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October’s Games with Gold’s SHOULDYAPLAYIT?! Valiant Hearts: The Great War

By Lauren McLean

The month of October has some great games for their Games with Gold. I know this because I’ve already completed these games 100% so… this review is basically from memory. But a good memory! So, this month’s installment of SHOULDYAPLAYIT?! is VALIANT HEARTS: THE GREAT WAR:

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VALIANT HEARTS is a 2D, puzzle game set during World War 1, following 4 different characters (and a dog!) through their journey. And if that sounds heartbreaking, you’d be right. You learn so much stuff during this game through collectibles, history lessons during each chapter and the settings, and you’ll definitely learn how much you love dogs.

Here’s the set up:

Metacritic: 81 (on Xbox One)
Size: 1.32GB
Normal Price: $19.95 AUD
Original Release Date: 25/06/15

Story

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Walt, Anna, Emile and Freddie

It’s 1914, The Great War has broken out and it needs soldiers. Come on, you know this. You’ve been schooled. Archduke Franz Ferdinand has been assassinated and Germany has declared war in response. You play as 4 different characters: Emile, an older French farmer drafted into the French army; Karl, his German son-in-law who’s deported back to Germany to join their army; Freddie, an American volunteering in the French army; and Anna, a Belgian veterinarian student. There’s a dog named Walt in there somewhere too.

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Karl’s wife Marie and baby son Victor plead for Karl to remain in France.


Gameplay

You play each of the characters autonomously through different chapters of the story and the war. They each have their own “talent”, if you will; Emile can dig through mud, Freddie has shears to cut through fences, Anna can perform medical procedures and Walt the dog and hold stuff for you like the good boy he is.

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Watch out for German gunners

You solve puzzles in each level to progress the different timelines and stories of war. The puzzles can be pretty basic but sometimes they have you holding an item you know you need without having a clue what to do with it, because the person who gave it to you is mumbling in German and the speech bubble above his head just had a picture of a bottle of red wine. Luckily, after a few minutes, the game give you hints for what to do next.

There are also things you can collect on the way, historical things which give you a brief lesson as to what it is and what its purpose was in the war. These items aren’t useful to your character but they do give much more of an insight into the war you are playing through (and, of course, achievements -wink wink-).

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Using real photos from WWI

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Game Time

Now, since I played this game leisurely when it came out last year, I don’t really have a reference of time it took, like the other SHOULDYAPLAYIT?! games, which I finish at a reasonable pace. However, HowLongToBeat.com suggests it’s around the 6.5 hour mark, which I think is pretty accurate. Completing this game, chuck on a couple of extra hours just to find all the collectibles though.


Achievements

Like I said earlier, I have 100% completed this game, but after adding it all up, you’re able to collect 285GS just by finishing this game, along with another 210GS without even really trying to be a completion. This brings you just under half way to 100%, with the rest just a bit of collecting away. If you wanted to see all the achievements beforehand though, here you go!


Overall

Well, having a bit of a love of history, this game was right up my alley, so call me biased; whatever. But, the way they’ve created this game is really fantastic. It is made is awesome with simple, little things such as a 2D premise, but with certain layers you can skip between; random language mumblings; adorable art style. The atmosphere the music and sounds create are also wonderful. Sometimes I kept the music on in the background just because. It is a great work of art; Edu-tainment if you will.

GAME TIME: A decent speed/2 afternoons

Achievements: 285-495/1000GS

Replay Value: Not needed – replayable chapters

Overall: Fantastic game – Not hard to complete 100% – DEFINITELY worth it!

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Oui, bon chien!


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