Loading...

Review: Valkyria Chronicles – Mamoth review of SEGAs epic J-RPG

We can­not hesi­ta­te when it comes to talk about Val­ky­ria Chro­ni­cles: It is sim­ply awe­so­me! The rea­sons that turn the slo­pe posi­ti­ve on that way (in our opi­ni­on) are in the words that fol­low along this review.

Writ­ten by Rafa

From the very start, the intro cine­ma­tic pro­vi­des the sen­se that this is a very emo­tio­nal tale. Yet, the ani­me style and some­ti­mes chil­dish, but pure, beha­vi­or of the per­so­na­ge and how things are pre­sen­ted may just not be of your liking. It’s not a pro­blem at all.

Would you pre­fer to focus eit­her on the game­play, or may­be on your role throughout the game’s sto­ry? Well, both ways of play­ing are pos­si­ble and both of the­se shall satis­fy your thirst for this kind of game, assuming you’re into the gen­re. What we mean is that gamers that just want to jump direc­t­ly into action as well as tho­se that want to explo­re ever­ything that’s offe­red will have a gre­at time!
We wro­te this in hope to help you get in touch with the most rele­vant aspec­ts of the game. Hope­ful­ly it’s rele­vant and our opi­ni­ons will help you out dis­co­vering if this is a game you’d like play­ing.

Some 7s
Some 7s

(Initial) Plot

In this game you’ll expe­ri­ence a tale about war (and peace!) in a con­ti­nent cal­led Euro­pa. Love, fri­endship, loyal­ty, geno­ci­de, discri­mi­na­ti­on, affec­tion ruling over blood rela­ti­on (a con­tem­pora­ry ten­den­cy on the juri­di­cal sphe­re, in the real world) and more are also in the game, but we should not enu­me­ra­te all of the­se so that we don’t spoil anything the sto­ry­line reveals as you play. For us, it was such a nice sequence of events that it beca­me hard not to finish it.

You play as Wel­kin Gun­ther, son of a very important mili­ta­ry figu­re that has pas­sed away, but also, you’ll play as Gallia’s Mili­tia Squad 7 mem­bers as soon as you advan­ce the first sta­ges of the game.
Gal­lia is a lovely, neu­tral small coun­try. It has huge reser­ves of Ragni­te, which is a scar­ce mine­ral used as ener­gy source. The Empi­re (East European Impe­ri­al Alli­an­ce) and the Fede­ra­ti­on (Atlan­tic Fede­ra­ti­on), the two fac­tions that rule over the Euro­pa con­ti­nent are at war and some of their inte­rests are revea­led later on.

The Empi­re makes a strong effort and repel the Fede­ra­ti­on back. This crea­tes the oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Empi­re forces to inva­de Gal­lia and explo­re the Ragni­te reser­ves.

Bruhl is a town in Gal­lia. Near the bor­der with the lands the Fede­ra­ti­on con­trol. Wel­kin is retur­ning to it from his stu­dies. He was many years away from home, but rapidly hap­pens to be on the begin­ning of the mili­ta­ry offen­si­ve for taking Gal­lia. Just befo­re the act of aggres­si­on, you meet Ali­cia, from Bruhl’s Town Guard. She takes Wel­kin under cus­to­dy for suspec­ting he’s one the Empire’s spies.

Isa­ra, Welkin’s sis­ter, finds the small con­voy and con­firms that he is a ‘harm­less’ citi­zen, back the­re to help her evacua­te befo­re the inva­si­on comes under­way. All this, just in time for an Empire’s scout team to reach them and some evacua­ting citi­zens, then begin to spread hor­ror in the form of vio­lent acts.

In order to defend Gal­lia and his loved ones, Wel­kin enlists on the Mili­tia and that’s when you first mana­ge the Squad 7. That’s when we start grea­ter deeds!

Valkyria Chronicles

Characters

The mem­bers of Gallia’s mili­tia, Squad 7, vary on age and fea­tures. Each one has a uni­que sto­ry­line, pros and cons poten­ti­als that affect their yield on the battle­field.

