Most strategy role playing games feature either real time or turn based combat. Valkyria Chronicles shatters that mold and merges the two styles together for a unique experience that adds the best of both. While not without its flaws it is a great break from the games that force you into one or the other.
Set in a mythical land that looks very similar to Europe, Valkyria Chronicles tells the story of a war bent Empire as it floods its neighbor’s borders in search of resources to power their technology. Instead of oil this fantasy world is powered by magic rocks. Using war as its backdrop Valkyria Chronicles also tells a tale of hope in the face of adversity and maintaining one’s humanity even while others are at their worst.
Welkin Gunther is the son of a famous Gallian general. While Welkin could have relied on this father’s name to establish his place in the world he instead focused on his education and then sought to bring his learning to others. While his heart was set on becoming a teacher and sharing his love of nature he put aside his personal ambitions and joined the local militia in defense of his homeland.
Along the way Welkin is united with childhood friends and becomes a tank commander in Squad 7. Welkin commands the Edelweiss and leads his squad on missions across the different battlefields liberating Gallia. As Welkin you are able to switch up the composition of your squad to consist of heavy combat classes to skirmishers and snipers based on what the different situations require. You can also issue special commands across the battlefield to rally your troops to action.
The primary feature that sets Valkyria Chronicles apart from other strategy role playing games is the integration of both turn based and real time combat. You’ll position your squad at the start of a match on a tactical map. From there you will select which unit to move based upon the control point cost and how many points you have available. Once you select a unit you will then switch to a third person perspective and move your character across the map. Using cover such as sandbags or concealing your troop movements behind buildings or Welkin’s tank can prevent your units from taking unnecessary damage. As units move across the battlefield they will take fire from opposing forces. You can also use the same character more than once per turn. As long as you have the CP you can move the same character over and over. They will suffer a slight penalty from repetitive use though.
There are a number of different win or loss conditions based upon the scenario. The only constant is missions will end with the death of Welkin. Some missions are won by escaping the battlefield with Welkin alive, others by killing the enemy commander. Another possible win scenario is capturing the enemy base. It’s nice to have these in addition to the generic, kill everything. Most missions also have a round timer that requires you to win in a certain number of turns. This helps force the speed of play and prevents you from turtling. This is important because your allies will heal a small amount of HP between each turn.
In another departure from standard RPG rules, you’ll level up characters by class instead of as individuals. This will allow you to recruit characters later in the game that have different strengths and weaknesses and not worry about having to level them up. If your snipers are level 10 and you recruit a new sniper she will be level 10 too.
The game is laid out like reading a text book. The story spans multiple chapters and in each chapter are different cutscenes and combat scenarios. As you open up new features they will appear as new tabs in the book. This ties all the different features in the game together with the narrative and makes it all one cohesive package.
Valkyria Chronicles took risks and they paid off big. This remaster pulls the game from a previous generation and places it on the PS4. The $29.99 MSRP puts a value price on a great game. Fans of strategy RPGs will find a lot to like in this title.
- GAMEPLAY: 8 – A mixture of turn based and real time combat make this a unique strategy game where normally a title is one or the other.
- VISUALS AND SOUND: 8 – The hand drawn maps look fantastic. Disclaimer I’m a bit of a map nut. Combat animations are well done. The voice acting is surprisingly good for a port that has both an English and Japanese language track.
- POLISH: 8 – Game looks great and plays well. Not a lot of additions for this remaster but it didn’t need anything added to it either.
- LONGEVITY: 8 – Game is well paced with breaks between the action and story.
- VALUE: 9 – $29.99 for the quality of this remake is a good value. A number of games would have tried to get new game price. Sega placed a value price on this title.
- Mix of real time and turn based combat
- Voice acting
- Map art
- Tutorial chapter was drawn out