Valkyria Chronicles

Many games that have truly survived the test of time have done so as a result of immersion. When a game provides a truly captivating story set in a detailed and interesting world, the memories of the experience can linger for decades. For those that played Final Fantasy VII from beginning to end, the emotions felt at the passing of one main character will likely stay with them for the rest of their gaming lives. On Playstation 3, games like Oblivion have offered similar adventures to participate in, with stories easily spanning 100 hours of gameplay. After that amount of time playing, attachment to characters and the gaming world as a whole can be very strong, demonstrating the power of such deep RPGs. So far though, the Japanese offerings in the genre have been fairly weak, while big hitters like Final Fantasy look set to be delayed until at least 2010. Fortunately, this trend has changed with the arrival of Valkyria Chronicles, from Sega.

Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles is set in Europa, essentially a fictional version of Europe, in the year 1935. When war breaks out between Eastern and Western superpowers, Gallia, a neutral country sandwiched precariously between the two aggressors, finds itself the target of both the Empire and the Alliance, as a result of the rich sources of Ragnite, a great source of power, found in the region. Gallia's military is relatively weak and poorly equipped, and the game's focus is on a small squad of young militia. Most of the cast is introduced in the early chapters of the game, each with an interesting history, entertaining or mysterious personality quirks, and their own motivations for being part of the militia force. The game then unfolds through a series of chapters, introduced as an interactive story book, alternating on each page between cutscenes and battles to fight. As the player, your job is to command your squad thruogh a series of increasingly important and dangerous missions, in the hope of one day liberating Gallia.

The game is actually an unusual blend of strategy and traditional RPG elements, taking some of the most enjoyable parts of each and combining them into a faster-paced, action-intensive role playing game. Those that aren't keen on random battles will be pleased to know that every encounter in the game will be against enemies that can be seen and interacted with on the battlefield. For each engagement, the battlefield varies considerably, from quaint villages under attack by heavy tanks through to war-torn, ragged plains infested with shocktroopers, snipers, tanks and artillery. The variety in scenery and architecture immediately provides huge variation in the tactics that can be employed, forcing players to continually think of new strategies to overcome the next challenge.

Valkyria Chronicles

The best way to describe the battle scenarios in Valkyria Chronicles is to describe an early example. A Militia assault to liberate a Gallian town involves two strike teams: one through the center of the town, where a convoy of enemy tanks is expected to plow through, and one through the backstreets, circling around behind the imminent attack. Given the potential ferocity of tank fire, the initial strike team is best comprised of well-armoured heavy assult troops like Lancers (able to take powerful shots at vehicles) and Shocktroopers (more than capable of handling themselves against any other foot soldiers). Meanwhile, the second prong of the attack could feature scouts, able to run greater distances in each turn, to get behind the enemy troops, and the Edelweiss, the militia's very own tank, once commanded by squad leader Welkin Gunther's father Belgen, and now fighting once more to free Gallia. The enemy is rarely made to look stupid though, and will reliably reveal hidden resources that could turn the tide of battle if not swiftly dealt with. Snipers, anti-tank artillery, reinforcements and other tricks are sometimes at the disposal of the invading forces, meaning that the Gallian heroes must often rely on their wits to overcome a superior enemy.

How good is teh battling. Variety of characters.

Valkyria Chronicles

Later encounters become more and more inventive and epic, as the stakes steadily increase, but such battles are only one small part of what makes the game so special.

Valkyria Chronicles Weapons, tanks and upgrades News reporter stories Character interaction and development The Valkyria Valkyria Chronicles The unique visual style The effectiveness of the cutscenes and book style Tremendous voicework and triffic music, okay effects Length of the game No trophies, but perhaps better for it. In-game medals though Overall, lasting impressions

Game details

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Review summary


Neat tactical play mixed with tense up-close combat


Stunningly realized with fantastic artistic style


Wonderful music and good voicework


Tremendous amounts to explore and discover



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User comments


16:08:40, May 10 2009

Apologies for the delay with this review. I don't want to write it before finishing every last thing in the game. The score reflects my gut feeling for what is one of the most oustanding games I've ever played, and I hope to write lots more soon.

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