(Observer (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) "Edutainment": a word that makes a generation shudder, haunted by memories of shoddy classroom software trying to "gamify" learning. If only history classrooms had access to Valiant Hearts, which vividly brings home the horrors of the first world war while remaining eminently gripping. Despite its animated approach, the game plucks at the heartstrings. Experiencing the opening days of the conflict from the perspective of several characters, players see the human costs of war, intercut with snippets of real-world information or correspondence from the trenches. Hence the edutainment, but here it's more emotional punch than dull lecture. Each character has a particular skill, though most progress is made through relatively simple environmental puzzles. Irritatingly, character outlines become extremely pixellated in close-up. It's only problematic during cutscenes, but the jaggies really pull you out of the moment. It's a disappointment in an otherwise superb game whose strength lies in its story. Matt Kamen
Farming Simulator 14
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.