Game Review - Valkyria Chronicles on PC

Written by leccosta on February 11, 2019 @ 7:36 am

Valkyria Chronicles is a tactics game where you play as a squad commander in a fictitious WWII setting, but you probably already knew that. The greatest achievement of this game is its revolutionary battle system, which is the next step in single-player tactics. Phantom Brave may have started this change getting rid of grids, but Valkyria Chronicles brings it to the next level by giving you full control of your character in a 3D environment, with maps that emphatise verticality and cover.

At the start of each mission, you choose members of your squad to bring to the field among many classes, like scouts, shocktroopers and lancers - your tank busters. All classes are useful and balanced, even some I initially thought that weren't as useful, like the engineers. You get a set number of action points each turn, spend one of them to select a character to move and make an action with them.

The mission design is uneven, with some very good missions and some VERY tedious ones. And some of them have a problem that plagues many tactics games: reinforcements that come out of nowhere and move the SAME turn. Most of the times i've died it was because of some cheeky reinforcement that spawned and busted my tank the same turn and I could do nothing. Reinforcements are a cool way to spice up missions, I understand but at least warn me where they are coming from or don't let them move the turn they arrive so I can prepare.

Speaking of dying, the game has a permadeath system. If the body of one of your fallen squad members is touched by an enemy, he's dead for good. But you can still save them if you rescue him with one of your other squad members. It won't happen much since the game is easy: I won many maps by just using the tank to, well... tank hits and still got A rank.

It still baffles me how most of the reviews I've read about this game talk about this system as 'a twist' in the genre, when it's clearly an evolution of it. Past games in the genre employed grids, and didn't give you full control of your characters because of technical limitations, but now, there's no reason why it should remain like this. This the last step in before full real time, while allowing the tactical options you can only make in turn-based games. The system is also very flexible, allowing for a huge variety of missions: escaping in a forest at night with mortars raining from the sky, running from a huge tank inside a canyon while slowing him down with falling rocks and even good old JRPG boss fights against an invulnerable superboss. There are some problems, of course - characters can't jump and few parts of the environment are destructible, but for a first try, it's impressive.

The game is also gorgeous, with a pleasant art style, well directed cutscenes and the CANVAS engine - which is only a fancy filter the developers made - gives everything a beautiful pencil drawing look. Unfortunately, the character designs tend more to the side of generic, especially the less important squad members.

The story and music are just there, not bad, nothing impressive.

All in all. A very solid prototype to an amazing battle system. I'm eager to play the sequel to see if they improved in the movement options, difficulty and mission design.

Overall Rating: 8

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Game Information

Platform
PC
Developer(s)
Sega
Publisher(s)
Sega
Genre(s)
Action, RPG, Strategy
NA Release Date
November 11, 2014
ESRB Rating
T
MVGL User Score
7.8
Composer
Hitoshi Sakimoto
Official Website
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