Review by PaladinCrusader

"Definitely crosses the standards of a normal Strategy RPG"

Anyone who has played an arcade game might know what kind of things Sega invents. Before video game consoles ever appear in this world, arcade games are the main technology of entertainment. Most of these arcade games might have been related to Sega one way or another. Since they have stuck onto arcade games for too long, Sega is now experiencing problems creating real video games for today's consoles. While putting this theory in my mind, I've decided to pick up Valkyria Chronicles since I adore Strategy RPGs. It wasn't long before I realized that Sega actually has the potential to craft such masterpiece.

Being the only other Strategy RPG in the PS3 next to Nippon Ichi's Disgaea 3, Valkyria Chronicles excels in nearly every point. While Disgaea 3 didn't really use the full potential of the console, Valkyria Chronicles has certainly pushed the PS3 to its limits.

Without any hesitation, I can say that the most unique part of Valkyria Chronicles is the design. Think of a truly gifted painter that is sketching the scenarios of the European War. The art of Valkyria Chronicles is a wonderful mix of vibrant watercolor paint and anime. The stunning visuals, without a doubt, is one the main reason on what makes Valkyria Chronicles a worthy addition to the PS3 library.

For the gameplay, Valkyria Chronicles is certainly top-notch. It's a creative blend of a Strategy RPG and a Shooter. A very original aspect of this game is that each turn uses the command point system. For example, if a certain map allows ten command points for each turn, the overall movement of your squad is ten sequences. The great thing about Valkyria Chronicles is that each unit can move more than once. This allows you to plan more strategies in order to defeat your enemies.

When a unit is chosen for a sequence, the camera will change from field command view into third-person view of that unit. Every unit has a movement bar at the bottom of their screen. Whenever a unit moves, the bar depletes. A unit cannot move anymore if the bar reaches zero. Any unit that will be moving a second time in a certain turn will start with a shorter bar.

If you want to engage an enemy with your unit, the camera will switch to aiming view (much like zooming with a weapon in typical shooting games). From this point, you are able to fire at an enemy. Be aware that when you pull the trigger, all the unit's bullets will be spent for that sequence. Valkyria Chronicles gives you a nice challenge where you must really focus on your aiming.

In Valkyria Chronicles, soldiers who have fallen in battle will not straight away die. Instead, their incapacitated body will remain on the ground until someone touches them. If an ally touches him/her, the unit will be brought to safety off the map. On the other hand, a unit that has been touched by the enemy will die. This applies to both you and the enemy.

Valkyria Chronicles is played like a book. After every chapter, you are transported to the book's page where you may access the game's glossary, options, and many other things. There is also a page where you may upgrade your vehicles, units, recruit more soldiers, and many others.

There are five types of units in Valkyria Chronicles, which are Scouts, Shocktroopers, Snipers, Lancers, Engineers, and Tanks. Each of them is different, but they all play a vital role in the battlefield.

Scouts are soldiers that are armed with rapid-fire rifles. Next to snipers, they have the longest firing range in the game. Scouts also boast the longest movement bar in the game. Their rifles allow them to inflict average damage. They are also lightly armored.

Shocktroopers are frontline infantry units that use powerful machineguns. Since their machineguns lack range, these units can are best suited for close combat. They have a medium-sized movement bar while wearing powerful armors.

Snipers are highly accurate troopers armed with scoped rifles. While having minimum body armor, they are able to take out enemy units on the other side of the map with ease. They have the lowest mobility from all the units in the whole game while wearing minimum armor.

Lancers are tank-killing soldiers that are armed with giant anti-tank lances. They have a long firing range despite having a short movement bar. They are a vital key to destroying enemy tanks. Lancers boasts the most powerful armor from all the infantry units in the game.

Engineers are support units that helps the squad from the sidelines. They can heal surrounding units while fixing damaged vehicles. While really helpful, they are definitely not meant for combat. They wield a downgraded version of the Scout's rifle while donning the weakest armor in the game.

Tanks are monstrous vehicles that make even the bravest infantry cower with fear. They have a long firing range and are able to handle both vehicle and infantry units. Their average-sized bar allows them to eliminate many units at once before halting to a stop. These vehicles has the most powerful armor in Valkyria Chronicles. While weak to explosive weapons, they are completely impervious to gunfire.

Valkyria Chronicles might not have the best plot from all the RPGs I've played, but it's certainly a remarkable one. The story begins as two powerful nations were having a war over a scarce resource called ragnite. This chemical allows the two nations to produce extremely powerful weapons such as grenades and tanks.

In the middle of the war, a small village called Gallia was caught in the crossfire. With many of the villagers dead, a militia captain named Alicia decided to take part in the war in order to restore peace once again. Together with Welkin, a tank commander, and a bunch of other characters, Alicia must find a way to stop the war once for all.

I think the plot of Valkyria Chronicles is really interesting due to the fact that its based on the European War. There is a lot of interaction between the squad, thus making the plot really effective. All the characters have so much development that you may even feel like restarting the map if any of them dies.

The game has an impressive amount of tracks that are worth listening. It's no surprise as the tunes of Valkyria Chronicles has won several impressive awards and that the composer is also the one who made the melodies of Square Enix's Final Fantasy Tactics. The tracks are a nice blend of peaceful music mixed with grand military marches. The pieces may even make you feel like you're really in the European War. Honestly speaking, Valkyria Chronicles boasts some of the best tracks I've ever heard.

There is quite a lot of reason why you should be playing this game a second time. I find it quite enjoyable to replay this game in New Game + as your inventory is still there when you restart the game. Maximizing the level of your troops while fully upgrading your tanks are one of the best reasons why Valkyria Chronicles deserves a second playthrough.

My final suggestion? Valkyria Chronicles is definitely a Strategy RPG worth buying. It definitely pushes the limit of the PS3 while crossing the standards of a normal Strategy RPG. I highly recommend picking this game up if you have a PS3.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/01/09

Game Release: Valkyria Chronicles (US, 11/04/08)

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