In between all the gaming violence of the last couple of weeks there’s a game that sadly hasn’t gotten all the attention it deserves. Sega delivers a pearl of a game with Valkyria Chronicles. People who thought that November and December would be expensive gaming months could best relook their Santa Clause list and see where they can still fit this one in.
The amount of RPGs on PS3 is quite thin but luckily SEGA has come to fill that gap a bit with this great game. An RPG that combines real-time with turn-based, has both Japanese and European influences and isn’t afraid for some bullets flying around. A mouth filled with praise for Valkyria Chronicles.
The story plays in a fictive Europe where a war between the East, the Imperial Alliance, and the West, the Atlantic Federation, is fought. These two powers battle like two raging dogs to get a good called Ragnite. This valuable commodity is used both as fuel and as medicine. The ground of Gallia, a land that remained neutral, are filled with it and drag Gallia into the war. It’s up to you, Welkin, to keep Gallia up on its feet and counter the invasion.
The game doesn’t have many flaws, but the way the storyline is told was quite a disappointment to me. By means of a diary you go through the story and the menus which results in irritating loading times.
The fights are very remarkable as these perfectly combine real-time, turn-based and shooter. Before you start you need to select a squad of eight people and this already greatly determines how the fight will end as with choosing your men you need to take into account your opponent, the fauna and flora you’re fighting on and how your own soldiers can go along with each other. Some fighter have difficulty to fight at night while others can’t cope with people that have black hear and this will all lead to improving or decreasing their skills. Next to the different personalities you can also choose between snipers, scouts, lancers, engineers and shocktroopers which all have their pros and cons.
The combat is done both in real-time and turn-based. At first you’ve got about nine turns, called Command Points, to play your game while the opponent passively awaits his move. With these turns you do what you want: you prefer two scouts that explore the entire map or want to surround the enemy to attack as one team? It’s all up to you. Once you’ve chosen a character the camera moves to a third person view and you can control your fighter in real-time. Defeating an enemy is done by aiming a crosshair and shoot. It’s wise to aim at the head as that will cause more damage.
An RPG wouldn’t be an RPG without level system, skilltree and customisation possibilities and logically Valkyria Chronicles has it all. After each fight you get experience points and money with which you can level your soldiers and upgrade your weapons.
Remember the feeling when you first looked at a DVD after having seen VHS for years? Or easier: remember the first Blu-ray movie on your brand new 50″ FullHD TV? Well, this is the feeling I got when Valkyria Chronicles flowed onto my screen as a waterpainting. A sublime Cel-shaded art style that only benefits the game. I can imagine that not everyone likes this style but any Manga fan will see this as pure eye candy. Also nothing negative can be said about the sound as there’s a very good voice-acting both in Japanese and English, epical music during the fights and an excellent soundtrack. It’s clear that the audiovisual part of this game is pure enjoyment.
These days gamers already complain when there’s no co-op present in a game or if it doesn’t have online multiplayer but Valkyria Chronicles gives more than enough fun with the offline single player campaign! This game fills more than the empty void that was present with the PS3. SEGA arrives with one hell of an RPG that certainly should be on your wanted list!