Valiant Hearts: The Great War
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is an puzzle adventure RPG with a poignant story and fantastic educational potential.
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Story & Themes
We start with Emile, an aging Frenchman living with his daughter, Marie, his German son-in-law, Karl, and their new baby. At the start of the war, Karl is deported along with many other German citizens. Emile is called to the front soon after, leaving Marie alone on their rural farm.
Next we meet Freddie, a black American explosives expert with an unexplained vendetta against the nefarious Baron Von Dorf. Von Dorf is exceptionally cruel; we see him drinking wine and laughing as he deploys more and more advanced weaponry. Von Dorf is in many ways a stand-in for all of the privileged, out-of-touch men who set WWI in motion and refused to back down, even as the war became increasingly more catastrophic.
Anna is next to arrive in the story. She's a Belgian student-turned-nurse who is searching for her father, a scientist who's been kidnapped by Von Dorf for his advanced weapons knowledge.
And finally, there's Walt, a German dog of war, rescued by Freddie and Emile, always happy to help. Walt functions as your helper throughout the game—he can fit into tight spaces, make his way past wary guards, and play fetch with important items like dynamite or wire shears. Perhaps most importantly, he becomes an important friend in times of emotional strife.
While they may be unlikely companions, Walt, Freddie, Emile, Anna, and Karl forge bonds of friendship that surpass the borders of nation, language, and terrain. These aren't stories of politics and military strategy; they're stories of people trying to survive and protect their families.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War addresses themes of mental health in times of great strife, the effects of war on people on the ground (both on the battlefield and at home), and the justification for killing no matter what the context.
- Is what Emile did in the end justified? Is any act of violence justified, in war or not?
- How can we explore the difference between Emile's actions in the face of great anger and Freddie's decision not to act in the face of great anger? How might their respective choices reflect their emotional well-being or the trauma they'd been through?
- A lot of times in popular culture, the Germans during WWI are painted as the "bad guys." Why might this be? Did Valiant Hearts do the same, or did the game take a different stance?
Action/Adventure, Educational, Minigames, Music/rhythm, Point-and-Click Adventure, Puzzle, Role-Playing (RPG), Side-Scroller, Stealth
Interests / Subjects:
Art (Painting, Drawing, etc.),
COMPETENCIES / INTELLIGENCIES:
REGION OF ORIGIN:
Cannot be played online