From Valiant Hearts‘ Mixed Messages to Games Beyond Industry

Hello, Escapist readers! As part of our partnership with curation website Critical Distance, we’ll be bringing you a weekly digest of the coolest games criticism, analysis and commentary from around the web. Let’s hit it!

First off, Feral Vector’s David Hayward takes us on a stroll through the English countryside (right) as he reflects on the one thing really holding back the games industry: the “industry” part.

One of the few games set during World War I, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, is under Andrew Dunn’s magnifying lens this week for its simultaneously cartoonish and raw depiction of history:

It’s torn between being a serious This Is How It Was telling of WW1, and a ludicrous steampunky romp which plays merry hell with the history it earnestly tries to impart when it’s not about fistfighting an evil German baron on top of two ruined tanks in the middle of the Somme’s No Man’s Land. To say the game is tonally inconsistent is an understatement. It’s full-out atonal, right from the main menu screen: a morose soldier and his dog standing in mud and ruins while the sad theme music plays, juxtaposed with a jaunty text strapline about how many collectibles the game has.

It should go without saying, but Dunn’s analysis goes further than just the title screen. Check out the entire article before drawing your own conclusions.

At Eurogamer, Tom Bradwell engages with a woman commenter to discuss how that classic derail to defend marginalization in games — “it’s not historically accurate!” — is fallacious at best.

Lastly, as Bradwell’s article relates directly to recent discussions on Assassin’s Creed, this History Respawned video with Bob Whitaker interviewing Jessica W. Luther concerning race and the slave trade as depicted in Liberation and Freedom Cry is a nice follow piece. While a bit unfocused, it’s a good history lesson.

Want more? Be sure to swing over to Critical Distance to have your fill!

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