There are some people I talk to who at the mere mention of video games will give me a look that says “You are a child” and then proceed to tell me about how they’d never play games because they’re an utter waste of time.
Valiant Hearts is a fine example of why I think these people are out and out wrong.
The art of this game is something special. It’s drawn in a style that reminds me of films like The Triplets of Belleville where the characters are clearly cartoons and yet in many ways more accurately portray what it is to be human more than some kind of high polygon count rendered character.
It’s about three men. A French farmer, his friend the German farm hand, and an African American who had found the love of his life in Paris, only to have her stolen away by the war.
I’m playing the IOS version on my iPad. The controls are clear and easy to master, and the overall mechanic involves moving through the landscape, overcoming obstacles and interacting with people and objects as you go.
One of the things that separates the truly great video games from the pack is that they are all backed by truly epic stories, competently told. I can’t think of many stories more epic than The Great War, and this game portrays it from a very human perspective. It’s first and foremost about loyal friends and how their friendship transcends nationalism and politics.
Through the course of the game as you navigate our three unfortunates through obstacle after obstacle helping them survive the horrors of war. The puzzles can be as simple as getting over a pile of rubble from an exploded grenade to as complex as figuring out how to manipulate a gigantic machine with complex networks of pipes to produce a desired result.
So definitely give this game a try, and prepare to feel something other than the adrenaline rush you’re used to.