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The Valiant Review | Trying For Clever Crusading Combat


The Valiant Review | Trying For Clever Crusading Combat

On: July 21, 2023

History is a fascinating subject, and it’s even more interesting when you get a chance to play through it yourself. The Valiant by KITE Games gives you the chance to play through a significant historical event. It’s a 3D real-time strategy game where you’re limited by what’s available in the medieval time period. You’ll command heroes and various squads of different soldiers to fight against organized and roaming forces. It requires a little more than just having a large number of forces and having them swarm the enemy — and rarely will you have this opportunity, anyway.

What is The Valiant?

Historical games have a tendency to take liberties with the story surrounding the events where they take place. The Valiant is set during the Crusades, which has countless stories behind it. Now, this game adds a new one.

It follows the knights of Theoderich and Ulrich, who start as brothers-in-arms leading their Crusader forces against the Saracens. During their campaign, they come across a powerful religious artifact called the Rod of Aaron. Ulrich becomes corrupted by the potential for power as Theoderich resists and challenges Ulrich’s changing character. Years after they return from war, Theoderich is called back into action by a monk who says that they need to get the other pieces of the Rod before Ulrich does. A race against a growing tyrant would is enough to answer the call.

Being The Valiant

Valor is not a common quality, and it’s no easy task for a game to instill such a feeling within the player. Luckily, the Valiant manages to do this with elements of its story and gameplay.

The first is its sense of scale in both the environment and the action. The maps range in variety which helps convey the idea of going on an epic quest across the land to find items of extreme power. Whenever you have small squads, you feel small and vulnerable, which offers a contrast to the bigger conflicts. The times when you have a full army at your disposal feel grand while still being only a small part of a big world.

The strategy element comes into play with a realistic feel to it. Like the Total War games, there’s a sense that units can be killed instantly if you don’t manage and guide them correctly. It’s clear that some squads are better equipped to deal with others, but also formation and numbers can play a deciding factor in victory and defeat.

There are no individual units, but rather squads that act as whole units which changes your perspective. To give you more options and empowerment, the heroes you control have their personal squads as well as special abilities to support, defend, and attack. Each squad type gets them, too, and it feels great to use them at just the right time to turn the tides.

The Valiant Problems

The bigger your scale in terms of combat and mechanics, the more likely you’ll get problems popping up that can be missed. The Valiant has issues that aren’t easy to ignore and wind up harming the experience.

The most notable is the graphic presentation. Despite the amount of emphasis placed on the characters and stories, you don’t actually want to look directly at them. There are multiple cutscenes that zoom in on these characters and they look dull and lifeless, like mannequins showing off costumes at a Renaissance fair.

In terms of the combat, there’s a strong sense of strategy but an overall messy execution. This is an issue with these kinds of games in that you don’t get to see the detail of these large-scale battles. If they were faster or more exciting, they’d be more interesting to watch. As it stands now, fights take surprisingly long, even with good squad planning and a lot of numbers. This isn’t to mention that enemy squads will often have unfair advantages, like improved armor and better vantage points, that you can’t always plan around.

This feeds into the issue of difficulty balancing. There are times when you have limited units and resources while being required to endure an onslaught of enemy forces. It’s the kind of situation where if one mistake leads you to lose one soldier too many, you may as well reset the encounter. However, this highlights another problem in that checkpoints aren’t always spaced sensibly, and you can survive several major encounters only to get too worn out for the final one, only to be forced to go through it all over again.

Becoming The Valiant

The Valiant is a 3D real-time strategy game set during the Crusades where you’re trying to get a powerful artifact before a tyrant does. The strategy is effective with a realistic bend to it and with a scale that makes small and large encounters feel significant yet drastically different. There are problems with the visuals, plus combat that need to be looked at and difficulty that needs to be handled carefully. Though, if you do decide to play, you may end up feeling a bit valiant.

The Valiant Trailer

The Valiant was played on PS5 with a code from the publishers. It is also available for download on Xbox as well as PC via Steam.