Game Reviews Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles Review: Join with Military Cadets in Their War

| By: Maifate

General Information

  • System                    PS3, PS4, and PC

Release Date

PlayStation 3

  • JP: April 24, 2008
  • NA: November 4, 2008
  • UK: October 31, 2008

Microsoft Windows

  • WW: November 11, 2014

PlayStation 4

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered

  • JP: February 10, 2016
  • NA: May 17, 2016
  • UK: May 17, 2016

Developer         Sega

Publisher           Sega

The game theme is war and military, with some fiction twist and romance. This game provides enjoyable gameplay with BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zones) system and captivating story.

Below is the game intro.

Story

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

In the year 1935 E.C., two powers control the continent of Europa. In the East, The Empire, in the West the Atlantic Federation. Both powers depended on a precious mineral called ragnite for their survival and that lead to the inevitable war. The story takes place in the neighbouring Gallia who had long maintained its neutrality in the tensions between two superpowers. However, the rich stores of ragnite under the Gallian soil are too tempting and so The Empire decides to invade and seize the ragnite for themselves.

The story follows Welkin, the son of a former war hero; Isara, Welkin’s Darcsen adoptive sister; and Alicia, a member of the Bruhl town watch, as they fight The Empire in the Gallian militia group, Squad 7. Squad 7 fights to regain their homes and livelihoods with Welkin as the squad leader and commander of the Edelweiss tank; Alicia as a scout; Isara as the pilot of the Edelweiss, and a variety of colourful individuals.

Score: 5

Gameplay

Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical role-playing game in which the player uses a BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zones) system.

Player will have the option to pick from Easy/Normal/Hard when they first started a new game, but wasn’t able to alter it later. Player can only change difficulty in Skirmish battle, not in Story Mode.

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

About the battle system, before the start of each battle, player has to place units in specific locations. The placement of the units and their role might turn battles into player’s favour.

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

During their turn, the player views an overhead map in Command Mode, and then zooms in to control each individual unit on the battlefield in Action Mode. The movement and other actions are handled in real time during Action Mode, though limited in movement by an action point (AP) gauge that varies for each type of character depends on their unit (Scout has the longest AP). During Target Mode, the player is in direct control of character can aim while the action freezes enemies movement, allowing for head shots and other maneuvers.

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

Meanwhile, during enemy’s phase, player can’t move and can only watch the enemy make the move. But even if the player characters aren’t moving they will still fire at any enemies on their sight. Same as player’s phase where the enemy isn’t moving but they will fire you on their sight.

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

Player can also give order to individual units (depending on what the player wants to accomplish, for example, raise all allies’ defense, fully restores one ally’s HP, orders one ally to retreat, etc) during the player’s phase which will cost Command Points. By using their troops the player must fulfill various conditions depending on the mission in order to achieve victory, most often the capture of a major enemy camp or capture all enemy camps.

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

Valkyria Chronicles Scrrenshot

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

Upon completing missions, the player is awarded money (dct) and experience with which can be used to upgrade their materials, tanks, and character classes. The points player will get depends on how well they do in battle. For example complete in short turn and defeat more enemy leader & ace, and or tank (if there’s any) will make player earns more money and experience points.

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

Missions can be failed if the player’s forces are wholly incapacitated or a certain character is killed (usually the leader), or the player’s base camp is captured by the enemy or when 20 turns pass.

Each character in the game fulfils a specific role, for instance, Alicia is a Scout, while Welkin is a Tank Commander. Other roles include Shocktroopers, Lancers (specializing in anti-tank warfare), Snipers, and Engineers. These various units form a rock-paper-scissors dynamic of strength and weakness. The foot soldiers (Scout, Shocktrooper, and Sniper) are effective against slower anti-tank units, anti-tank units can quickly destroy tanks with a well-aimed shot, and tanks are generally devastating against infantry, whose anti-personnel weapons are unable to inflict any significant frontal damage.

