11-11: Mem­o­ries Re­told

PS4, Xbox One, PC

The Guardian - G2 - - Reviews Film Games - Steve Boxer

The first full-length video game from Aard­man An­i­ma­tions com­mem­o­rates the cen­te­nary of the first world war armistice, and its mis­sion is to pro­vide in­sight into that ter­ri­ble con­flict – pri­mar­ily for a gen­er­a­tion that might not be aware of the de­tails. It takes an im­pres­sion­is­tic ap­proach, em­ploy­ing a “liv­ing paint­ing” vis­ual ef­fect in­spired by the paint­ings of Turner, and the tone is con­tem­pla­tive and re­gret­ful rather than gung-ho. It has a fable-like qual­ity.

The game fol­lows two char­ac­ters on op­pos­ing sides: Cana­dian Harry and Ger­man Kurt. Uniquely for a first world war game, nei­ther wields a gun at any point: Harry is a pho­tog­ra­pher, Kurt an en­gi­neer. Their sto­ries un­fold month by month, from Canada to Vimy, even­tu­ally be­com­ing en­twined. This is by no means an ac­tion game: Harry takes pho­tos, Kurt eaves­drops on the enemy from spy tun­nels dug be­neath trenches, and some­times both work to­gether in oc­ca­sion­ally clunky, la­bo­ri­ous puz­zles. There’s a lot of walk­ing around, tak­ing in the at­mos­phere and, of­ten, try­ing to fig­ure out what to do next.

The game cap­tures, from two per­spec­tives, some­thing of what it must have been like to fight. At roughly six hours, it isn’t long, but it is af­fect­ing – it sen­si­tively il­lu­mi­nates the sub­ject while cov­er­ing an aw­ful lot of ground, of­fer­ing a snap­shot of the pre­vail­ing sen­si­bil­i­ties, some of which may shock younger play­ers. It muses on the fu­til­ity and psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect of war with­out be­com­ing too heavy or over­bear­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.