Valkyria Chronicles. What a game. Released on the PS3 in 2008, Valkyria Chronicles is a Strategy RPG (SRPG), tasking you to repel the invasion of neutral nation Gallia by the East European Imperial Alliance.
With a timeline set in an alternative 1930s Europe (called Europa here), it's hard not to immediately think of parallels to World War II, but when the game is as fun, and as colourful, as Valkyria Chronicles is, its quite easy to force that notion out of your mind. In the end, it's only the setting and the timeframe that's the same.
Let's be honest, war has never looked so colourful. Thanks in part to SEGA's stunning CANVAS engine, VC looks like a moving watercolour painting, with the edges of the screen fading out to show plans of the battlefield you're fighting on. Scenes play out like pages from a book, with cutscenes and battle scenes framed as pictures within a specific chapter. It truly is one of those games where screenshots don't do it justice, you just have to see it in motion.
I'm usually not very good at SRPGs, mainly as my plan of attack is to just blitz the enemy base with as many soldiers as possible, leaving my base completely open to attack. Obviously, it doesn't work too well. Valkyria Chronicles is different though. Rather than directing the characters in a general direction, you can select a character in Command Mode, and then control them in Action Mode to attack an enemy, or avoid potential fire. Being able to directly control characters is better than just sending them off like sheep into battle, as you start to find that you care more to get them through the battle and into the next confrontation.
Unfortunately, Valkyria Chronicles didn't set the world alight at retail, despite owning impressive review scores and a Guiness World Record (Best PS3 SRPG - 2010). It did get two sequels on PSP, however only one of those made its way outside of Japan, again to great review scores and poor sales. It's a real shame, as the game is one of SEGA's best. There aren't many who have played it and disagreed.
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