E3 2014: Hands-on: Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

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E3 2014 - Valiant Hearts | oprainfall

Valiant Hearts: The Great War had everyone talking when it was shown during the Ubisoft Press Conference at E3 2014. Featuring some of the same talented folks behind Ubisoft’s Child of Light, you can tell by the trailer alone that this game is packed full of emotion. It tells the story of many a soldier. What I played at Sony’s booth featured the first few bits of the game. Here’s what to expect:

Playing through Valiant Hearts requires problem-solving, like any adventure game would. This world, while beautifully hand-drawn and cartoon-like in nature, is very grounded within reality. You’re not some sort of super-human fellow out to save the world at war. As a matter of fact, the opening of the game features you playing as a prisoner of war, and your objective (well, the long and short of it anyway) is to slowly figure out how to toggle a few switches in order to fill a pot with water, boil it, and serve your captors soup.

E3 2014 Ubisoft Conference - Valiant Hearts: The Great War

There’s a puppy though! You’ve seen the puppy. In Valiant Hearts, controls are very simplified. You press a button to grab stuff, pull stuff, throw stuff and activate stuff whenever necessary. But there’s also a button to call/pet the puppy! It’s a game about the first World War with a puppy in it. You know it’s going to pull your heart strings…then crush them, probably.

At any rate–after serving them food, your captors are attacked and you’re given a chance to escape. You continue forward in a very sensible manner, taking time to deal with the various obstacles that obstruct your path. A good example was finding the lever to a switch that got blown apart in the destruction that was able to set the player free. You solve the problem by throwing a beer bottle at the lever, telling your dog to go fetch the lever, then promptly shoving it back onto the switch in order to lower a lift so you can continue.

After a few more bits of rising action, you’re switched to another character with a different back-story. All of these soldiers will no doubt be connected by a common thread. Right away, you can just tell the narrative is going to be heart-wretchingly powerful. You can press the triangle button to learn about the history of what you’re doing and why it was actually relevant during the first World War. Valiant Hearts takes itself seriously.

The second soldier controlled similarly to the first, but his objective was different. The first one just needed to escape. The second story is one of revenge–setting up TNT to destroy an enemy base. I got through it all–and let me just state for the record: Valiant Hearts is going to be a game that almost everyone adores, in time. It’s very finely crafted, it’s true to its source, it’s intuitive, but challenging.

I can’t wait for the full game coming later this month. That’s right–Valiant Hearts will arrive on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, 360 and PC on June 25th, 2014.