Valkyria chron­i­cles 4

We will fight them on the Switches…

Games Master - - Contents - Robin Valen­tine

Fight in the trenches of World War II with a squad of anime boys at your side. Aren’t videogames great?

The trope-y an­tics of a group of anime teens and 20-some­things, and the hor­rors of WWII. It’s cer­tainly not an ob­vi­ous pair­ing, but with charm, a gor­geous art style, and some sharp tac­ti­cal think­ing, Valkyria Chron­i­cles 4 just about pulls it off. For the ben­e­fit of any­one burned by last year’s dis­ap­point­ing Valkyria Revo­lu­tion, rest as­sured: this is the main­line fol­low-up you’ve been wait­ing for, very much con­tin­u­ing the tra­di­tions of the revered orig­i­nal and its PSP se­quels. It sees you once again tak­ing to the front line in a fic­tion­alised ver­sion of war-torn 1940s Europe, and as­sum­ing com­mand of a group of im­prob­a­ble-haired re­cruits who look more ready to bat­tle with goblins and cast flashy spells than slum it in the trenches.

It’s this lot who drive the plot, via co­pi­ous cutscenes, and de­spite their some­times clichéd be­hav­iour, they’re a lov­able crew whose naivety and op­ti­mism serve as a per­fect con­trast to the grim re­al­i­ties of the war.

Kid’s army

Even the strate­gic, turn-based bat­tles feel fo­cused on the in­di­vid­ual. As in past en­tries, in­stead of sim­ply is­su­ing com­mands from on high, you zoom in to each soldier in turn to per­son­ally carry out their move­ment and at­tacks from a third-per­son per­spec­tive. Each has their own per­son­al­ity traits, too, and re­la­tion­ships with other team mem­bers, which can pos­i­tively or neg­a­tively im­pact their abil­i­ties on the field.

If you’re new to the se­ries, you’ll find the story easy to grasp – it’s an all-new cast, and the back­drop is close enough to real his­tory to re­quire lit­tle ex­po­si­tion – but the com­bat can be over­whelm­ing, a prob­lem not helped by er­ratic mis­sion de­sign dur­ing the first act of the game.

Get past that ini­tial hump, though, and you’ll en­joy a game quite un­like any other: 50% JRPG, 50% strat­egy game, and 100% wor­thy re­turn to home con­soles for a truly fas­ci­nat­ing se­ries.

Com­man­der Claude’s the com­plete pack­age: he knows how to lead, he’s a crack shot, and his hair is al­ways im­pec­ca­ble. For­mat Switch, PS4 (re­viewed), XO, PC Pub Sega Dev Sega ETA Out now Play­ers 1

Don’t worry, the third-per­son sec­tions don’t call for quick re­flexes – you get as much time as you need to line up your shots.

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