War! War in games has mostly been glorified. Sure a few games have tried to explain that war is bad and you should be ashamed of yourself if you think otherwise, but I believe that no game has shown that war is hell as realistically as Valiant Hearts: The Great War.
Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, Valiant Hearts is set in 1914, as war breaks out throughout Europe. Families are spilt apart. Soldiers signing up take part in doing their country proud but hopes are dashed as fire and death consume the world and once brave and loyal soldiers have to survive the hell that has taken so many.
There are no good or bad sides. Nothing is black or white; everything is grey. The enemies become allies and friends become enemies.
This game is a story about people. Everyone fighting for their own as artillery shell fire around them, bodies piling up as far as you can see (literally). War was background noise or something the player has to stop before it happens but this is the beginning, during and aftermath of the world’s worst war.
Your character in this game doesn’t even pick up a gun and fire it at the enemy, implying that they don’t want to fight in a pointless war, and that is what I like about this game. The message is clear, done better than other war games have tried to do, it has weight to it and isn’t just someone saying war is bad, it feels like the player is there dealing with it.
The graphics in this game are cartoony and have a unique style to them. A 2D plane with a tint of the early 19th century gives the game the look and feel of an old comic, this gives it a timeless feel.
Gameplay is nothing more than a side scroller with puzzles sprinkled throughout each level. The game also has rhyme sections in which the player is in a car and has to dodge between obstacles. Gameplay isn’t the bread and butter of the game; it is story but as a game it is engaging enough to keep people’s interest.
Each play through I’ve done in this game has given me a deeper understanding of the gameworld and how it depicts the Great War and the people with in. I still get shocked and emotional when it comes to some of the twists that the game unveils.
If people played games that didn’t glorify war, then people will truly understand that war is never a laughing matter.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox
*Ok, yes – we realise our ‘Awesome Unknown’ series doesn’t mean completely and utterly unknown games. But ‘Awesome Lesser Known’ just sounded a bit rubbish…