Valkyria Chronicles has now hit the PS4 and anyone who just happens to spend their hard earned money on the game is going to be pleasantly surprised, sure it isn’t perfect but it does grab your attention straight from the word go and after that it is quite hard to stop playing.
Step into and alternate 1930s Europe
The game starts off by telling the story of the Gallia, a neutral country which has been caught in the middle of a war between two European superpowers, who are at war over the precious Ragnite. Valkyria Chronicles, which has a very distinctive, hand drawn art style, made even glossier and more high res by the fact that it's been remastered on PS4, is set in an alternate 1930’s Europe, something which is immediately obvious as soon as you load it up the disc and see the world your characters will spend their time in. The main character that the game revolves around is Welkin Gunther, he has returned to the town to escort his Sister out of harm’s way before the Imperials attack, however his timing isn’t exactly great as soon after arriving he finds himself in the middle of an invasion. Before Welkin knows it he is soon controlling a tank as part of Gallia’s militia along with his sister Isara and Alicia who at first suspected him as a spy but is now a loyal follower.
The game is presented in a way which is very unique, this is because the story is played out in book form, with the player basically listening and taking part in the story as it evolves, each time you progress you will be required to sit and watch as it is played out on screen, bringing you up to speed with the next part of the story. Once you complete part of the story you will then move onto the next chapter. You can also go back and view previous episodes again, should you have forgotten what happened or if you just want to relive the story.
Full of strategic action
Of course it’s the way the game plays once the action starts that most people will be interested in and I am happy to report that it is very well executed. Before the mission starts you are briefed on your mission, you then enter command mode which allows you to take control of your squad and choose where you wish to place them on the battlefield, once this has been done you can then get onto the battlefield to begin your mission. The combat is a mixture of strategy and real time action, first the allies will make their move; How many turns you have is entirely dependent on how many command points you have, so for example should you have four command points you are then able to have four turns per unit at advancing on the enemy, however should you use your command points to move a tank, then because they require two points to move you will only have two turns in which to get into position and attack before it is the turn of the enemy. The use of command points really is where strategy comes into play, because by suspending your units next turn you can stock up on command points, which allows you more actions in the next phase, this is particularly handy if you need more time to take down a rather tough opponent, such as a tank.
Each of your troops movement during battle is determined by a movement gauge, once this runs out your solider or tank is then stuck in the area where he ends up, so it is always a good idea to make sure that when the movement gauge is running out you are behind a sandbag or some other sort of cover. Combat is fairly simple, once you have got into the position you wish, you simple press square to choose your weapon type (which can range from rifles to grenades for troops and all sorts of shells for tanks), press R1 to target the enemy you wish to hit and then press x to fire, at this point the enemy can fire back so it is always a good idea to make sure you crouch before you fire, because once you have attacked your turn will be over, so if you didn’t crouch you will be a walking target. It is also worth mentioning that you can heal your troops during a movement phase instead of firing, this obviously comes in quite handy if your solider is getting low on health.
The combat looks fantastic, it is presented in a 3D hand drawn style and looks superb when in motion, it is quite unusual to see games that are presented in this way these days, with most developers opting for realism, however in saying that it does fit the game really well and I couldn’t imagine it looking any other way.
Open up a new chapter
The book mode does serve other purposes rather than telling the story, from here you can also access the Headquarters Tab, this allows you to enter the command room and choose your squad, following this you can then enter the training field and distribute experience points amongst them, this allows you to teach them special abilities and also make them stronger in battle. You can also improve your weaponry from the Headquarters tab allowing you to develop new weapons and make your tanks stronger. Out with the main story mode you will also unlock skirmish mode, this sees you intercept the Imperial units who are lurking near your border, you can play through the skirmishes as often as you like and this is beneficial as it allows you to gain experience points and fund your squad; More skirmishes will be added the further you progress in the game.
Valkyria Chronicles is an excellent game, the way that the story and action fuse together is very impressive, as is the overall presentation. It looks fantastic, plays well and tells a wonderful story of one countries fight for survival against the odds. This is one game I would highly recommend for any PS4 owner looking for something different, especially if you missed out the first time around when it was originally released on PS3.
Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta
(Version Tested: PS4)
+ Looks fantastic
+ Comes with all previously released DLC
+ Great tactical gameplay
- Can feel a little slow to get going