Unknown Soldiers: Memories of the Great War

Few of the video games have as a major theme: history. This game developed by Ubisoft, developer today recognized for its Assassins Creed series, one of which will be on the theme of the French Revolution next October, is truly an exception. All this for one and only goal: to commemorate the centenary of the First World War (this title received the label of the centenary mission). It is clear that this bet is successful.

The plot of the story

We are therefore plunged into the heart of the First World War, an unprecedented conflict which caused more than 10 million victims and 20 million injuries (physical, mental ...). This war was a disaster for Europe but more generally for humanity because it revealed for all to see that man is capable of falling into limitless barbarism. Today, 2014, we commemorate the centenary of the First World War, this conflict is already 100 hundred years old. The contemporaries, those who fought battle, feared at the end of this terrible episode for France but also for Europe to be forgotten. Society today, through the duty of memory, commemorates the courage of these soldiers who fought for France and thus defend their country. We must leave room for the last sentences of this 2D game, worked on with the help of historians, who seem to me to be and summarize the duty of Memory that we have towards our ancestors: "Even if their bodies have long since returned to life. dust, their sacrifices continue to live in us, we must cherish their memory, we have no right to forget ”

The article will not reveal the story of this game because I don't want to spoil anyone who decides to play it.

In Unknown Soldiers, the lives of all these characters inextricably intertwine throughout the game. Friendship, love, sacrifice and tragedy affect the fate of each of them, in a quest to preserve their humanity in the face of the atrocities of the Great War . All this while trying to avoid any low-level Manichaeism to which players are generally subjected, no nice French on one side or bad Germans on the other. This game is intended to be neutral and objective like the work of a historian. These characters will go through the most famous battles with Ypres and the first use of mustard gas, Arras, the ladies' path ... among others. This story takes place on the shifting border between France and Germany during the conflict. All will cross paths, watch over each other, share common goals and the company of Walt, a rescue dog from the German army who will never hesitate to come to their aid. So much for the story. I apologize in advance for not being able to go further for the sake of not disclosing the story.

Our opinion

Beyond the story, this game whose primary goal is to entertain an audience is also intended to be a documentary. At each landmark of the First World War that these characters travel, information is available to inform the public about the event in question, from the most general to the most precise. Allow you to deliver a history lesson by walking like a camera in the halls of the First World War. Each historical passage encountered is accompanied by a little literature illustrated by a color photo. These elements reveal the educational nature of this game. But it's not just that. The adventure takes place against a backdrop of beautiful human history romanticized within a war story. Note that the developers still sometimes fall into caricature and pure entertainment. Can we really blame them in view of the superb work that has been done. This game immerses the player in an immersive universe where the horror of War is omnipresent with the objective of conveying a message of peace since in this game, we do not kill, on the contrary, with the characters, we assist to a laconic but very present mutual aid between German and French soldiers. In "Unknown Soldier", the player heals, dodges, bypasses, stuns at a pinch, but he does not take life, because that, "the war is already taking care of," Ubisoft tells us. “In this deceptively childish-looking game, with its heaps of corpses and the groans of wounded men who call their mother on the battlefield, we have the right to see a modern and accessible reading - a playful video reading - of this World War I which Céline, in her "Voyage au bout de la nuit", referred to as an "international abattoir in madness" (Nouvel Observateur)

A game which is therefore an act of Memory, with certain qualities but also defects which are however masked by superb work embellished with a magnificent soundtrack which accompanies the player throughout the story. (Music name: War Makes Men Mad "by Peter McConnell) This game allows to reach and stir a large audience and especially young people to present them the history of the First World War while having fun.

Unknown Soldiers: Memories of the Great War. Ubisoft, June 2014. Only available for download on Uplay and Steam.

Video: The Story of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers (January 2022).