MAJOR VALKYRIA CHRONICLES SPOILERS
I recently picked up Valkyria Chronicles (Oh really?) and I'm having a blast with it. No other game has made me feel both utter hatred for the game mechanics as well as elation when I succeeded in an operation. To keep things short, however, I'd like to share one tid-bit in the game that moved me on many different levels.
At a certain point in the plot, Alicia (a maternal, quick footed, altogether likable and dependable person) awakens as a Valkyria. For those who haven't played the game, she basically goes super saiyan. Now, this is what happens after she goes over 9000. Player control of Alicia is taken away, I could only watch. Alicia strolls onto the battle field which is littered with bunkers. Actually, she kind of hobbles because her body is on auto pilot due the the awakening of her powers. These bunkers usually need to be hit in there weak spot for massive damage since a frontal assault usually ends in your squad member taking a dirt nap. As she makes a slow...slow...slow walk towards the first bunker, I sat in silent shock as bullets did nothing to her health bar. Obviously, I knew that the game wasn't about to let her die but I will explain my awe later on. Next, she raises her lance and points it at the bunker. Charging... charging... charging...BWOOOOSHHHH.
An example of Valkyria mode Alicia
The bunker is vaporized. As I sat on my couch with my mouth open (yes, it was actually open), I noticed how much of a win this was in terms of gaming story telling. The reason: the game was making me feel the same emotions that Alicia's comrades were also feeling. How? A combination of game mechanics and story telling to create a disconnect between the player and Alicia that results in emotions.
Up until this point, the game had made Alicia out to be a certain type of person through the use of game mechanics and story. It does so by placing her in the Scout class which is the most flexible class in the game and also gives her above average stats to boost. Also, the game gives her abilities that speak about her character like Maternal, and Country-Bred. This combination of class and ability created an imprint in my mind of Alicia as the kind of character that I rely on from a game mechanics point of view but also through her story and abilities, Alicia is made out to be a loving and caring person. Now recall her transformation. Alicia changes from both a gameplay and story perspective. She now shows shows none of her usual warm personality while in Valkyria auto pilot mode and she is also completely different gameplay wise since she can break the rules of the game by one shoting everything. As said above, control is also taken away from the player, you can only watch as she decimates the opposition. All of these factors leads me to experience emotions that the people in game, Alicia's squad and friends, are also experiencing as I will now explain.
When Alicia's transformation happened I felt both joy and unease. Joy because she was single handedly winning the battle for me and unease because control had been taken away from me and her original personality was completed absent, replaced by a soulless overpowered npc. Alicia's squad was also feeling the exact same emotions that I was. They were obviously happy that she was beating back the enemy but (as explained in the story) they are also unsure whether she was the same person as before. Now, instead of a comrade who fights beside them, they see an engine of destruction, winning the day but disconnected from her old self and friends. As you can see, I was feeling the same emotions that in game characters were also experiencing. We (me and characters) were all happy and uneasy due to Alicia's overpoweredness and her disconnection from her old self.
In summary, Valkyria Chronicles moved me because it put me in the same position as the characters within the game. It does so by first imprinting upon me the character of Alicia through gameplay and story and then drastically altering said gameplay and character's personality to make me feel both joy and unease. These same emotions are felt by characters in game because an immense power is now on their side but they also feel removed from Alicia in the same way as the player does.
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