Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Amazon Last Minute Christmas Sale Save Big On Tech After Black Friday

It's not too late to pick up tech gifts from Amazon. It's Last Minute Christmas Deals sale has discounts across smart home, laptops, monitors, speakers and other gadgets.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War review


"Adventure game set during World War 1 and styled like a French animation" is the kind of description one might expect from an experimental indie game, but not so much from Assassin's Creed and Far Cry publisher Ubisoft. Here's Valiant Hearts though, the prettiest thing you ever did see.

It's very easy to expect it to be a subdued, tragic affair, covering as it does one of humanity's bloodiest conflicts. However, the beautiful 2D, comic-like graphics are the only way in which Valiant Hearts is genuinely unusual. At its heart it's a fairly routine point-and-click puzzle game, with a propensity for the wacky and outlandish rather than dwelling too much on the reality and darkness of war.

There are sad moments in its tale of four very different protagonists drawn together through conflict, but for the most part it's cartoon capers. There's even a suspiciously smart and super-helpful dog in there - it's not quite Scooby Doo in the Somme, but it's certainly not All Quiet On The Western Front.

It's difficult to tell from afar - especially as the marketing has tried to make Valiant Hearts look like a hand-drawn War Horse - but it may well be that this is really a children's game. Carefully-told nuggets of WW1 history are in there, and might well be picked up by a curious young mind in between solving puzzles about organ-playing dogs and giant underground gas machines, or rhythm action sequences in which Parisian cars dance to the Tango. On that basis, Valiant Hearts is a triumph - educational without being at all overtly so.

For an adult, it's more problematic. The rhythm action sequences (also used, bizarrely and inappropriately, to perform field surgery on shelling and gas victims) are irritating, while the more general puzzles too often involve finding levers to open doors, so it can be a bit of a slog. They're rarely hard - if anything they're too obvious - but there's a lot of trudging back and forth required to complete them.


A sustained level of visual invention makes Valiant Hearts hard to put down despite this, but the reason to continue is to find out what artful oddity will next occupy your screen, not because of any sense of triumph from the puzzles.

The game's tendency to lean towards the absurd also harms its ability to be moving, which is a great shame. When tragedy does occur it rings hollow, because we've seen characters survive other things unscathed and repeatedly perform superheroic acts.

 The takeaway sense is that Valiant Hearts has a bold appearance and a bold subject matter (both in terms of World War 1 being an uncommon game setting and that this isn't an action title) but it couldn't quite find the game design to go with it. Even so, it's really not far off 'not to be missed' status. It might not get it quite right, but games that aim as high as this - especially when they come from an organisation which usually makes determinedly mainstream action games - really should be encouraged.

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Chicken Nachos

Chicken Nachos are the perfect thing for a busy weeknight dinner. They are easy to throw together using leftover chicken and can be customized using whatever Mexican toppings your gang enjoys.

Vorwerk Kobold VR300 Review

At nearly £1000, does the VR300 offer enough to justify the purchase when you can pick up a robot vac for £100s less? Find out in our Vorwerk Kobold VR300 review
Should I Buy The Vorwerk Kobold VR300?
It’s expensive, but the Kobold VR300 provides an impressive vacuuming experience that we think could rival that of a conventional vacuum cleaner, but it’s not as smart as some rivals – yet. The low-profile design, upgraded SLAM technology and D-shape design allow the VR300 to safely navigate around obstacles and reach every last nook and cranny.

Asus ZenBook 14 (UX433) Review

Asus has revamped the ZenBook line with a whole new design, including a lighter build, redesigned hinge, and a light-up numpad built right into the touch pad
Should I Buy The Asus ZenBook 14 UX433?
The ZenBook 14 is a very promising shakeup to the Asus laptop line. It’s smaller, lighter, and better looking than any of the previous models, without having to sacrifice either ports or powers. There aren't many laptops around that can offer you a 14in display in a body this compact while still giving you USB-A and HDMI ports, not to mention a Core i7 processor.
Unless you're an Excel addict you can probably safely ignore the glowing numpad - it's a fun gimmick, but most of us will probably forget it's even there, and without tactile feedback it's hardly a proper replacement for the keys. Still, this is a strong enough laptop elsewhere that it doesn't need that gimmick to get by, and there's plenty to recommend it otherwise.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review

Nth Time's a Charm

If you groaned at the thought of another "Spider-Man" movie, fear not because you weren't alone. How many times can one character be rebooted or reimagined before it becomes insufferable? Apparently we aren't there yet, because "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Everyone's history with the movies about our favorite neighborhood webslinger differs. Sam Raimi's trilogy has its diehard fans (despite only producing one truly great film) and the Andrew Garfield-led "The Amazing Spider-Man" movies were cut short when they didn't meet expectations (the first one is good!). Last year, Jon Watts' "Spider-Man: Homecoming" found Tom Holland in the title role, providing a fun, well-rounded look at the character, which had been missing for a while.

Amazon Last Minute Christmas Sale Save Big On Tech After Black Friday

It's not too late to pick up tech gifts from Amazon. It's Last Minute Christmas Deals sale has discounts across smart home, laptops, monitors, speakers and other gadgets.

Like Fan Page