Valkyria Chronicles Review

Valkyria Chronicles: An epic tale of war and valor.

The news of the upcoming PC version of Valkyria Chronicles could not but please for at least two reasons. Firstly, the game was praised six years ago when it appeared on Playstation 3. In 2008, it became a real revelation for the tactical RPG genre and was recognized as one of the most powerful exclusives of the platform – and that means something. Secondly, the unpleasant aftertaste from the poor Final Fantasy XIII, which we hurriedly escorted A month ago, I needed something to distract myself.

In general, Sega WOW’s time-tested creation arrived just in time.

If you still don’t know, the events of Valkyria Chronicles unfold in an alternative historical space. It’s the 1930s, a terrifying time for little Gallia, involuntarily drawn into the war between two superpowers. When the Imperial Alliance decides on a bold invasion, the peaceful population of Gallia takes up arms and resists the audacious invaders. And the strongest resistance, obviously, is provided by us – the Seventh Squad led by student-tanker Welkin Gunther.

And this is Velkins tank - Edelweiss. We already said that this is a strange name?

And this is Velkin’s tank – “Edelweiss”. Did we already mention that this is a strange name?

No matter how naive the premise may sound, there is much more behind it. Against the backdrop of an alternative World War II, an epic story unfolds, deep enough to surprise you: there is love, friendship, duty to the homeland, racism, the moral aspect of war, and a whole bunch of eternal human themes. “Valkyria Chronicles” occasionally delves into such philosophical musings that you don’t immediately relate them to what is happening.

Despite all this, the local plot cannot be called overloaded with boredom. Even when the characters ponder the eternal, it is presented in a very light form, and lofty monologues are interspersed with unobtrusive chatter, which, although it does not carry a colossal semantic load, is quite appropriate. Moreover, serious drama is rarely played out, preferring a storytelling that is almost fairy-tale-like. Our heroes perform heroic deeds, villains do villainous things, and in the end, everyone gets what they deserve.

In any case, the gameplay deserves the most careful attention. As mentioned above, we have a whole squad – not a lot, not a few, but twenty soldiers, which you are offered to manually select from an impressive list. Based on the class differences of potential comrades, the player forms their dream party: scouts, snipers, engineers, assault troops, grenadiers – in any combinations, as many as you want. Once you’ve spent enough time in the barracks, hurry up and go to battle, or you’ll miss the most interesting part.

The combat system of Valkyria Chronicles is a fascinating experiment. BLiTZ, as its creators called it, is a combination of classic turn-based tactics with shooter elements, which at first glance looks as wild as it sounds.

Valkyria Chronicles Map

Any encounter with enemy forces in the game starts with a strategic view. In addition to a brief briefing and an assessment of the future battlefield, at this stage, the squad is deployed. However, the deployment points are already predetermined, and all you have to do is assign your fighters to the designated slots as you see fit. Then the first “phase” starts, a big turn, where you can give your first order using command points and… personally engage in battle.

And did you think you could just sit back and arrogantly click the mouse on the map? No, please take control of the selected unit and manually execute your planned actions.

This is where all the interesting things happen. After activating the next unit, the camera zooms in behind them, and we are free to move around the visible space like in any third-person shooter – except the rules are different. For example, a unit can cover a strictly limited distance and perform one action: shoot, heal a comrade, throw a grenade, and so on.

Moreover, the turn doesn’t end after the action, which opens up additional space for maneuvers like “run in – attack – run away.” It’s a small detail, but it feels completely new compared to most other tactical games. Additionally, the same unit can be used an unlimited number of times, albeit with movement penalties. Can your beloved XCOM do that?

Valkyria Chronicles Shooting

In these conditions, the difference in soldier classes becomes crucial. It is unlikely, for example, that it would be a good idea to leave assault troops in the rear, as their effectiveness at long distances decreases. A couple of battles – and you will definitely know that snipers can easily be left at the starting point for methodical shooting of enemies, and scouts run further than others, but they cannot withstand heavy fire for long.

By the way, the turn-based nature of Valkyria Chronicles does not prevent it from introducing real-time elements into the battle. Despite the fact that the enemy will not move during your turn, he will not miss the opportunity to put a couple of bullets into a Gallian running in front of him. Needless to say, how this affects the dynamics of battles: tactics have to be developed literally on the go, because delay can cost your protege’s life. Heroes die once and for all.

Military successes are rewarded with money for equipment upgrades and, of course, experience for leveling up. The first one is clear, but the RPG system is not so simple – we level up entire classes instead of individual characters. This is done so that the player does not form a team of favorites that surpasses the rest of the squad by three heads, and all soldiers have equal chances in battle. The idea is ridiculously simple and reasonable.

But at the same time, leveling up unlocks special orders – buffs for the squad – and unique “potentials” of the heroes, which are revealed under certain conditions. For example, Welkin receives a significant boost to his stats when fighting in nature, while his comrade, on the contrary, becomes demoralized when running through the grass – and generally feels oppressed in male company. Such nuances seriously affect combat performance, so there cannot be a universal team for all occasions.

Having knocked out a critical hit, the characters love to show off in an amply

After landing a critical hit, characters like to show off in front of the camera in an anime-like manner.

Nevertheless, even if your experience in the genre is limited to watching the Wasteland 2 trailer, understanding and succeeding in “Valkyria Chronicles” will be easy thanks to a well-crafted tutorial and overall simplicity of mastery. Believe me, rarely do you get such pure and unadulterated pleasure from the process.

Of course, the visual aspect contributes to the most pleasant impression. With the stylization and choice of engine, the authors clearly made the right decision – bright watercolor paints still delight the eye six years later and cover up technical imperfections, which only occasionally peek through in close-ups. All that remains is to repeat the words of the critics at the time: Valkyria Chronicles looks like a living manga or insanely beautiful anime.

Stressed moment: the engineer risks his life to fix the damaged tank

Tense moment: the engineer risks his life to repair the damaged tank.

But the obvious flaw in the beautiful tapestry of the game is the artificial intelligence of the opponents. As soon as the enemy takes the initiative, a disco of drug addicts begins. The computer wastefully spends command points to stomp in place, forgetting about unfinished targets and showering tank salvos across half the map – not exactly the behavior you expect from AI in a tactical RPG. Of course, such cases are not widespread, but they occur quite often to be concerned about it.

It is not very clear why the developers decided to leave the project without a multiplayer mode. The refined concept is perfect for multiplayer – but it is forced to shine in single battles. Although this is more of a wish than a criticism.

Valkyria Chronicles Cutscene

A few words definitely need to be dedicated to the PC port. It’s wonderful.

In fact, it’s enough to compare the adaptation of this project with that of Final Fantasy XIII, for the quality of the port of which, we hope, a couple of dozen hands have already been torn off. Here there are giant resolutions, support for anti-aliasing, and excellent keyboard and mouse controls. Not to mention that you can already find a modification with HD textures on the Internet and make the game even more beautiful.

That’s why it’s doubly joyful that Valkyria Chronicles briefly topped the sales charts on Steam. The achievement itself is not that great – but not everyone can surpass Far Cry 4 and the new Call of Duty.

There are not enough flattering words to describe all the impressions of Valkyria Chronicles. It is unconventional, elegant, beautiful – and therefore eternal. Going beyond established mechanics turned out to be so successful that even after years, the game retains its novelty, originality, and significance.

Valkyria Chronicles
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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