While each character within a class is basically the same level, weaponry and statistics, each individual has a distinguishing set of Potentials: special abilities or stat modifiers triggered by various psychological or environmental factors in battle. Potential awakened can be character’s strength and weakness. Some Potentials do decrease character’s status, giving player a disadvantage.

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

The environment also weighs heavily in combat. For example, tanks can knock down walls and other obstacles to open new paths, but it also has disadvantages such as can’t pass through the narrow paths or cavity. Foliage offers soft cover to reduce the chance of being spotted by the enemy and to confound their aim when seen. In a desert environment, when a sandstorm is happening or at night battles, it makes characters become short sighted to spot or to be spotted by the enemy. But there’s also a case when some characters have Night Vision potential so night battles won’t decrease their vision.

As the Gallian forces advance across the battlefield, enemy camps can be captured, giving the player a tactical advantage and offering additional locations in which to call reinforcements. Compared to Valkyria Chronicle II & III, reinforcements who are called from any ally camp can’t be deployed right away. It will have to wait for another turn for them to appear.

After player clears the stage, the game’s story will advance. And if you feel like you aren’t ready to advance to the next stage. You’re free to do any amount of training (Skirmishes) to get more money and experience points to raise your squad level and materials.

Score: 5

Characters

Since Valkyria Chronicles has too many characters, this review will only list major characters.

Valkyria Chronicles Main Characters

Welkin Gunther

A 22 years old young man. He probably has the most interesting character development. At first, he didn’t earn respect from Largo and Rosie, they think Welkin got a position as a commander of Squad 7 just because he is the son of a great war hero from the First European War (EWI). But after showing his tactical and commanding skill in the first battle as a commander of Squad 7, he was acknowledged by them. He is the only multi-class unit in the game. He is the tank commander and at certain events, he holds the position of a Scout. And as the story progressed he gradually develops romantic feelings towards Alicia.

Alicia Melchiott

A 19 years old young girl who hopes to one day become a baker. She served as a team captain of the Bruhl Town Watch and joined the Militia after escaping Bruhl, being posted to Squad 7 like Welkin. From her previous experience, she was given the rank of Sergeant and serves as a Scout. And then later in the game was found out that she has the blood of Valkyria. She is extremely reliable. At first, she is perplexed by Welkin’s personality, but also gradually develop romantic feelings towards Welkin.

Isara Gunther

A 16 years old young girl. She was the daughter of late Darcsen engineer, Professor Theimer. adopted by her late father’s friend, General Belgen Gunther (Welkin’s father) making her the younger sister of Welkin. She is a natural tinkerer, and chose to become a mechanic like her father. She respects brother Welkin deeply for looking out for her, because she had been dealing with prejudice in her life due to her Darcsen descent. One of the most interesting things to see is her relationship with Rosie in this game. Which eventually mutually developed into a good way.

Brigitte “Rosie” Stark

A twenty-seven years old Corporal and Shocktrooper in Squad 7. Formerly a bartender and songstress. At first in the game Rosie constantly showing her racism towards Darscen descent, and thus often arguing with Isara. Blaming the Darcsens after losing her parents in an Imperial Darcsen hunt. Through her time with Isara, she was finally able to overcome her prejudice and see music’s true importance to her. She’s also got a new Potential.

Valkyria Chronicles Characters

Largo Potter

He is funny because, despite his look, he is actually a vegetable lover and dreamed to restarting his parents’ vegetable farm. His Veggie-Maniac potential will be awakened everytime he is around plants & foliage. Also, unexpectedly, he had a past with Captain Varrot and that he stayed in the military because he made a promise with her.

Eleanor Varrot

The 3rd Regiment Captain and direct superior to Welkin Gunther. There’s a side quest where it tells a bit about Varrot’s past. Looks like she climbed up the military ladder in hopes of avenging her lover.

Zaka

He was held in an Imperial work camp where he and his people were forced to work in the dangerous ragnite mines and factories. He helped Squad 7 in the Fouzen raid as an inside contact and joined the group shortly after the battle. He controls the second tank in squad 7.

