The story of Valiant Hearts begins in 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand has been assassinated and Germany declares war on Russia in response. In anticipation of a war, France begins to deport all German citizens. Karl a young German farmer is forced to be separated from his family, consist of his wife Marie, their son Victor and his father-in-law Emile. Karl is forcefully drafted into the German army while at the same time Emile is drafted into the French army.
The story follows their journey of Emile and Karl as they try to survive a war neither of them want nothing to do with. Along the way they meet many wonderful characters, faced countless hardships and joyful moments.
The gameplay is a side scrolling game. You're controlling either Emile or Karl most of the time, sometimes other characters. Most of the time you'll be solving puzzles and picking up items to advance on to the next area, while following the story. Gameplay-wise it isn't incredibly difficult at all, if you're good at figuring out how to use your environment to solve the puzzles you should be just fine. Certain part of the game required you to sneak through behind enemy lines. So patience is more needed here than skills, other times you are required to dodge artillery shells which can be a bit frustrating until you learn the patterns. There are parts of the game where the game turned into short of a dodging game where many vehicles are chasing after you and you must avoid bullets, grenades and incoming traffic. Last but not least, there are quick time events. You will encounter them at scenes when you have to heal someone. They get progressively harder as you go through the game, the last QTE is quite difficult, at least for me.
The game does a wonderful job with the narration between loading screen, even though most of the characters does not speak at all, they only provide you with speech bubbles to portray the feelings and thoughts of each characters. The narrator does most of the heavy lifting. In the game you will be able to find many collectibles, that when you open up the menu, you can examine them and read about the history and interesting fact regarding the Great War. I highly recommend reading them, as it will enhance the experience. The music was very fitting with the game, since characters do not talk, the music help give you the sense of danger and sadness that you normally need words to describe.
I have not encounter any game breaking bugs when I played it, the only bugs I encountered was one time my character was stuck in a ditch and I could not dig my way out of it, so I had to restart the chapter, the other time was when I was healing another character and an extra arm appeared out of nowhere on my character. But it was gone the moment the healing QTE was finished.
This game being one of the first games I played after the Summer Sale, I highly recommend this if you enjoy a grand, epic and emotional story. The only major problem I have with this game is that sometimes, certain part of the game might dragged on for a while, but others might be over very quickly, a bit inconsistency in pacing. There are many great characters that you will like, the way they accurately portray the hardships of warfare at the time is also a welcoming addition. It took me 10 hours to finish the game, but if you want to get all the collectibles. It might take you a bit longer. This game is definitely one of my Game of the Year contender, or at least for great storytelling. I hope if you already played it, that you enjoyed it. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? =]