Valkyria Chronicles Review
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Valkyria Chronicles is the JRPG experience that PlayStation 3 owners have been waiting for.
- The cohesive gameplay elements
- The engaging story
- The quality voice acting
- The lack of control during Enemy Phases
(continued from previous page) ...amount, making it sometimes a critical choice to decide which type of soldier should be utilized at what time. Soldiers can be selected more than once per turn, but each selection will decrease the action gauge a certain percentage until your next full turn. The longest to shortest action gauge follows this order: Scouts, Engineers, Shock Troopers, Lancers then Snipers.
However, when it comes to an offensive attack, the Action Gauge is not affected and each unit is only allowed one offensive/defensive action per Command Point. This involves using health, repairing vehicles, grenades or firing on your enemy. Unfortunately, attacking Imperial Soldiers isn’t based on skill so much as it is based on luck. Gamers have no control over if a shot or burst of shots will hit their intended target. Instead, the game decides for you. While some may argue that this takes a lot away from the gameplay, others may realize how much more realistic this makes the element of war. Characters can also die in battle and be removed from the game entirely.
This does not include your main arsenal of Alicia, Welkin, Rosie or Largo, but it does include the other soldiers of your 20-member family. While this may not seem significant at first, it’s quite easy to grow attached to certain characters and their positive impact in battle. The only downfall within the gameplay, surprisingly enough, is the fact that you can’t do anything during the enemy phase. The game doesn’t allow you to pause, it doesn’t allow you to skip, nothing. Hopefully this is something they correct while developing a potential sequel.
Now that you have a taste of what the gameplay is like, let’s head over to Headquarters to find out what it’s all about. Headquarters is going to be your home away from home, if you get what I mean. This is where you equip your soldiers with the most advanced weaponry, select your squad, train your soldiers in order to gain level upgrades, buy weapon upgrades, purchase additional order commands, receive medals and finally, read the Writing on the Wall. Each section in your Headquarters is important and none should ever be neglected.
During the recruitment process of your Squad, an important element that comes into play is Soldier Personalities. These personalities determine how effective a soldier can be on the battlefield and can lead to certain statistical boosts. For example, Gunther is a big time Nature Lover. Therefore, when he is on a dirt road, he will gain a boost in certain categories that enables him to pose a larger threat in battle. These specifics also help gamers mold their squad to their liking, which adds to the attachment to each character. The roster of recruit’s updates after every chapter, so be sure to check in and see if there is someone new you may want to add.
The Training Field is where the RPG elements of Valkyria Chronicles come into play. Unlike other titles in the genre, Valkyria utilizes a class level system rather than a solo-level system. Instead of watching one soldier continuously level up and become God-like, the entire class (Scout) levels up together. This makes it a lot less difficult to switch soldiers in and out within the barracks if a new recruit comes along that you like. Leveling your classes at the Training Field also brings about the possibility of learning new Potentials. These Potentials include things such as “Undodgeable Shot,” which results in every shot you take connecting during battle.
Visually speaking, Valkyria is no slouch. Its cel-shaded style that looks more water-colored than anything is aesthetically pleasing. With the screen not being filled entirely with the water-color, it leaves uneven edges around the border which only helps imbue the thought that this story takes place on a water board canvas. Surprisingly enough, character detail is superb. I’m not only talking about the main characters either, in fact, all characters are crafted beautifully and show the attention to detail that the designers had when creating this game. Even with roughly 30+ side-characters, each one is unique and has something that sets him/her apart from the others. Whether it’s an accent when they speak, their facial features ... (continued on next page)