Valiant Hearts: The Great War, from Ubisoft Montpellier, just dropped for Windows 10 platforms on Tuesday. The historically inspired platformer has been out since June of 2014 for most systems and offers a multi-layered lyrical gaming experience regardless of your preferred device.
The story follows five different characters with loosely connected stories through World War I Europe. It’s done in a 2D illustration style that lends a bright, vibrant contrast to the black and white historical photographs displayed at different interludes. Ubisoft gets points for the diverse casting, including a woman, an older French veteran, and a volunteer African-American soldier in addition to the expected young blonde dude. The scope of the characters lends a dynamic weight to what could’ve easily fallen into “just another war game” since by expanding the cast of the game, it’s inferred that war doesn’t touch just one type of individual.
Players have several chapters to complete, each with a different character. The gameplay utilizes side-scrolling, puzzle-solving, and enemy fighting elements, which gives the overall effect of “just enough excitement” for a mobile game and a more relaxed playing experience for a console. It’s a game that definitely benefits from headphones–the soundtrack and the mixing quality is pretty damn good.
Ubisoft incorporated some educational elements that manage to get the point across without being blatant–no one is singing country capitals or prompting for the letter of the day, but players are still going to come away knowing something they didn’t before. Using animated maps, historical photographs, and bonus content in which players can explore the histories and stories behind their characters, the game provides a way for players to move through the world with an emotional understanding of WWI and its effect. Sure, you can just move through the levels, punching, throwing, and shooting your way to the end of each chapter, but if you’re in need of a swift kick to your feels center then click through the mementos each character picks up. Or read through the bonus chapters.
Between the soundtrack, the art direction, and the overall gameplay, if you’ve been waiting this long for Valiant Hearts to come to Windows 10 then man, am I excited for you.
See more from Mel at Mel Reads Comics.