I am personally not a fan of turn based strategy games. I was however pleasantly surprised with the SEGA’s 2008 title “Valkyria Chronicles”.
The story plays in an alternate universe in a land called Europa set between the years 1930 – 1940. The Eastern Imperial Alliance has just declared war with Western Federation, sparking the Second Great Europa War. The Empire also decides to invade a small neutral country in the North called Gallia because of an ample supply of “Ragnite”. Ragnite is the material that is used as a fuel source in this world, and its supply is dwindling
The story revolves around a young man named Welkin Gunther whose father was a great hero. When the war starts Welkin is thrust into fighting for the militia alongside of a young girl named Alecia. The tale then follows the story of Welkin and his squad as they fight impossible odds to liberate their country from their Imperial neighbors while learning of the mystery surrounding an ancient race called the “Valkyria”.
The game focuses primarily on character development as each of the main members of your squad has their own missions in which you can learn their back stories. Each character grows on you over the course of the game as personalities clash over real world issues like racism. Even a love story blossoms between the hero and heroine that really helps drive the story forward. Sometimes however it can be a little predictable and cheesy in the way it plays out. However it is not a bad thing unless you are just looking for something different.
The first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful artwork with in this game. SEGA went for a water color look for this game and it really adds a wonderful atmosphere that makes you feel like you are watching a painting come to life. The main interface plays out like a comic book, where each panel is a story to unlock. The book can also be used to take the experience you obtained from the campaign and level up particular members of your squad. The level system is basic and not overly complicated. Pick your squad, get new guns, upgrade your tank and set out.
Combat plays out in two forms. First you have a top down map that shows your units as well as known enemy locations. When you select a unit the game transfers flawlessly to 3rd person where you use move points to advance your units. Movement is crisp, and the amount of move points varies with each unit type, so it’s smart to use the overhead map to plan ahead. This system makes good use of a basic cover system, squad mate’s special abilities, and also power ups. The game utilizes all these aspects allowing for a lot of customization in battles, which greatly increases replay value.
Firing on enemies is entertaining as the comic book theme adds on screen “Ratatata” “Boom” and “Bang” with every shot and explosion. Even tanks have a jumbled mess of letters to show the sound of an engine revving up.
My personal favorite aspect of this game however is the soundtrack. It’s a classical soundtrack that really fits the theme and tension within this game. It reflects the beauty these people see in the world, but also the brutal feeling of betrayal and loss during war. The soundtrack itself has won numerous awards and for good reason. If nothing else just youtube the soundtrack and enjoy!
If you are looking for a classic war story with a twist, this just may be your game. Valkyria Chronicles is a beautiful game with a unique art style, fluid game play, and a sound track that brings a tear to my eye every time. The story itself can be a little predictable at times, but never in a way that would kill momentum. I really couldn’t find much of anything wrong with this game, and trust me I looked hard. This is a solid game and a great purchase if you are looking for something different. The low price tag doesn’t hurt either!
Final Verdict: 8 / 10
Blog entry posted by Matt T, Jul 28, 2012.
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