Video Game Review: Valkyria Chronicles (2008)

Details: Played on the PC for about forty four hours.

Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical role playing game release back on the Playstation 3. It was re-released recently on Steam for the PC and I picked it up. I was ecstatic when it was released because I wanted to play it back then, but I didn’t have a PS3 so I gave up on it. Now I get my chance. Additionally, all the PS3 DLC is included in the PC version.

The story is great, as it should be in any RPG. It takes place in a pseudo Europe in a World War II type time period. The empire is invading and it is up to you as leader of the militia to defend your country. There are a few twists and turns as well as sad moments that genuinely moved me. It’s a great story with a satisfying ending.

Visually, it definitely holds up despite being released so long ago. It only supports wide screen ratios so you should think about your screen resolution before purchasing. The style is really what keeps it good. It’s an anime, painterly style with a kind of scribbly matte for texture. It looks just fine.

The audio is fantastic. The game provides English dubs and Japanese voice work with English subtitles, which will be greatly appreciated by those who enjoy anime. The music is also great and I still get chills when I hear that orchestral song during the intro.

To sum up the gameplay, it’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but with anime. You are assigned missions and you can choose your squad for these missions. There’s potential perma-death if a squad member dies, which always adds tension. The power of soldiers is sort of rock-paper-scissor-ish. Certain units are effective at fighting certain units. You get experience for your missions and you can level up your soldiers as well as purchase new equipment. It’s turn based and every turn, you get a certain number of actions. You can move a soldier, tell him to attack, defend, repair, etc. Missions are varied and there are multiple narrative and gameplay developments during missions, so you have to adapt and change strategies as the missions progress.

The only downside is Alicia Melchiott. She is way over powered and if you figure out how to use her right, you can finish most missions in one or two turns. Otherwise I love the gameplay.

Score: 8.9/10 Great. After I finished the game and it’s fun DLC, I really wanted to play the sequels. Here’s hoping they port the sequels to the PC. This game also regularly goes on sale on Steam, so keep an eye out for those sales.

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