Wel­kin, Isa­ra, Ali­cia, Lar­go and Rosie are some of the most important mem­bers of the crew in terms of par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on on the game­play events. It’s also evi­den­ced becau­se they add one Action Point to every turn they’re part of the crew you choo­se for the batt­les. It’s always gre­at to have them on battle­field so that the game events make more sen­se and also becau­se of the tac­ti­cal advan­ta­ge of having more APs (Action Points) for every turn you keep them ali­ve.

Sin­ce the first dia­logs, you’ll note with the into­na­ti­on and expres­si­ons that there’s an invi­ta­ti­on for diving on the emo­ti­ons the cha­rac­ters act for. The immer­si­on on the sto­ry depends, pret­ty much, on how well you adapt to the ani­me like gra­phics and on absor­bing the messa­ges bound to the fee­lings brought with the hea­vy out­break a war rep­res­ents.

Not that this is as com­plex as it sounds, but we’ve seen feed­back from play­ers that just skip­ped the sto­ry events and went objec­tively for the game­play, which is total­ly accep­ta­ble. Alt­hough you’d be drop­ping hea­vy con­tent away; con­tent that may turn your idea about the game from good to spec­ta­cu­lar. That kind of con­tent!

This empha­sis around skip­ping epi­so­des has a rea­son: We’d like to warn that you’ll be mis­sing one of the fea­tures we elect as very important for the game and what it stands for, through its sto­ry. In this case, howe­ver, you’ll still have an exten­si­ve cam­pai­gn to play! So, not that huge of a pre­ju­di­ci­al merit. Just play as you pre­fer, but be awa­re of it.

The cha­rac­ters are awe­so­me and we think that each of them deser­ve a pro­per pre­sen­ta­ti­on. We’ve deci­ded not put it in this review, in order to con­ser­ve the tas­te of dis­co­very for each advan­ce you make in the game, for it reveals more and more info about them gra­dual­ly.

Selvaria Valkyria Attacking
Sel­va­ria Val­ky­ria Attacking

Gameplay

The game is a mix bet­ween RPG (J-RPG) and turn based com­bat, over who­se sec­tions the crew is selec­ted and dis­po­sed tac­ti­cal­ly on the field. The pos­si­ble posi­ti­ons are pre­set and they should be cho­sen wise­ly if you want to achie­ve vic­to­ry. It’s not real­ly that easy to advan­ce through every level, above all if you’re aiming on the ‘A’ ranks for every level.

Befo­re each sta­ge begins, the vic­to­ry and fail­u­re con­di­ti­ons are pre­sen­ted.

On your turn, you select which unit you’d like to move from an over­view per­spec­tive, then you move it and act from the third per­son view per­spec­tive.

Move­ment is limi­ted by a bar that indi­ca­tes how much one can move each turn. Using the same unit on the same turn makes it deple­te the move­ment bar fas­ter. The turn goes on until you use all of the avail­ab­le Action Points, or deci­de to end it befo­re spen­ding every APs, so that the­se will add to the amount of Action Points to be used on the next turn, with the maxi­mum limit of 20 Action Points sum­med up.

Some com­ple­xi­ty comes from how well you choo­se to posi­ti­on units and how you move them, as well as attack, to reach the objec­tives. To move until the move­ment bar deple­tes is not always the wisest pick. One should focus on stra­te­gi­cal­ly posi­tio­ning befo­re advan­cing the most.

Take care and keep saving your pro­gress for the­re is no auto save fea­ture in this game (you have to do it manu­al­ly!). The­re­fo­re, it’s pos­si­ble that you lose the ent­i­re pro­gress if you don’t save it. It hap­pen­ed to us a few times!
Star­ting sta­ges back from scratch is what we’ve been doing while play­ing Val­ky­ria Chro­ni­cles, becau­se it see­med more inte­res­ting to explo­re other pos­si­bi­li­ties of how well would it be if we’d done it dif­fe­rent, posi­tio­ning units, moving them, or explo­ring other stra­te­gies wit­hin each ter­rain con­fi­gu­ra­ti­on. This adds to the replaya­bi­li­ty of the game.

Valkyria Chronicles

Classes

Units are divi­ded into clas­ses: Scout, Sni­per, Shock­tro­oper, Lan­cer and Engi­neer. Tank Com­man­der is also a cate­go­ry, but they can­not level up like the other clas­ses.

