Newtype Posted December 16, 2008 Share Posted December 16, 2008 The game is set in a fictional version of Europe in 1930, in the country of Gallia. Because of its abundance of ragnite ore—which can be refined into a powerful fuel—it has come under attack from the East European Imperial Alliance, which itself is engaged in war with the Atlantic Federation. Players take control of an uprising of Gallian nationals, dedicated to repelling the invasion. I'm not really good with words so I'm going to use somebody's review for this game. From watching videos and looking at screens, it can be somewhat hard to tell where exactly the “RPG” fits into Valkyria Chronicles. No doubt about it, this is a tactical RPG. It is not “part FPS,” it is not “part third-person shooter,” and it has only the slightest touch of an action game. Though, this is not to say that it doesn’t take grand leaps away from SRPG convention — because it definitely does. The core setup is like with most RPGs, with battles consisting of an enemy phase and player phase. In each phase, a side is given so many command points with which to perform its actions. One command point enables the player to move any unit and act one time with that unit; any unit can move and act once per every time a command point is spent on him/her, though some weapons and items are restricted to one use per phase, and a unit’s movement range will be less each time it is moved within the same phase. As one could guess by experience with other TRPGs, an “action” will usually be an attack with one of the unit’s equipped weapons, but it could also be curative. The slight touch of action mentioned above comes during the player’s movement of units around the battlefield. Instead of this being a quick and safe process like in traditional strategy RPGs, opponents of the right classes within range will fire at a moving unit. That said, much like a real war, it’s best to get where one is going in a hurry. Unlike real war, however, all shooting is done with time standing still. Whenever the player hits R1, the character will stop and ready its equipped weapon. Enemies will also stop firing during this time; the player has literally as much time as desired to cycle through options, take aim at different enemies, and so on. Again: there is no action-type gameplay involved with the shooting. Just as the player of any other turn-based RPG does not need to pull off crazy amount of button presses to strike a wombat with a sword, all that’s involved with the shooting here is taking all the time in the world to place some crosshairs, perhaps stopping to make oneself a sandwich, then pressing X once. If a player is discontent with what’s available, however, the action can be canceled, but this means that the enemies will open fire once again, so one had best get running or end the turn. What’s additionally excellent about this is that it adds a stronger defensive aspect to the battles, often absent from tactical RPGs. Sure, in past games it has been important to position a unit with its back pointing away from foes, take the higher ground, and such, but VC takes it to another level. That is to say, the act of defending is more “active.” Knowing that one’s units (at least those of the scout, infantry, and support classes) will, to some extent, try to ward off intruders in real time gives players of Valkyria a fresh take on the defensive aspect of an SRPG. One doesn’t just “gear up” for defense with better equipment or “Counter-Tackle,” one is actually playing defense to a greater extent than in previous SRPGs. Unlike many tactical games, Valkyria Chronicles requires tactics. Gloriously, however, it does not confine the player to figuring out a single pattern or strategy per mission. Most missions (with some story-driven exceptions) can be completed with a strategy of the player’s devising, not necessarily the strategy the game wants the player to use. Furthermore, no single class dominates the game. Every class has strengths, flaws, and a special use. For example, scouts are the most adaptable overall, but a team full of scouts will have huge weaknesses. VC steers away from convention again by way of the characters not really having equipment in the traditional sense. The player does buy new uniforms for slight defense boosts (into which everyone automatically uprades upon purchase), new parts for tanks, and weapons for each class, but the way it is handled takes far less time than usual games of this type. Experience points are gained at the end of battle, and apply to the whole platoon. Leveling up is done one class at a time, using these group-owned points. For example, when the player chooses to use 62,543 EXP (hypothetical number) to level up the snipers, it means every sniper is now a level higher. Valkyria Chronicles is distinguished by several factors, but among them perhaps unexpectedly are its story and characters. Its tale evokes plenty of emotion, even from those who generally aren’t affected game stories (me). The characters are excellently developed, likeable, well-acted and well-scripted. While scattered elements of these will be labeled as clichÃ©, the plot is executed well, the story is very enjoyable, the cast is quite likeable, and all of the above feel extra fresh because of the unique setting and scenario. The game looks incredible; it’s a perfect combination of Japanese anime stylings and current-gen power. Things come together incredibly well, and the game’s unique look works to its benefit in every battle and plot scene. Sakimoto’s music usually sounds like the characters of the game in question are gonna start a huge war anyway, so his style fits perfectly into Valkyria Chronicles. Very nice and fitting audio, though grind lovers might get a bit tired of the tracks that play during the skirmishes. The only real downpoint is that the best songs are so rare and/or only a one-time appearance, practically forcing players to obtain the soundtrack in order to enjoy the bulk of the game’s music. Another thing Valkyria has going on for it is challenge. Even in the first playthrough when “Normal” is the highest difficulty available for a given battle, this is a legitimately difficult game. Several of the battles will require more than one attempt, for sure. Moreover, there is no way to simply level grind one’s characters to superstatus. Even when playing through the most difficut skirmish available and snagging the seemingly high amount of EXP per battle, the jumps to each class’s next level are pretty big. Not only that, but even when S-ranking a mission in the quickest way possible, the whole process of going through the loop of steps involved can take a long, long while (not helped by the fact that skipping the mission briefing isn’t possible). As if the above weren’t enough, there is a level cap of 20 anyway. So near the end of the game, all things will begin to balance out, even for those who’ve spent inordinate amounts of time level grinding. Adding to all this, those who still end up finding the game easy will be delighted with the punishing Hard Mode, available after clearing the game. I agree with everything the reviewer has pointed out. I would like to point out that game looks like a canvas painting and adding a white edge around the screen really sells it. I give this game a 5/5. P.S Even Baytor would have a hard time hating this game. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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