By Nick Maker
This game is not like any ordinary game. This game is not anything like you have ever seen before. It is a game that takes you to a journey of how horrible war can be; how much impact each soldier can affect on his or her life in an instant. Of how a person feels for the first time ever of what it is to be afraid – this is hell.
The game was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, inspired by letters from the Great War. This is a puzzle-adventure game where you play as four fictional characters. The very main character in the middle is Emile, a French farmer who lives in Saulcy-sur-Meurthe; when the war started he was forced into becoming a French soldier and had to leave his daughter and grandson behind. On the left is Karl, a German farmhand who married Emile’s daughter and has a son; he was also forced to serve in the war but had to move to Germany to become a German soldier. In the far left is Anna, an independent woman who is searching for her father and doing service with the French military as a medic. On your right is Freddie, an American soldier who volunteers in the French military for a vengeful purpose. There was going to be a fifth character to played as George (far right) in the British pilot, but it was cut off due to the character’s “personality” as humorous and the company didn’t want humor on a beautifully-sad atmospheric game. So you can only see him in one level of the game. Now I don’t understand why they couldn’t have just changed some of the writing to make the character a bit serious, but that is Ubisoft’s problem.
I’m so glad that they set this in the First World War and not the usual big 2. I keep seeing the second war topic over and over in games, documents, and museums, and I’m tired of it. Now it doesn’t mean I hate hearing more World War 2, I always like learning new information and secrets to the Nazis. It’s just that it is weird that they don’t put as much of an emphasis on the Great War as the other. Sure the second war is much worse on the death toll, and made a lot of psychological impact on many people that made hard decisions to the world leaders. But you have to remember how it all started the second war and how technology has changed drastically in the first war.
How did people react to the Great War? How did soldiers react to the first gas attack in the battle of Ypres? How did the politicians handle the situation? All these are as important to learn as it WW2. Maybe because the first war doesn’t have a lot of information due to lack of recording systems at the time, but it still can make a great story to it. Yes, you can find documents and videos about WW1 in YouTube or in Google but sometimes for me I can’t understand some areas of that topic or any fun little facts about them (although sometimes I’m a bit lazy at researching it.)
Since this is a puzzle-adventure game you will be solving some puzzles and I’m glad it is not another shooting genre, please no more Call of Duty! Sometimes you will fight some enemies by sneaking at their backside and whack them; you will be accompanying your dog Walt to help you reach hard places and help you on certain puzzles. If it’s too easy for you because of the hint system or highlighted areas, just turn them off by turning on Veteran mode.
The story is one of the most beautifully written I have ever played. It focuses a lot on the characters and the situation around the soldiers in the war. Not a single side character is unimportant or poorly used in the game; same goes for the background characters. Each one reacts as a real person would feel; hungry, sad, pain, homesick, and hopeless. Then when you see a soldier get shot, you feel a little pain for the person to die and have to move on because it is your duty as a soldier to move forth into battle. Even the Germans feel exactly like their enemies are suffering. Is not like in any FPS (first person shooters) where you just shoot some enemies you don’t know of and move on, or your comrade that you barely even knew dies and you just keep going from point A to B. Hell sometimes you don’t even know who you’re playing as because you’re in first person view!
The background is gorgeous with detail of what’s going on in the battlefield. One minute the land is peaceful; the next is smoke clouds, rubble buildings, and muddy grounds. In some levels you see in the background corpses everywhere and soldiers screaming in agony! Ubisoft isn’t afraid to show it and they nailed it! The music is also really nice with classical pieces from famous songs, that set the atmosphere flowing.
There are collectables to find such as historical items that tell you fun facts about the war. In each level it tells you in the history facts menu about the war with pictures and documents, all thanks to Apocalypse World War 1 and 14 Missions 18 Centenaire, who partnered up with Ubisoft. This is the only game in a long while since I completed a game with 100% all collectables; it was so much fun and interesting to learn new things! I’m not much of a completionist and getting all the historical items only gets you an achievement, but if you like fun facts like me you will want to collect them all!
You probably can finish in nine hours and maybe an additional hour or two to collect all the historical items, so that’s eleven hours in total, which is an average good play through. The puzzles are decent, not too challenging but it is a perfect balance. This game gets a 10/10, a masterpiece collection and another perfect example of how games can teach us something and not always violence and corrupt us; it depends on how you going to play and how you can handle it.
It’s on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, IOS and Steam, only the cost of $14.99. If you’re going play on Steam be sure that you have to have an Uplay account to play the game. If you can handle the issues it has that’s good, because it is so worth the effort to play, you won’t regret it. I “think” it has less restrictions now so I’m glad it is less of a hassle. It is rated T for teen but I think preteens can experience and enjoy the beauty and horror of the Great War. I hope they keep making games like this; it is a breath of fresh air and I hope they make another game like it but in a different war setting.
About Nick… “I am a studious person who loves reading and loves researching about virtually anything! I play the piano and every year I have to give a performance in a church. I love video games – especially when it’s a puzzle and action game. I would like to become a programmer one day in the field of computer science. I love my family so much, even if we drive each other crazy sometimes, we’re still one big happy family.”