● Scouts are able to move much fur­ther, they’re your eyes on the battle­field;

Some 7s and Ms Ellet
Some 7s and Ms Ellet

● Sni­pers can dama­ge units over the distan­ce, excep­tio­nal keys on some sta­ges;
● Shock­tro­o­pers deal a grea­ter amount of dama­ge on ene­my foot mobi­le units;
● Lan­cers can dama­ge mecha­ni­cal units, essen­ti­al on many sta­ges;
● Engi­neers can fix fri­end­ly mecha­ni­cal units but also rep­le­nish ammo for fri­end­ly units (foot mobi­le and mecha­ni­cal), you’ll use them a lot too;
● Tank Com­man­ders need two Action Points to move, cau­se a gre­at amount dama­ge to any unit and ser­ve as obsta­cle to block direct ene­my inco­m­ing fire.

Each class can car­ry dis­tinct equip­ment and more beco­mes avail­ab­le as you pick up ene­my gear or achie­ve cer­tain requi­re­ments on each pha­se. The equip­ment avail­ab­le for every class can recei­ve upgrades as you pro­gress. The­se upgrades will cost more and more resour­ces, so the bet­ter the ranks you achie­ve in each chap­ter, the more you can impro­ve your gear at the R&D Faci­li­ty bet­ween each sta­ge.

Interface

valkyriachronicles12It’s been a while sin­ce this ‘review­er’ has play­ed games on con­so­les. Being this a gem from the last gen (a PS3 exclu­si­ve, por­ted later to PC), I think it’s fair to say that it res­cues that kind of fri­end­ly inter­face we used to see on such tit­les as Zel­da – Oca­ri­na of Time, from Nin­ten­do 64. That kind of stuff that cap­ti­va­tes your will to come back and con­ti­nue unfol­ding the sto­ry, alt­hough they’re not the same kind of game, nor plat­form.

You’ll hard­ly find any dif­fi­cul­ty when it comes to explana­ti­on on what is avail­ab­le on every por­ti­on of the game, from the game mecha­nics to the avai­la­bi­li­ty of fea­tures offe­red, like the access to music and cha­rac­ters’ poten­ti­als.

A huge amount of back­ground con­tent is the­re to be explo­red. The histo­ry of Euro­pa recei­ve lots of detail­ing that jus­ti­fy the web of nexus that rai­se the writ­ten plot to a plau­si­ble base­li­ne. Every wea­pon you can use has a log that defi­nes which fac­tion pro­du­ced it, when it hap­pen­ed, what it is bet­ter used for, just to exem­pli­fy.

Tank Attack 1
Tank Attack 1

Did we men­ti­on that every cha­rac­ter has also a nar­ra­ti­ve that situa­te them? They can be expe­ri­en­ced or new to com­bat, have bet­ter sets for a deter­mi­ned kind of ter­rain and act bet­ter as a group, or even act bet­ter when they’re clo­se to a cha­rac­ter from the oppo­si­te sex. They may have come from a poor fami­ly that has been pas­sing dif­fi­cul­ties cau­sed by war, or have lost a loved one. Ever­ything makes sen­se, the ide­as over which ever­yo­ne is and what makes they want to fight a war is left for us to con­nect the points tight­ly.

It’s pos­si­ble that you get bored to keep rea­ding every log made avail­ab­le becau­se of the con­stant updates as you advan­ce the sta­ges. The wide ran­ge of issu­es the­se logs are addres­sed to may get you tired from fol­lo­wing them until they are com­ple­te­ly revea­led. Again, if that bothers you, just skip it!

Some other thoughts about this game

You can give your units Order Com­mands at the cost of some Action Points. They may seem to cost a lot, but the play­er shall end up lear­ning the impor­t­an­ce of sacri­fi­cing a small por­ti­on of tac­ti­cal maneu­vera­bi­li­ty to increa­se its effec­ts once you reach a given turn objec­tive with the ade­qua­te unit.

Play­ers are gran­ted Medals for achie­ving cer­tain con­di­ti­ons during the sta­ges. Some are very hard to get. If you plan to get them all, we recom­mend that you take extra care with saving your game data and hand­ling your units on the battle­field.

