hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Destructoid review: Valkyria Chronicles

3:09 PM on 11.18.2008 // 8BitBrian

Ever since the April build-up to the release of Valkyria Chronicles in Japan, I have been waiting to play this title. The premise of "anime girls with guns" has always been a favorite of mine, but when draped in a WW II-esque backdrop and styled with a beautiful and strikingly different art style? Pants were changed many a time.

And in this generation, it's great to see games that are visually different from other titles, trying out a new way of conveying story and emotion -- but is the gameplay there to back it up? Valkyria Chronicles takes a new spin on tactical RPGs, mixing real-time action with the careful plotting of character movements on the map.

And so, how does this wartime adventure stack up? Is it gritty and filled with grenades at every moment? Well, let's find out after the jump.

Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
Developed by SEGA WOW
Published by SEGA
Originally released on November 4, 2008

Set in Europan country of Gallia, you play as Welkin Gunther, the son of a war hero who, like the rest of his country, has gotten wrapped up in an ongoing war between the Eastern European Imperial Alliance (complete with Nazi-esque outfits), and the Atlantic Federation. So now it's up to Welkin to prove his mettle as a tank commander in charge of Squad 7, taking dangerous missions and constantly surprising the enemy.

And thus, you set out in a world of beautiful colors thanks to Sega's Canvas graphics engine, which creates a graphic styling akin to a watercolor painting in motion -- think of the Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions cutscenes, but on a whole new level. Watching the characters move about, attack, and blow stuff up is exactly like reading a comic book, right down to the sound effects appearing on the screen. It's easy to get caught up in the lush environments, or stop to notice a really impressive detail, only to get shot a moment later.

The game operates by giving you a pool of command points (CP) to spend however you desire. Each CP will give you the opportunity to move and shoot with one of your characters, as much as their stamina/ammo will allow. Similarly, you can spend CP issuing orders that give stat boosts or heal your own troops.

This allows for two styles of play, essentially. You can work at a slow and steady pace, chugging along through the area and wiping out all traces of the enemy. This leads to a long and drawn-out battle, as the enemy can repeatedly call in reinforcements, delaying you from capturing their final base.

Alternatively, you can repeatedly move the same several units over and over in an attempt to capture the enemy base as quickly as possible, avoiding as many entanglements of troops as humanly possible. This path, naturally, leads you to saving the game as much as possible, because one wrong turn, and your entire plan is a failure.

It would be great if these were two equally valid options, but in the end, the game solely prefers speed over anything else. In order to get A-rank on these missions and recieve a decent amount of experience points, you need to follow the latter option. Deaths of characters, number of enemies killed, and such like that have a minor effect on the total you get, but speed is the great determining factor.

Without garnering that experience, your soldiers are weaker, and fewer weapon improvements are available to you. Leveling up your soldiers grants them new abilities, as each individual character has their own set of advantages and disadvantages for combat. Since you're leveling up an entire class (Scout, Stormtrooper, Lancer, Engineer, or Sniper), each of the individual characters has the same experience -- so you can swap out team members based on site conditions without any penalty.

Taking advantage of situational benefits is key, because this game is not easy. Valkyria Chronicles is honestly difficult. The game positions itself as a mix of third-person action and turn-based strategy, forcing you to judge distance, use actual tactics (i.e., sneaking up behind the enemy), and set up ambushes in order to not get your entire team slaughtered. The enemies aren't idiots, either -- they'll gladly use terrain to their advantage, and hell, they'll even drop to the ground when you're firing head-on at them. It can be frustrating, but it shows some brains.

As frustrating as the battles can be, time and time again I enjoy playing through every little bit of them. Valkyria Chronicles is a visual feast. It maintains a high level of difficulty in a new and rather innovative renewal of the tactical genre that provides enough of a challenge to entice fans of the genre, but is not so stuck in its ways as to keep normally averse gamers away. This is one title all you PS3 owners need to pick up.

Overall Score: 8.5 (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Steam rejected the DP refund. Meh, It's been a long time between when I bought and played it, don't care anymore, heh. Decided to play more MGS4 on PS3 and start replaying Rayman Origins on PC. Fun games that actually work.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Being an asshole, watching this Star Citizen debacle unfold and seeing Cloud Imperium's meltdown about the whole ordeal is incredibly entertaining. Even if the allegations ARE false, CI's official statement comes off as wonderfully bitter and petty.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Alright. Playing off of the Avatar question, why did you choose your username?
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I tried playing Deadly Premonition on Steam from my backlog today and it's a GODAWFUL pc port. I bought it forever ago but I requested a refund. If anything I don't want it in my library....
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
If you ever dipped a cookie in your coffee, I promise you're doing it right.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Why did you pick your avatar? What about you does it represent?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Wanna eat some meat ? [youtube][/youtube]
KyWii avatarKyWii
Why is it that Sundays always feel so lazy? I always tell myself I'm going to get things done and then...well....
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
So, I plan on using my GameStop Power-Up Rewards points (yes) to buy all the eventual P4DAN DLC. Even though the practices are very suspect. I am so not made of stone. Moreso blubber and Dr. Pepper.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Having a puppy and trying to play legend of grimrock 2 somewhere the puppy normally doesn't get to hang out is a futile effort.
gajknight avatargajknight
Shafts of light emanated from Robo Panda Z's eyes, illuminating the intricately engraved obelisks looming impossibly above him. A whispered voice spoke from the obelisk. Do you pay too much for your Internet? Comcast. Like you have a choice.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I miss Kill la Kill - I think mostly because it was so damn entertaining to have a bunch of people drawling, "Nuuuuuuuuudiiiiiiiist Beeeeeeeeeeeaaaach" at each other.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I took a homeopathic shower this morning. I used extra water.
Shinta avatarShinta
Shinta avatarShinta
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
It's 2am and I'm watching this emulator whiz play Xenia (360 emilator) on PC albeit glitchy This video is hilarious
Shinta avatarShinta
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The Undertale review section on its Steam page is hilarious! [img][/img]
n0signal avatarn0signal
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
A Nintendo rep gave this to me today because she likes talking to me. I do have lots of the Old AC eReader cards I guess I could put in it... [img][/img]
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -