Level Up: Valiant Hearts: The Great War

By Samual Cale on May 05, 2016 from Level Up via Connect-Bridgeport.com

One game that has recently captured my attention is Valiant Hearts: The Great War from Electronic Arts. It is a 2D puzzler game with a strong historical background set in World War I. This game is simple, but it can require skill, hard thought, or a combination of the two.
 
Valiant Hearts: The Great Warhas an entertaining and genuinely touching storyline. There are numerous characters whose paths meet and split occasionally, and they are as follows: Emile, a middle aged French man that is drafted to fight for France; his German son-in-law Karl that is drafted to fight for Germany; Freddie, an American soldier that is fighting in the French army in search of revenge; Anna, a medic from Belgium in search of her captured father who is a scientist; and Walt, a Doberman from the German Army that is always happy to lend a hand. Our heroes' motivations lead them in search of a German commander, Baron Von Dorf because Karl is under his command. He has captured Anna's father and is using his research to develop weapons, and Freddie's wife died in an air raid led by Baron Von Dorf. As was aforementioned the primary characters’ paths cross and separate regularly, leading to a somewhat convoluted story, but one that can be followed.
 
Valiant Heartsputs great effort into providing a historical background. You are a witness to numerous historical battles such as the Battle of Marnes, advances in technology such as gas weapons, tanks, and flamethrowers, as well as all the other horrors of war such as prison camps. On every level there is a database that contains some information about the particular events that you will be encountering. There are also collectables that will give information about the daily lives of soldiers and civilians during the war.
 
The gameplay is rather easy to get the hang of, but some of the puzzles will entirely stump the unwary. To progress on many levels you will have to be able to notice the small things, such as a painting that can be knocked aside to reveal a switch. Don't worry, if you have a bit of trouble with a puzzle, hints can be accessed easily. There are some levels that involve driving a car and avoiding obstacles such as other cars, bullets, and everyday road hazards. There are some levels that involve timing your movements correctly either to avoid detection, or to avoid air strikes. There are some parts where you play as Anna and have to use her medical skills to treat injuries by pressing the right button or combination of buttons at the right time. There is enough variety in what the developers have put in the levels that it avoids becoming monotonous.
 
As far as graphics are concerned, Valiant Hearts isn't amazing, but it still looks good. The whole game is in a very smooth style that would seem cartoonish if not for the dark content being displayed. Most people's faces are obscured so that we can only view their nose and mouths. This is achieved either by most characters having helmets or long hair. Valiant Hearts also has very appealing music in the menus and in game. In fact, during the driving sequences, the appearance of obstacles corresponds to the notes being played in the music.
 
In conclusion, I give Valiant Hearts: The Great War a 7/10. It has an excellent story with interesting historical background. Its gameplay is captivatingly simple, and the graphics compliment what is being presented. EA has made a pretty good game, and the best part is this: Valiant Hearts: The Great War is free to play.



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