Valiant Hearts: The Great War
The game is by Ubisoft, so you'll have to have a Uplay account in order to play the game. A bit of a pain, but worth it if you love a good story!
The screen resolution is adjustable anywhere from 640x480 through 1980x1020, and you can play Windowed if you wish. We have separate sliders for sound effects, music, and brightness, and if you want subtitles, they are NOT the default. Luckily you can adjust the settings at any time. If you're using the keyboard you can rebind the keys to whatever you wish, but the controller buttons are not adjustable. Speaking of which, we have full-controller support on this title.
The game is rich in history, though dosed out in segments small enough to keep one from getting overwhelmed (or bored ^_~ ) if not a history buff. These tidbits are easily accessible, and while it's not required reading, it surely enriches the story! In addition to the facts that are unlocked as you play, there are 100 collectibles, and each has its own story to tell. We also have a diary with separate entries, which I didn't realize until later on in the game. The diary, like the hints, is accessible through the game menu (hit Esc.)
Speaking of hints, there are multiple modes of play -- regular and veteran. I believe you have to complete regular mode before you can access veteran mode, however. Hints, if you wish to use them, are tiered, and give you a picture of one of the steps you'll need to take to progress in the game.
We play as multiple characters, giving us varied views of the war and its toll. These characters' stories are beautifully weaved together in a touching story. The gameplay is a combination of point-and-click, puzzles, light platforming, and arcade-like action scenes. Anyone looking for a thrilling ride, rife with action and glory might want to look elsewhere, as the compelling story is the driving force behind this game, and it's the story that will keep bringing you back to the game.
The narrator will explain things as we transition, and his voice works beautifully with the story. Our characters' voices, on the other hand, are intentionally garbled -- you don't actually need to understand what they're saying. It may sound strange, but it really does work well. Any person you see who has ' . . . ' over their heads means you need to "talk" to them. You will see what they want or need via images in speech bubbles. It's not terribly hard to figure out what you're supposed to be doing -- most of the time when I was stuck it was because I had missed seeing an exit or some such. :p
I highly highly recommend this game to anyone who loves a good story, with one caveat: Some of the action scenes need to have quick reactions, and I know that some of my friends have issues with this kind of thing. Let me give you an example. This will not be a spoiler as long as you don't watch the whole video -- Just watch the first ten seconds or so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saKbYGB7JwA
had to redo the above-referenced kind of scene more than once, but that is not the part of the game I'm worried about. There are sequences where you have to press buttons quickly in succession, switching around between buttons, and sometimes hitting more than once button at a time. I don't know how well I would have done if I'd been on the keyboard instead of a controller! I can't give you a visual of what I'm talking about without potentially spoiling some of the story, just be warned!
I finished the game in somewhere between four and five hours -- not really certain since I got interrupted a few times. Remember those collectibles I mentioned at the beginning of the review? It turns out that you can replay any part of the game you wish in order to gather all of the collectibles! Go to the Chapters & Collection section of the main menu, and you will be able to see how many items you gathered, and how many you missed for each section. Personally I think it would be better to go back to get some of these rather than grab them as you play, as sometimes they're sitting out in the open during a time when you could easily get killed! It interrupts the flow of the story a bit to stop and examine these things during the action sequences.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a moving journey that kept me guessing 'til the end, and had me happily learning about the first World War (history is NOT my forte). I really did love playing this game, and recommend checking it out if the above review appeals to you.
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