Faldio Landzaat

A 23 years old young man. He is an old school friend of Welkin. The tank commander and the lieutenant of Squad 1. After he discovered that Alicia was a descendant of the ancient Valkyrur, he made a difficult choice to betray Welkin’s trust in order to preserve the future of his homeland. And in the end, he did something unexpected to redeem his tarnished name.

Valkyria Chronicles Maximillia Characters

Maximilian

The Imperial General and Prince behind the invasion of Gallia. He is the main antagonist. In the story, he showed as cold-blooded, even towards Selvaria, didn’t really care about her well-being, only using her for his own benefit.

Selvaria Bles

A twenty two years old Brigadier General and a member of the Drei Stern under Maximilian’s direct command. She is one of the strongest main antagonists. After being identified as a Valkyria in childhood, she was held at a research facility and used as a test subject. She worships Maximilian, as he saved her from the research facility. She even sacrifice herself for Maximilian.

Valkyria Chronicles Side Characters

These three are the major side characters.

Leon Schmidt

A twenty years old Private First Class and a member of the militia’s R&D team. His chief task lay in the development of new weapons.

Kreis Czherny

A twenty years old Private First Class in the Gallian Militia. He requested to be posted to Squad 7 where following Isara’s footsteps as the Edelweiss’ pilot.

Calvaro Rodriguez

Forty eight years old drill instructor and ex-lancer of the Gallian Militia’s training facilities. He always using harsh & humiliating words towards cadet that I find it funny.

Overall character development is very good, from the unacceptance of main protagonist in the group to interaction between characters, especially from the main protagonists and major characters. The conflict that was often arise between the major characters and then eventually they reconcile after such a dramatic event. And then the romance between two main protagonists that was slowly budding. It’s satisfying to watch.

Score: 5

Graphic & Sound

Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

The graphic itself is great, dominated by 3D models. Players will get remastered version in PS4 and even smoother in PC. Although there’s a frame-like thing throughout the game as you can see from the images, because the story is depicted in a storytelling style. And some people might not like that.

For the English version, it has dual audio, both English & Japanese dub. So, for those who prefer the original Japanese audio, it’s a big plus. Personally, I would choose Japanese audio over English, because the Japanese dub really fits with the character’s personality and mood. My other reason would be because when you pay attention to it, the mouth movement of the characters is in the Japanese language.

Score: 4

Additional Replay

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

Many side quests are already available on the first playthrough. No online multiplayer features. However, it has several fun DLC. A mission with supporting characters. A mission which will unlock extremely powerful weapons. It even has a mission where player can play as Selvaria with the Imperial troops. And last, an expert level skirmish for players who absolutely love challenge.

Score: 4

Replay value

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

After player finished the game, player will get NG+ and characters’ status and equipment will be carried over to the new game plus. Although nothing new to discover after you completed the game, the battle system is still fun to be replayed again. Valkyria Chronicles main story can be completed in around 30 hours or less.

Score: 2

Summary

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

Pros

+ Military Theme

+ Great, Charming & Dramatic Story

+ Great Gameplay & Character Development

+ Nice Graphic

+ Dual Audio (English & Japanese)

+ Multiple Difficulty Selection

+ Romance Element

Cons

– No Multiple Choice Option (Singular Plot)

– Some Scenes Looks Far Better in the Anime Version

– Supporting Characters in Squad 7 could Die in Battle if You’re not Careful

Final Score: 4.65/5

Story: 5

Gameplay: 5

Characters: 5

Graphic & Sound: 4

Additional Appeal: 4

Replay Value: 2

From IGN, Valkyria Chronicles get a score 9 out of 10. And from GameSpot, it gets a score 8.5 out of 10. Ratings from those websites are taken when this review is being written.

Conclusion

This game is fantastic. An outstanding blend of strategic thinking, 3rd person shooter, role playing, storytelling and military story. The characters are so engaging and lovable. The battle system is so much fun that can make you want to replay again just to apply a better strategy.

Valkyria Chronicles is already available for PC, PS3, and PS4.

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