VALKYRIA CHRONICLES 4
A tale as beautiful as it is bittersweet
For ten years you’ve waited to take up arms against the devastating Eastern Imperial Alliance, and now comes Squad E’s chance to fight for what they believe is right. Blood will be spilled, tears will be shed, and the emotional devastation of losing an ally doesn’t get any easier. Gear up and take to the battlefield, but keep a box of tissues nearby.
Taking place in the same timeframe as the original Valkyria Chronicles, this fourth instalment sees Sega attempt to capture a Western audience with its mature narrative and adult characters. Little has changed from the series’ first forays into war, so those disappointed in Valkyria Chronicles II’s student-centric cast can rest easy, as the cast here is, refreshingly, from all walks of life.
You can change the difficulty whenever you’re out of battle, which is handy considering how tough the game can get. You’ll be laid to waste in no time if you rush blindly in, and you’re encouraged to fight strategically. Combat is turn-based, and the core mechanics are simple – you can move as many characters as your CP (Command Points) allows. Battles can last the better part of an hour, but this is where the magic of Valkyria Chronicles lies. You have party members hiding out in bushes, crouching besides sand bags, and rolling forward in tanks, all in the hopes that you’ll be able to grasp victory from an overwhelming army which seemingly has no end of reinforcements. It’s satisfying seeing the results screen after a gruelling battle, generally being awarded a medal.
You usually have ten members per battle, with the option to switch them around at allyoccupied camps. Each character has their own personality which affects how they perform. A determined character like Kai may get a short burst where their accuracy rises, but the bald Aladdin will perform worse thanks to his “Shiny Head”, which makes him selfconscious. Each character is different, and it’s well worth taking the time to know your squad. That’s what a good captain does, after all!
Despite the serious tone of the narrative, there are a lot of time-out moments and jokes, and optional scenes to learn more about the characters and how they interact with each other. Allies who are friendly with each other are more likely to perform joint attacks in battle, and these scenes serve to provide a richer experience. The humour will be familiar to Japanese game fans, but it’s a little less loud, where Sega has kept, us, its eager Western audience in mind.
The watercolour-like art is utterly gorgeous, conveying every emotion, and it almost justifies buying the game on its own. Thankfully, gameplay is tight and engaging, leaving no doubt that this is a must-play tactical JPG series fans and newcomers alike.
“EACH CHARACTER’S PERSONALITY AFFECTS HOW THEY PERFORM.”
The breathtaking watercolour-like art doesn’t betray the horrors of war.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB SEGA DEV SEGA CS3