There are a lot of things I have a love hate relationship with, my cat, hot weather, Fall Out Boy, cheesecake. But I have never loved/hated anything as much as Valkyria Chronicles. On one hand it has incredibly high production values and giant anime tits but on the other hand it has the pace of a snail and anoying combat.
Let's first talk about what I loved. I loved the shiny graphics, the music, the sound effects, the giant breasts of Selvaria Bles
. Basically: the cosmetic stuff. I couldn't get over how awesome a lot of the character designs looked (though specifically Alicia
The first few missions were pretty good only a few hickups but then I got to a level where I had to assault a base and this is where I would hit a brick wall, hard, my brain juice splattering onto passers by and bits of skull skidding across the floor. Now let me tell you, I'm the kind of guy who loves RPGs (and some turn based games for that matter) I was brought up on Advance Wars and Final Fantasy and have recently fallen in love with the Persona and Disgaea series.
The problem I had with the combat in this game is that it's just plain awkward, it's an old person driving in front of you, it's making small talk with your hair dresser, it's those annoying taps that you have to push down and only pass water for 3 seconds. "Why is it bad?" I hear you ask? "Metacritic says it's awesome" well I'll tell you. The pacing is just absolutely terrible, the game deals you out huge chunks of gameplay and then a chunk of cutscene. I know this comes with the territory, it being a turn based game, but Disgaea does not suffer from this problem, the battles are fast paced and fun and the game alternates from gameplay to story quite often.
The gameplay is just so slow! It's like trying to roll a fat person up a hill. In this 'assualt' mission (I use that term loosely) it took me about 3 turns to get my two squads anywhere near any enemies. And the first enemy I encountered killed my scout because I sent her round a corner without knowing he was there and the asshole gunned her down in about a second. Now... the only way I could have known that that enemy was there would be to have played that mission before and the game asks you to choose your squad without telling you what enemies you're going to encounter (a pretty big flaw considering the rock paper scissors combat) so half your squad is taken up by classes you don't really need.
FInally the story. It might have actually been good if all of the main characters weren't so cliche. You have the big bearded tuff guy, the tomboy who is not really a tomboy, the sweet inocent girl who gets killed etc etc. I mean, what I really didn't like was how some of the story was told, in certain parts it would just be a floating character head in a square with some mouth flaps, then that square would fade out and another would fade in with the other character's reply. Now... WHY could they have not just kept both portraits up at the same time? Or even better just had all of the characters standing around (like in Persona 4) and bring up a portrait of them at the bottom of the screen when they spoke? It would have kept a better flow to the conversations and wouldn't have pulled me out of the world.
I honestly really wanted to like this game, but at the moment it's on the way to CeX
with Dissidia to be traded in for Tekken 6. Let's hope Valkyria Chronicles 2 can fix some of the issues with the first game.
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