Note that, on sta­ges, taking out the ene­my units assi­gned with the effect of adding Action Points for the ene­my turns, in the fewer quan­ti­ty of turns are requi­re­ments for reaching ‘A’ ranks at the end of every level.
Having ‘A’ ranks will also help a lot with upgra­ding equip­ment on the R&D Faci­li­ty, reve­aling part of the sto­ry through spon­so­ring Ms. Ellet’s with her wri­tings, advan­cing units up with the levels and lear­ning new orders!
The game’s music con­tent can’t be left behind as well! Through the ses­si­ons, you may fami­lia­ri­ze with the sound­track. Songs like “A Love Pas­sed On” (both Orches­tral and Ori­gi­nal ver­si­ons), “Batt­ling Bra­vely”, “Brea­king Through”, “A Duel Against Legend”, “Show­down”, Against the Odds”, “Awa­ke­n­ing” are gre­at. The feel is that they fit the game per­fec­t­ly!

In addi­ti­on to it all, we’d like to point that, despi­te it being a sin­gle play­er game, the time requi­red to finish it is con­si­dera­ble! Took us many hours to reach the game apex (30ish hours regis­te­red in the save game, con­si­de­ring you won’t go for the A ranks or use any sort of gui­de, but around 70 hours of game­play – this wit­hout play­ing the extras!).

 

Empire Army Ready for CombatValkyria ChroniclesTank Edelweiss Ready

Conclusion

In our opi­ni­on, Val­ky­ria Chro­ni­cles stands as one of tho­se remar­kab­le games we’ve had the plea­su­re of play­ing. The cha­rac­ters are cap­ti­vat­ing (you’ll have a hard time try­ing to avo­id losing any of them); clas­ses and sta­ges are rich­ly desi­gned and appre­cia­ble. The sound­track is ama­zing, the ani­me art style is beau­ti­ful and the tale unfold­ed is just so inte­res­ting and enjoy­a­ble! This game has a lot of atten­ti­on to detail − in terms of func­tio­n­a­li­ty; not necessa­ri­ly gra­phi­cal­ly − and will enter­tain you for many hours, that’s for sure!

If you have the chan­ce, go for it! You’ll infi­ni­te­si­mal­ly hard­ly reg­ret it.

What an asto­nis­hing game!

Making a retrospective to highlight pros and cons, we’d have

Pros:

● Cha­ris­ma­tic cha­rac­ters
● Pas­sio­na­te­ly writ­ten
● Gre­at art style, voice acting and nar­ra­ti­ve
● Extre­me­ly fri­end­ly inter­face (*with one excep­ti­on, see cons list)
● Well-desi­gned sta­ges
● Game exten­si­on despi­te it is a sin­gle play­er
● Music fits the game per­fec­t­ly
● Eng­lish and Japa­ne­se audio avail­ab­le

Cons:

● *Can’t exit the game via menu (Need to press Alt+F4)
● You have to watch every ene­my turn (Not that bad)
● No auto save (Don’t for­get to save your pro­gress!)
● 30 fps port (the review­er didn’t real­ly think this mat­ters)

P.S.: Plea­se, note that some of the main the­mes of the game, such as the Darc­sens, the Val­kyr­yans, and the rela­ti­ons the­se may have with real his­to­ri­cal events are not being cla­ri­fied in order to main­tain the game sto­ry­line com­ple­te­ly unspoi­led!

Hope­ful­ly, the insight we intend with this review has been achie­ved.

Do you think this is a game you’d like play­ing? Have you alrea­dy play­ed it?
Com­ment below!

Val­ky­ria Chro­ni­cles
Gen­re: Action, RPG, Stra­te­gy
Sys­tem: PC (Also avail­ab­le for PS3)
Pri­ce: €19.99 / $19.99 / R$36,99
Deve­lo­per: SEGA
Publisher: SEGA

Mega Gallery!

Every screen­shot was made by us using the Steam ver­si­on. This game was pro­vi­ded by the publisher for review pur­po­ses, check our review poli­cy for details.

Twitch Live Stream is ONLINE
Twitch Live Stream is OFFLINE