Its not everyday that you play a game, in all your years of playing them, that is one of the more enjoyable experiences you’ve had with the medium. Now, that’s not to say that Valiant Hearts is one of the very best games I’ve ever played in my life. It may not even be top-10. However, when you factor in it being a Playstation Network exclusive for only $14.99, the game has a bang-for-your-buck value few games can own.
This mini-review wont be coming from the point-of-view of an avid, veteran, gamer who can break down game mechanics or frame rates. I come to you from the perspective of a guy who plays his video games when he has the time. In those rare moments when the needs of work and/or school, and family and/or romantic relationships cease temporarily, and allow you the chance to partake in digital hijinks. A point-of-view many readers of this review may find familiar. Well, Valiant Hearts does a splendid job of filling the role of hijinks enabler.
The game is much more visually appealing then one would assume. It feels like a living comic book with its 2-D style and the limited mobility of its characters. Its not a game with flashy graphics, open-world game-play and big guns to take out loads of baddies. Some might see this lacking as a detriment, but all these things not being there work for the game. Because the essence of the game is a less is more, character driven, story. Now it may not have the graphical brilliance of its $59.99 counterparts, but that isn’t a bad thing. Considering the illustrations are quite beautiful and wholly unique. The look of the game draws your attention with all its battlefield details, despite its cartoon-ish atmosphere. It takes you on a journey with its colorful characters (Emile, Karl, Freddie, Anna and Walt the dog) that is altogether fun, fierce, scary and touching, as they strive to survive the horrors of war while doing good by their fellow man.
Further adding to the intrigue of the story, is its uncommon take on war (the game takes place during World War I). In most war-based games you’re likely to be a tank commander or jet-fighter pilot trying to stop the Nazi invading hordes. However, there was not one instance of any of the characters using a rifle or hand-gun during the action (though you do use some rather large cannons on the rare occasion). The play is more puzzle based. Figuring out how solving one problem (usually helping hurt or trapped villagers) helps to deal with a larger issue at the time. It is all done in a very amusing yet complex way. I’ve always enjoyed having to use my brain in a game, other than seeing how I can kill a bunch of henchmen in a room with my various weapons.
Valiant Hearts is a delightful game with charming characters, a moving story and imaginative game play. It is a game that can connect with all ages, with its generational-spanning approach. I recommend it to any level of gamer who is enjoys history and entertaining tales of heroism. Plus…the game is $15! What really do you have to lose? Believe this writer, i’m not one to use my green-backs in a wasteful fashion, this game is about the price of your average movie theater ticket, and has much longer lasting value.