apparently the only person in the world that thinks Dilophosaurus is cute so...).
Anyway, on to gameplay. Possibly because I played on max difficulty on my first play-through (because that was obviously a good idea when doing a blind run). this game made me look like a idiot. And that is a good thing! Because I am good at puzzle games and it takes a lot to leave me scratching my head. I remember one puzzle took me an hour to do and even then I cheated by Googling the answer to the puzzle. Only to realize I apparently fail hardcore at numbers!
Emile prepares to face life as a soldier.
Something interesting is that every character has a unique ability. Emile can use his dipper to dig in certain areas, Freddie can cut barbed wire with his pliers, and the only female playable character, Anna, can use her medic training to treat the wounds of allies/civilians (this is done by doing a mini Quick Time Event).
Anna, pro medic!
Anyway, Another important character is Walt the dog. You can't directly control Walt, but you can give him basic commands like "grab item" or "push lever".
And finally, this game has one of the BEST soundtracks ever. I am listening to one of the themes as I type this post. The final song, "War makes men Mad", is a major highlight. Another highlight is "Dreams within Dreams", which is the opening music.
Overall, this is my ALL TIME FAVORITE VIDEO GAME. This game is beautiful, artistic, emotional, has clever puzzles, memorable characters, and a fantastic story complete with one of the best endings I have seen in a LONG time. So I give it the amazing score of 10/10!!!!!!
For more info please play the game yourself.