Aardman Studios and the makers of Tekken were never a likely mix – though I would’ve loved to see Shaun the Sheep battle it out with Heihachi Mishima – so when it was announced that Bandai Namco was publishing a narrative driven game developed by Aardman in collaboration with DigixArt, I was eager to check it out.
Luckily, I’ve been able to get hands on with that game, 11-11: Memories Retold, and despite being a far cry from anything Aardman is most well-known for, it’s left me very excited.
To be honest, 11-11 wasn’t really on my radar previously, but when I sat down to play it, I was instantly blown away by how beautiful it was. 11-11′s art style is exactly that: a style of art. The entire game looks like a moving painting; objects and characters are brought to life as if they’re bold brush strokes on a canvas.
The result is not as gimmicky as it would sound; rather, 11-11: Memories Retold’s art style is extremely powerful. Telling an emotional and very human story set during World War I, its almost oil painting-like visuals are reminiscent of popular art styles of the time, and somehow, despite being dreamlike in its appearance, 11-11: Memories Retold feels more captivating because of it.
A unique art style is nothing without a decent narrative and solid gameplay, and thankfully, 11-11: Memories Retold seems to deliver. The demo that I played essentially acts as a prelude to the main crux of the game. I was given control of the two main characters, Harry, a Canadian photographer, and Kurt, a German.
Kurt is working on a Zeppelin with other men from his village when he hears the news that his son’s army unit is missing in action. And Harry, driven by the promise of glory, is keen to capture photographs of the war. With very different motivations and from very different backgrounds, both men set out towards the frontline.
11-11: Memories Retold doesn’t present you with the glory and bloody warfare of a war game like Battlefield I. Instead, it’s more like poetry in motion; concerned with the more human aspect of war, and how combat affects people in different ways. Despite not caring much for the game when it was first announced, getting hands on with 11-11: Memories Retold has made me very excited for its release. More like a work of art than a video game, it feels like a beautiful yet tragic novel reimagined into a new medium. And after this short time with Harry and Kurt, I’m desperate to find out how the rest of their journey goes.
11-11: Memories Retold is set to release on PS4, Xbox One and PC on 9th November.