Valiant hearts: the great war

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By Daniel Krupa
Video games are obsessed with warfare: ancient, covert, modern, futuristic. But Valiant Hearts is one of only a few lớn look at the first World War. It’s a studied depiction, but one in which you rarely shoot a gun. It’s a puzzle adventure that’s much more interested in how people are affected by such terrible events than recreating the violence. It occasionally gets too bogged down with historical trivia, but overall it’s a stylish & sincere adventure with a big heart.

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The most striking aspect of Valiant Hearts is the splendid art direction. Playing it really feels lượt thích watching a wonderful piece of animation, và I was surprised at just how versatile the style is. Of course, it shines at beginning when asked khổng lồ depict the calm of rural France, but it’s equally effective when tackling much more difficult environments. The trenches and frontlines of the war, in particular, resemble scenes from Hell, with thichồng smoke weighing down from above và piles of corpses providing cover. Importantly, the cartoon style never conceals the horror of what is taking place.
Similarly, the characters have sầu much more depth than their flat appearance initially suggests. Set along the border of France và Germany, the story tells the interlocking tales of five protagonists all touched by the war. You spover time with each one, and while the storytelling’s svào enough, it’s the animation which brilliantly reveals so much about each one. Barrel-chested Freddie struts inlớn battle with the conviction of a man out for revenge, while Emile has a downtrodden gait that betrays a weariness that can’t be overlooked. While there are snatches of dialogue, a lot is also conveyed through the inarticulate yet strangely intelligible sounds made by these squat figures.

The bold art style succeeds because of some deft touches, so it’s a shame that the narrator has no qualms with laying it on a bit thiông xã. Nowhere is this more pronounced than at the kết thúc, which is predictably moving, though spoiled somewhat by the narrator underscoring what I already felt unprompted.

Unexpectedly, there’s also a sense of humor to be found. This works brilliantly on occasion, like when Amãng cầu flees Paris khổng lồ the strains of the can-can. But elsewhere, it’s less well-judged. One of the points the story goes to great lengths khổng lồ emphaform size is the universal horror of war & how it affected people of all nationalities; one of the characters you play is a German soldier, even. So to have sầu a bratwurst-chomping, pretzel-loving villain as the only identifiable antagonist seems at odds with the rest of the experience. He’s definitely more caricature than character.

When it comes lớn gameplay, Valiant Hearts is an adventure full of puzzles which aren’t all that difficult khổng lồ solve sầu. It’s clear the experience is being pitched everyone, rather than those who need a challenge. This never bothered me in the slighthử nghiệm – the puzzles are satisfying enough lớn work through, and I actually think getting stumped would have undercut my interest in the plot.

And there’s plenty of variety in what you’re given to lớn vày. Some puzzles involve sầu simple object gathering, while others require strategic costume changes. You’ll lend your h& to lớn plumbing, trench digging, & safe cracking. And it’s all in service of the plot, whether it’s reuniting loved ones or venturing behind enemy lines, the puzzles drive sầu you forward. There are also more action-led sequences dotted throughout – again, they’re not particularly demanding, but vì chưng create some of standout moments. A particular highlight of mine was escaping from a POW camp by moonlight, evading torchlight and hiding behind scarecrows, bushes, và even a herd of wandering sheep.

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Throughout its six or so hour running time, Valiant Hearts does a magnificent job of incorporating so many aspects of the First World War. Each chapter introduces more iconic elements: zeppelins, flamethrowers, tanks, barbed wire, mustard gas, và even things lượt thích military insurrection. Everything finds a place. But what’s really great is they aren’t just chucked in – they’re always used in a way that makes sense: as a mechanic to learn, an obstacle lớn overcome, or even the basis for a new type of puzzle.

Less successful is the way in which it flaunts historical credentials alongside the fiction it’s trying lớn unfold. You’re constantly bombarded with historical fact boxes. Reading them is entirely optional, but I found the prompt too insistent and a bit irritating. It totally clashes with the sense of style created by the art. Valiant Hearts does a great job of presenting such information through the world itself. It doesn’t need Encarta ‘95-style footnotes.


Such crude trivia dumps are at odds with the game's presentation.

It also creates some unnecessary tension between fact và fiction. Right at the beginning, we’re told these stories are freely adapted, & sometimes it’s more of a game than historical re-enactment, và I’m completely fine with that. For instance, there’s a section in which you attack a zeppelin with the help of a busted church organ in Reims’ cathedral. I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen… yet it works, providing a fun, memorable encounter that doesn’t undermine the subject matter. The slight awkwardness comes when the gryên ổn historical reality is presented immediately after one of these more fanciful interludes.

Valiant Hearts focuses on how lives are torn apart, how strangers become saviors, và how madness thrives. It’s a small-scale human perspective of the war, which tries lớn salvage those little acts of love và heroism from a world overwhelmed by violence. There’s not much of a challenge or a reason to revisit once you’ve sầu finished, but the story alone is worth experiencing. Ultimately, it’s a game about warfare that’s more interested in the people và their experiences, than bullets and their targets. I could’ve sầu done without some of the footnotes và heavy-handed narration, but it remains a beautiful, harrowing experience nevertheless.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a puzzle adventure game that follows the story of 5 crossed destinies & a broken love in a world torn apart.

Chuyên mục: Game Tiếng Việt