PAX East 2014: Valiant Hearts: The Great War hits me right in the feels
A video game isn't supposed to make you have emotions. It's just a video game. It's just supposed to be fun and that's all, right? Wrong. A video game that makes you feel feelings you wouldn't expect to is what makes a game not only memorable, but special. Valiant Hearts: The Great War has the makings of a special game. Not just because of it's great art style, but because of the feels.
Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and produced by Ubisoft, Valiant Hearts is a puzzle-adventure game coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC in 2014. Taking place during World War I, you play as multiple characters with a canine sidekick who have their fates intertwined as they try to survive the horrors of the first World War. If you haven't seen the launch trailer, I highly recommend you check it out. That out of the way, I was able to play a demo of the game today and experience the introduction of two of the characters you'll play as.
First, I have to point out the art style. When you play Valiant Hearts: The Great War, it's like you're playing a comic book. The art style is just amazing and oddly enough captures the horrors of war rather well with its shades of greys, browns, and muted colors. There's a scene where there are explosions in the background and soldiers running around that had me totally sucked in to what the developers were doing. By the way, when looking at the game, you would never guess that one person did all of the art for it. True story.
The first character I played as was Emil, a French farmer that becomes a German Prisoner of War and is forced to cook bratwurst for them. Seriously. The first puzzle in the game was putting water into a pot and boiling it to drop sausages into it. While serving the food, the German encampment comes under mortar attack from Allied forces, and Emil retreats into a bunker while the Germans are annihilated. He awakes covered in rubbled with a medic dog companion that helps you solve puzzles and holds items for you. I had to utilize the dog in getting items for me in the short demo, and one puzzle had me shifting weight on a seesaw-like debris to get to a lever to pull a platform up to another lever. The dog is super cute too, so I'm sure I'll become attached and the game will kill him at the end after he's helped anyone. That's how these things go.
The second character I played as was Freddie, an American that volunteered with the French army. Freddie starts out charging down a hill towards a German armored machine gun unit. It guns down a soldier or two in front of him and then it's up to you to figure out how to get past it. I tried throwing bombs, but even with using the trigger to aim and see the path of my throw, I couldn't get it over the top of the armor. So I waited til the gunner was reloading, charged it, and climbed a ladder to a higher platform. Then there was a soldier next to the ladder to descend with a box of bricks to throw down at him. One would think hitting him in the head would knock him unconcious, but the helmet he was wearing negated the brick. So I took a bomb I was carrying on me and threw it near him, watching him hit the ground and duck for cover while I descended and ran past him to another ladder.
Then it was off to a dynamite placement and setting it off to destroy the gunner so French soldiers could advance. Afterwards, a developer told me that wasn't how they meant for me to get past that part. What I was supposed to do is throw the brick away from the guard to draw his attention away from the ladder when he went to investigate. But what I did worked equally as well. He just hadn't seen anyone try that. That said, he was excited and told the other devs because it proves that if you think, you can find multiple ways to get through the game. #GoMe
While my time with the game was short, I can tell that this game is going to be something special. I can't wait to play more of it, whenever in 2014 it finally comes out.