One and Done: Valkyria Chronicles

One and Done is a series where I play games from my Steam backlog for roughly 1-2 hours and give a quick review of how it went, along with a “score” of how likely I am to continue the game.

Valkyria Chronicles Header

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 (forthcoming)

Release Date: November 4, 2008

Overall Summary: Unique setting and art style, paired with a fun strategic combat system makes for an engaging experience

In light of the recent reveal that Valkyria Chronicles will be released on PS4, along with a prequel in the works, I decided to finally boot up the PC version of the game.  Valkyria has been a game I picked up in a Steam sale with the intention to get around to it, but it constantly got pushed to the back of the line in the backlog.  I’m glad that I pulled it out for this series, because I really enjoyed what it gave in the first hour and a half.

Valkyria Chronicles Gameplay

Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical role-playing game – with each “mission” a chess-like set piece.  The twist is that instead of the typical square-grid set-up used in the genre, VC utilizes a points bar system, where each unit has an action bar that is depleted as you control their actions.  That means you switch from unit to unit, moving them as their meter depletes, and finish with some action, such as attacking.  Each unit has a unique class, such as Engineer, Scout, or Sniper.  The classes give the units special abilities, and specialize for certain tasks.  This presents my first critcism of the game – the class changing/building is not as deep as similar games in the genre.  Crafting unique units is normally a cornerstone of long tactical RPG campaigns, and the system in VC is lacking.

The story explores a strange alternate World War II-era struggle, with pseudo-European nations engaging in a massive conflict.  While only playing for a short time does not give a deep look at the story, the little I did encounter oozed with anime-tropes with the classic young protagonist tasked with saving the world.  That’s not to say it’s a bad thing – but it certainly will irk some players.

Valkyria Chronicles Cutscene

The story is complimented by the anime art style (which is a bit close to cellshaded), which I found appealing.  When tanks buzz by, they are accompanied by trailing onomatopoeias (ie. Bzzzz, Grrrrr, Vrrrrooom).  Cut scenes punctuate the missions, with both static images with dialogue, along with moving animation and video.  Again, I didn’t get too far, but it managed to catch my attention and successfully set the scene for each upcoming mission.

Valkyria Chronicles Explosion

The gameplay itself melds the classic tropes of strategy tactical games, along with modern accommodation and unique twists.  As mentioned, the game structures each mission in a set piece fashion, but allows for more “action” through the action bar.  This sets the meter for movement, but also gives the player the ability to aim and take the shots as opposed to a simple numbers calculation.  My senses tell me that this system leaves it open to potential abuse, with Scouts or other high movement units able to quickly seize objectives.  But then again, what sRPG or tRPG doesn’t allow for a little abuse?  It’s part of the fun.  I played on PC, and quickly moved to my Xbox controller.  Using keyboard was difficult and awkward, with the game obviously catered to its console roots.

Chance of continuing: 90%

+Unique tactical combat system

+Strong visual style

-Predictable storyline

-Best to avoid keyboard + mouse

 

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6 thoughts on “One and Done: Valkyria Chronicles

  1. I have not played this game before. It is strange to see a European town during the Second World War drawn in anime style, it looks like a lighter Medal of Honour game (even though some of the items look futuristic). The graphics look like a comic, with the onomatopoeias, the slight papery effects and uncoloured edge of the screen. It is also strange animated sequences appear during gameplay, it must make the story more immersive and reflect the player’s actions more.
    How is the game played? How does the “chess” system work? Does the player control the characters like a third-person shooter? Do they have to change characters each time the meter runs out?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, each character has a set amount of action they can undertake, and when you decide to attack an enemy character, you go into a first person aiming reticule. Once the action is up, you move to the next character or piece. It’s a cool concept and neat game

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  2. Valkyria Chronicles has been taking up prime real estate in my backlog for a while now. I played up until the first mission where you use the tank in one sitting, and never went back to it. I only ever hear great things about it, though—90% is probably a good estimate of my chances of jumping back into it at some point.

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  3. Valkyria Chronicles is probably one of my favourite games, so I got excited when I saw this in my inbox. The plot is very anime, but it’s well told and has a few twists and turns that work well with the WW2-style setting. There are ways to abuse the system a little, and there are videos out there of people dominating some missions with Alicia alone, but I’ve found it tricky to pull those things off with consistency. But the game is fairly flexible on tactics anyway, which is probably why I love it so much compared to other games in the genre.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you get even more enjoyment out of it if you plan on continuing it at some point!

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