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Valkyria Chronicles

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.




September 2012 Gavvie Article viewed 1166 times 1 Comments

Comments:

Starlight 04th January, 2013 - 12:50

Well written review, despite being on the light side. I am a huge fan of the series (especially when I took history lessons about the World Wars), so I really don't know why this game hasn't sold very well in Europe (perhaps the memories are too painful? Or it's a bit too sporting in terms of "You honoured our soldier, so we won't kill you" vibe it gives off?). I think if SEGA marketed this game more as a unique take on the World War genre (by showing it's very family friendly side; No Blood, only one curseword, soldiers who are always positive), I think it would have sold better...but then again, given this game sold purely on word of mouth alone, I expected SEGA to realise that the game sold steady to at least give the series another shot on the PS3 (or PS4) in the near future...that CANVAS engine is really going to waste (I don't count the PSP versions since it's not really the same engine), I wouldn't mind if they used it in the next Sonic game even (Comic Sonic RPG anyone?) but having engines and not doing much with them is a waste of resources given it's a good engine to make unique graphics (it doesn't need every game with it, just 2 or 3 more would be fine). Although I bought the import (and love it to death), I hope SEGA release it in the West via PSN or Vita...as it really is a gem worth keeping...at least in terms of future investment. Sorry for the rant, I am just very passionate about this series in particular as it has so much potential.

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