Valkyria chronicles 4
We will fight them on the Switches…
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.
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.