How come you kids are so GOD DAMNED stupid and just do the stupidest thing possible every SINGLE SECOND OF THE GOD DAMNED DAY!

Valkyria Chronicles

By Shepton on January 31, 2009 in Reviews

Final verdict: B+
Final playtime: A lot more than Renegade’s because I suck at this game.



This is, by a fairly wide margin, one of the best games on the PS3, and one of the very few games on the console that are actually worth playing. And yeah Renegade already reviewed this. And no I didn’t bother putting pictures in this one. You want pictures, you go read Renegade’s review.

The first thing you’ll notice when you play Valkyria Chronicles is how good the art style is. At first glance I thought it was a generic anime cel shaded style, but it’s actually very unique. It has a sketchy appearance and is definitely easy on the eye.

The character, equipment and clothing design is also really good. And damn the women in this game are hot. Especially Freesia. Dayum.

So anyway. If you put this game in your PS3 and look at the description of it on the dashboard (I don’t care what Sony call it, it’s a dashboard) the game is described as an “Active simulation RPG”. I don’t know what the fuck that means, but it’s a turn based strategy game with role-playing elements. Think Advance Wars, or Fire Emblem.

I particularly enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles’ setting. Basically, it’s alternate universe World War II, and the Germans hate everybody. Except it’s not Germany, it’s “the Empire”. You’re Sweden, and you have a vast natural supply of the world’s oil. Except it’s not oil, it’s “ragnite”. And you’re not Sweden, you’re a bunch of tree-huggers. I mean “Gallia”. And Europe isn’t Europe. It’s “Europa”. Man that one was thinly-veiled. Anyway, I love World War II fantasy, so I love Valkyria Chronicles’ setting.

I think the story is a little weaker than the setting, but definitely is far better than most of the crap we had to deal with in 2008. In summary, Germany the Empire wanted Sweden’s Gallia’s ragnite. Sweden Gallia said “Up yours, Germany Empire! Up wherever your race traditionally crams things!” and war were declared. The story focuses on Welkin Gunther, son of a hero from the previous world war Europan war. He loves nature, animal feces, insects, trees, and more animal feces. I’m not making this up. I might be wildly misrepresenting the facts, but I’m not making it up!

It turns out there was some ancient race called the Valkyrur (doesn’t “Valkyrians” make more sense, while being easier to pronounce without sounding like an idiot?) and they had magic powers, yadda yadda… Honestly, that’s where I think the game took a bit of a nose dive, but no big deal. It’s still good.

Alright, so the gameplay. I love it. It has only a few minor flaws. I’ll summarise how it works, but those of you familiar with turn based combat games will already have a good idea. You have a number of units on a battlefield. During your turn, you move your units to strategic positions to attack enemy units, get into cover, capture an enemy headquarters, etc etc. After you use all your command points your turn is over. The enemy has a turn, uses its command points, and then it’s your turn again. You generally achieve victory by eliminating the opposition or capturing all of their headquarters.

The game has a number of different kinds of unit. You’ve got Scouts, who can run further per turn than any other unit. Their gun is a standard rifle that can fire five shots per attack. They’re best used to quickly progress through the field of battle and capture enemy headquarters as fast as possible. Then you have Shocktroopers, the Heavy Weapons Guys of Valkyria Chronicles. They have machine guns. Machine gunning things is their job. Engineers can run quite far but are quite weak. They’re basically a weaker version of Scouts, but unlike Scouts they can fix your tank, and disarm mines. At least one Engineer is generally a necessity to keep your tank in working order. Then you have Lancers, who carry giant lance-shaped rocket launchers for taking out enemy vehicles. Lastly, there’s Snipers. These guys are useful due to the fact that they can basically one shot kill most enemy units from a decent distance. However, their accuracy is… quite poor. I think it’s practically a 60/40 chance to get a headshot or something. Who the fuck let these guys snipe, anyway? That said, if you use snipers right and have a little luck you can take out a great deal of targets in a single turn. Oh, and then there’s your tank. Welkin drives it. It’s pretty handy, but if it gets blown up, you have to start the whole mission over. And considering it has a giant weak point on the back that will get it blown up in one hit, you have to be pretty careful with it. You’d think they’d maybe put some armor over it or something, but… hey, who am I to criticize the military. They clearly know what they’re doing, with their giant glowing weak spots on all their vehicles.

The game also has this whole equipment upgrade system in place. It’s easy enough to just buy all the upgrades when you can afford them (which is always, because the game gives you tons of money for every victory) but there seems to be a whole system in place to tweak all of your units individually, but that’s a hell of a lot of tweaking so I never bothered with it myself.

There’re a lot of characters available in the game that you can recruit whenever you like. They each have pretty detailed backstories that get revealed more and more as you use each character. There are even stories for every location, vehicle, gun and other equipment in the game. Each character also has their own personality traits, negative and positive, that can affect them as you play. For example, some have pollen allergies which kick in when near too many flowers or too deep in the wilderness. Each character also has a set of other characters that they like. Some work better alone, some work better with friends nearby. It’s a pretty deep system. One other thing I really loved was that every character has their own unique voice, too. The game has a lot of voice acting, which I love. And it’s really good voice acting, too. John DiMaggio is in it, and that guy is my god.

When you first start playing, the game eases you in, teaching you techniques and controls bit by bit, which makes it nice and easy to digest. That was appreciated.

Around chapter 7, the game suddenly gets a lot harder, which brings some of the game’s flaws to light. The main problem for me is that I simply cannot let anybody die. I hate the idea of losing a character. It’s pretty easy to rescue characters who’ve fallen in battle (unlike, say, Fire Emblem) because you have three turns in which you can call a medic by having another character approach the fallen character. However, if someone was knocked out in an awkward place, rescuing them can often lead to the knockout of whoever goes to rescue them.

Screwing up can really cost you a lot of time, and basically means restarting the entire level. The only way to prevent this is to play cautiously and try to think several moves ahead, but for some people this simply isn’t easy, and unless you’re familiar with the level because you’ve played it before, the enemy isn’t always predictable. And sometimes it surprises you with indestructible god units that one shot everybody in sight and can run the entire length of the map four times in a single turn. You can’t plan for shit like that, so you have to just suck it up and start the whole level over, taking it into account and planning ahead, knowing what’s going to happen, which I don’t think is a great way to play. I like surprises, but I like surprises that I can deal with on the fly, rather than having to sacrifice an hour or so of playing just to do it all again.

Another thing that I think really lets the game down is its horrible ragdoll effects that occur on death. Seriously, if you kill somebody, they don’t instantly become floppy, weightless corpses and fly backwards. Actual death animations would be much more preferable, and a lot easier to watch.

I think I’ve written far too much about this game. Review over.

Final verdict: B+

Final playtime: A lot more than Renegade’s because I suck at this game.

Leave a Reply