Review of Valkyria Chronicles 4

valkchron4

It’s been ages since the west was able to enjoy a proper Valkyria Chronicles game. The third instalment was never localized and the recently released Valkyria Revolution was an unpopular spin-off, which abandoned the franchise’s trademark tactical elements. Valkyria Chronicles 4 thankfully returns to its roots. Both the combat system and setting are identical to the first game. For those unacquainted with the series, Valkyria Chronicles takes place on a continent that suspiciously resembles World War II Europe. Players lead a squad of Federation soldiers who are battling against Empire invaders. The Empire started the conflict to secure stockpiles of Ragnite – a magical mineral that can power machinery, heal the sick and turn well-endowed babes into super humans.

CHARCTERS

Valkyria Chronicles 4 recounts the adventures of Squad E, throughout a 35-hour campaign that sees the battalion venture deep into Empire territory. The plot is both straightforward and well written. Players experience first hand the brutal tragedies of war. Balancing out the drama are moments of romance and comedy that wouldn’t look out of place in an anime. There’s even a hot springs episode and DLC that takes place at the beach. Claude Wallace is the game’s protagonist. He begins the story with a reputation of being a coward, but as events unfold he develops into a courageous commander. His subordinates include childhood sweetheart Riley, a reckless trooper named Raz and Deadeye Kai. The latter is a sniper who possesses an irresistible heinie. Did you know that German soldiers, who the Empire’s conscripts are modelled after, were once nicknamed heinie? Perhaps Kai’s ass is a reference to that. Nah, it’s just eye candy.

Apart from the main cast there are over fifty unique characters to command. Picking whom to take on a mission is akin to assembling an army in Fire Emblem. There’s even a private named Odin who acts like his Fire Emblem namesake! When selecting a team I suspect most players will choose soldiers based on looks/personalities they find appealing. The supporting cast don’t play a major part in story cut scenes, but they do at least feature in optional chapters that flesh out their origins

COMBAT

Gameplay wise Valkyria Chronicles is a hybrid of strategy and action. Each level has an objective to complete. The missions range from capturing a base, to defeating all the enemies or protecting a zone for a specified number of rounds. Levels are laid out on a map, where players spend command points to issue orders and move their troops. If this was a fantasy game orders would be magic. By issuing an order it’s possible to heal allies, apply buffs and replenish ammo. Hey rookie I command you to stop being poisoned and um… cease being dead. What distinguishes Valkyria Chronicles from other strategy games is that when repositioning a soldier the action switches to a third person view. From this vantage point players assume direct control of the soldier in real time. To keep things tactical, characters can only attack once during their movement phase.

A character’s stamina limits how much terrain they can cover during a turn. Different classes have varying amounts of stamina. A nimble scout can therefore take more steps than a heavily armoured Lancer. I love Valkyria Chronicles’ battles, as they are more interactive than simply moving pieces on a chessboard. Possessing a soldier means you have to dodge bullets yourself and watch where they go, due to the ever-present danger of landmines. Mercifully, the enemies will seize fire whenever you line up a shot. Great news for me, as I have terrible aim when under pressure. Maybe instead of the Federation I should be fighting for the Empire. I do after all hit targets less often than a Storm Trooper.

CONCLUSION

My rating for Valkyria Chronicles 4 is five stars. Easily one of the best games I have played in 2018. Valkyria Chronicles 4 might be too similar to the original, for some folks, but I personally didn’t mind. It’s been almost a decade since the west got a mainline VC title, so the combat system still feels fresh to me. One new addition to Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the introduction of grenadiers. These soldiers can blast foes from afar with a mortar. I thought the grenadiers were overpowered during the early missions, but used them less in the later chapters. Sega might have added the class to benefit the enemy AI forces, more than the player. Their inclusion, on certain maps, does somewhat discourage players from making a beeline for the objective. You have to plan out movements or else Squad E will get an unwelcome explosive surprise when navigating choke points. Stop pelting me with grenades – that’s “bang” out of order.

I highly recommend Valkyria Chronicles 4. The game is fun and very pretty to look at. I like how the cell shaded graphics have a watercolour tinge to them. Anyone who was frustrated by the original’s difficulty spikes will be pleased to learn that Valkyria Chronicles 4 is much less challenging. The only level that took me a while to clear was the final showdown. It wasn’t hard per say, but a bit ponderous due to the amount of damage the last boss could soak up. Then again that was due to my bad planning rather than poor level design. After besting Valkyria Chronicles 4 I looked online and found clips of people beating that mission quickly, via the creative use of orders. Man, I really suck at making orders. Perhaps that is why it takes me so long to pick a main course.

18 thoughts on “Review of Valkyria Chronicles 4

  1. I was very curious about this game. I was spending time with my nephews
    and this was a free demo on X-box, so we downloaded it and I watched the
    first few levels of gameplay, which quickly became quite involved. The art
    style is incredible and I really enjoyed the different characters and strategy.

  2. My biggest concern about this game after hearing that they were going back the same style and setting of the first was that it would feel toooo much like the first, if that makes sense.
    I don’t want to pay more to just replay the first game with a different cast of characters.

    • The core gameplay is the same, but that’s okay with me. I love the Fire Emblem series for example and the mechanics of the series don’t change much. Look at stuff like FIFA too. People buy that every year, even if EA pretty much only update the rosters. At least in the case of Valkyria Chronicles there has been a big enough gap between releases, so the experience still feels fresh.

  3. I hope Sega ports VC2 & 3 to consoles. It’d be nice to have the whole series on the same console even though I have both on PSP. (Well, not to mention VC3 in a language I fully understand.)

    But I am glad to hear VC4 is better than VR… I waited until it hit the bargain bin for that one.

    • I have played the first two games on PS3 and Vita respectively. Wish that Sega would bring out the third game, as it never got localised. I’m not a fan of playing something in a language I cannot read. Sure you can enjoy the gameplay, but for me story is a big thing too.

      Some day I will give Revolution another chance. I bought the game, but only played through the first level. I prefer the traditional VC combat more and have to say that Revolution’s cast were a bit dull.

    • The babes in question are the titular Valkyria. I can assure you that there are no well-endowed infants in this game haha. That sounds like something a mobile phone autocorrect would type out.

    • It’s tough to say, as I’m not someone who enjoys watching video game play throughs. The combat is strategic, which probably isn’t exciting to watch. There is plenty of story in between the battles though. Sega have released a demo so you could try VC4’s early levels for free and see if it is something you would stick with.

  4. I really like the aesthetic of this game and was curious to check it out, but there are too many games right now! The dilemma…

    • The lead up to Christmas tends to be manic, with respect to new video game releases. On the plus side, if you snap up VC4 at a later date you can probably pick it up for cheaper during a sale.

  5. Wow, a 35 hour campaign is a long game ๐Ÿ™‚
    The game sounds amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m running out of things to play, so I’ll have to keep this game in mind ๐Ÿ™‚
    Like you’ve said, the art work/graphics look very pretty and nice on the eye. I love how the characters have bouncy hair, hehe ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thirty-five hours isn’t even that long when compared to some RPGs. Be aware that once the story ends there is even more content to play. New harder skirmishes unlock, new upgrades become available to purchase and so on. Right now I haven’t even earned half the trophies on offer.

      I dig Valkyria Chronicles’ art style. Japanese games are known for featuring characters who have bouncy… um hair. If you are contemplating a purchase be aware that you can download a free demo first and the save file you create can be transferred over to the full game.

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