Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles seemingly came out of nowhere without a great deal of press building up its release. This is a shame since the RPG tactical market for Playstation 3 exclusives isn’t what it used to be on the second alliteration of the console. Valkryia Chronicles is one of those rare titles that come out and capture the hearts of all gamers who invest any time with its tale. Sega’s innovative title is an amalgamation of a number of gaming ideas that hover around the strategy and role-playing genres. Valkyria merges turn-based strategy with real-time action in role-playing game shell. If you are a strategy fan then Valkyria is definitely worth a look.
Valkyria Chronicles melds semi-modern (1930s) warfare with medieval sensibilities in this alternative version of reality. In Valkyria Chronicles you will fighting to save the land from an opposing force known as the Empire. Similar to Nazi Germany, The Empire sets its eyes on dominating all the countries in Europe as it fights against its rival, The Federation. The Empires ruthfullness doesn't exclude attacking peaceful minded neutral countries which soon have to stand up against the Empires greedy reach. In Bruhl, Gallia, you will take a stand against the Empire's war machine. As a young man Welkin Gunther you will join up with your friends in a fight for freedom. As the militia force Squad 7, Welkin stands strong in the face of adversary fighting for what he believes in.
The structure in Valkyria is set up like a pictogram book that moves you page-by-page through the adventure. The chapters are divided up into pages that can be clicked on to activate. Each picture box on a page to jumps into an unfolding plot line cinematic, or an action segment. The balance between action and drama can make sifting through all the non-action sequences a little drawn out, but once you get past the stereotypical Japanese styled storytelling the action unfolds nicely. Once in battle it is all strategy and action, ranging from easy, straight forward missions, to harder objectives with more obstacles. Valkyria Chronicles is extremely rewarding and you’ll be captivated as you work your way through this wonderful fantasy tale.
No Rambo Zone
The depth in the strategic approach to each mission makes every encounter enjoyable. I have to say, Valkyria can be highly addictive and you likely find yourself running through the entire game more than once. Once the mojo is rolling Valkyria is hard to put down. After an hour or so the game really opens up and you will see the gist of what you are in store for in the ladder parts of the game.
In battle Valkyria is split up between an overhead map where you make all your tactical decisions, and the other is part of warfare are the real-time action segments after you have selected a unit to move. Moving units around the battlefield takes a little bit of pre-planning and balancing. The straight ahead "Rambo" approach is never the way to go and even if you have the extra firepower is always good to be cautious. If you are not the type of gamer that plays it safe you can also abuse the save feature and go back and retry actions until you find the best result.
Spend Your Points Wisely
The action part of Valkyria gives each unit a certain amount of movements points (AP Points) along with the ability to perform one action during a round, like shooting. You will have a limited amount of points to use in each round, but they don’t have to spread out to all the units. Actually, if you wanted to you could use one player the entire time and forget about the rest of the squad. Of course this is not encouraged as team work is always the key for completing a successful mission. Each unit in the game has their certain strengths and weaknesses including the entry level scouts, and all the way up to the massive tanks. For example the scout is a great unit with the most amount of movement points out of all the classes, except they can’t handle their gun so well becoming slightly underpowered. Like you would expect the scouts are good for one thing, scouting. One minor gripe is that more innovative units could have been added, although for a first time attempt the five (scouts, shocktroopers, snipers, lancers, engineers) provided seem adequate.
Durning action sequences you must also contend with your line of fire for offense and defense. Since the game automates you actions you don’t have direct control over them. The combat boils down to a statistics game with the rock-paper-scissors theory thrown into the mix. Different situations call for different tactics, using your tank as your primary unit isn’t always the best solution. Sure it’s powerful and nearly indestructible to gunfire, but it also eats up a lot of points and can be venerable to anti-tank Lancers. Survival is a balancing act in Valkyria Chronicles, so don’t be surprised if you caught of guard a few times during your travels.
Recruits with Personality
Like the role-playing game Fire Emblem, a certain level of care has been given to each character in the game. This gives each recruit distinct personalities with their own set of likes and dislikes called ‘potentials'. Potentials are a reflection of a characters personality that can give them a bonuses, or negative affects in combat. The list of potentials is actually quite long and each character can have a number of them attached to their statistics. This makes for some interesting fellows in the recruiting department. Some of the more interesting potentials are “Veggie Manic” which gives a boost to their parameters when standing on earth. “Stage Fright” fighting multiple enemies makes the character too afraid to move. “My Way” statistics are boosted when not near allies and “Bad Back” crouching causes a defence drop. This is only the tip of wackiness that has been thrown into Valkyria.