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Valiant Hearts: The Great War, The human side of the Great War

While gaming often examines and even glorifies armed conflict, Valiant Hearts takes a different route. And while this game has been available for some time, it has a new lease on life thanks to PSN’s instant game library system… and proves itself to be as poignant and relevant as when it was first released.


Valiant Hearts takes place during the First World War, but instead of being all about bullets flying and body-counts, it investigates the impact that this terrible war had on people. It follows the lives of five interconnected people, and provides more than a few dark or heart-wrenching moments as it brings the harsh realities of this truly terrible time to the player.

The game dynamics are largely puzzle based, even when it comes down to timing runs at enemy machine-gun nests. The puzzles are never too challenging, but Valiant Hearts’ charm is what will keep the player going through its unfortunately short run.

The game is also crammed with facts and footnotes about World War I, which some may find annoying but others will appreciate for their didactic quality. Often new aspects of the war, like mustard gas, barbed wire and zeppelins, will become part of the game dynamic, or a new theme for a section of the title.

All of this is brought together in a stunning art style that lends Valiant Hearts the feeling of a well-produced animated film, rather than a video game. This is a game where narrative and emotion are king, and supplant more complex game dynamics in favour of telling a deep and moving tale. If you’re after non-stop action, you should probably avoid it. But if you love a great story, Valiant Hearts will be exactly what you’re looking for.

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