Throughout 2014, gamers were bombarded with some of the biggest experiences of all time. Whether it was the open worlds of Grand Theft Auto 5 on the next generation consoles, or the 90 hours of content that comes with Dragon Age: Inquisition, there was a lot to see and do.
While those experiences were awesome, it's often easy to miss some really great games that may not garner the same attention leading up to their launch. One of those games, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, even came from a big name publisher, Ubisoft.
We can see how it might be easy to overlook a side-scrolling puzzle adventure game, a formula that sounds more like something you would find on the indie scene rather than one of gaming's most influential studios. However, giving Valiant Hearts a shot was perhaps our best gaming decision in 2014, opening our minds to the idea that bigger isn't always better.
In Valiant Hearts: The Great War, players will switch between no less than four main protagonists, as well as their canine companion from time to time. Set during World War I, the game presents the story from French, German and American sides, mixing in characters that take on both military and civilian roles. It's an example of expert storytelling, weaving four individual journeys into one deeply satisfying plot.
As with most games, the vessel that will carry you from one point of the story to another is the gameplay, and this too is something that we were pleasantly surprised by. Built on the newly developed UbiArt Framework engine, Valiant Hearts will challenge players with a series of fun but gradually more difficult puzzles. In fact, some of them are big enough head scratchers that you might even find value in our free walkthrough.
The puzzles and gameplay are surprisingly well done, but we can't stress enough that they are the second best part of the game, as the plot is really the hidden gem. Valiant Hearts: The Great War will tell you a story, making you care about characters in a way that most next generation games cannot. By the time the final riddle is solved and the last cut scene begins playing out, you'll find yourself more emotionally attached to a game than you have been in quite some time.
Regardless of what platform you own, Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a game that you can and should play as soon as you have four or five hours to yourself. That may not seem like a lot of content, but considering the price is about one quarter of what most new games cost these days, it's pretty big bang for your buck.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is currently available in the PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace or in the app store of your mobile and tablet devices.