Valkyria Chronicles is an innovative, vibrant and beautiful strategy RPG from SEGA that truly breathes new life into a tired genre.
As the flames of the war spread across the continent of Europa, the peaceful country of Gallia is pulled directly into conflict when large deposits of Ragnite - a mineral more valuable than gold, as well as the catalyst for the Second Eurpoan War - is discovered beneath the neutral Gallian landscape.
As the fascist Empire forms a hostile invasion on the Gallian frontier, it's up to the country's citizens to form a militia and defend what is rightfully theirs. Enter Welkin Gunther, nature lover, aspiring teacher and son of legendary war hero Lieutenant Gunther.
On a trip back to the peaceful Gallian city of Bruhl, Welkin is caught in the midst of the Empire's first march against Gallia. Drafted by hot-headed Alicia Melchiott, head of Bruhl's town watch, it's only a matter of time before Gunther finds himself in charge of the Gallian Militia's 7th Squad.
I didn't quite know what to expect when I went into Valkyria Chronicles in terms of gameplay. As both an RPG buff as well as an SRPG fanatic, I expected something similar to Disgaea, or perhaps Jeanne D'Arc.
What I was treated to was an incredibly in-depth battle experience where the player is allowed to take complete control of each and every unit, aim, fire, heal, toss grenades - you're fighting each battle from the ground up. RPG mechanics are integrated into Valkyria Chronicles' gameplay, where each battle leaves you with a certain amount of experience points that you can use to level up your different squad types as a whole.
Valkyria Chronicles features five unique squad types: Scouts, Shocktroopers, Snipers, Lancers, and Engineers. Each class has their own unique strengths and weaknesses - for example, Scouts have Action Points than other classes, allowing them to move further across the map with each turn, where Lancers can't travel very far with each turn, but are essential for anti-tank defenses.
One of the aspects of Valkyria Chronicles that blew me away was the amount of personality and care that went into each and every individual character. Each squad member is fully voice acted with unique character designs as well as unique Potentials, or certain abilities unlocked on the battlefield.
For instance, my sniper had a "Lone Wolf" Potential, so when I separated her from the group, her stats would increase for a limited time as her Potential kicked in. Potentials aren't just limited to the way you control your characters on the battlefield, but the type of terrain you place them on to even the people that you place them near on the battlefield. The Potential system is incredibly deep and innovative, and truly adds to the experience that you're controlling a tightly knit squad, not just a bunch of names and faces.
I could spend the next several paragraphs ranting about how insanely beautiful the graphics are, but I'll just try to stick with the absolute basics: every cutscene looks like it was painted on to your television set with amazing watercolor visuals that simply leap out of your screen. From character emotions, to water effects to smoke floating from the tip of a cigarette - it doesn't look much better than this.
Even with Valkyria's emphasis on exposition with more than enough cutscenes to keep you busy, it never feels forced or trite. For these reasons, not to mention the absolutely addictive battles, I can't help but recommend any fans of the SRPG genre pick up Valkyria Chronicles.
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Valkyria Chronicles: Specs
- Sony PlayStation 3
- Sony PlayStation 3
SHOULD I BUY VALKYRIA CHRONICLES?
A beautifully vibrant, innovative and incredibly rich game, Valkyria Chronicles is a simply stunning experience from the first battle to the last.