Valkyria Chronicles 4 Xbox One Review
WORLD WAR TWO, BUT IN SLOW-MOTION:
Yes, from developers Sega comes the fourth installment of the Valkyria Chronicles: a tactical rpg based turn game in which you relive the diaries of Ranger Corps commander Claude Wallace in the heart of the Second Europa War.
With the amount of cutscenes there are, you’ll firstly notice how much Valkyria Chronicles is almost like an anime TellTale game. I found this quite annoying as I ended spending more time watching than fighting. Especially when someone who is largely unfamiliar with anime like me, it took me while to connect to the absurdly strange characters. Based on the small amount of anime I have watched, the characters all seemed fairly cliche.
For example, after your first engagement with the enemy, your character seemingly gets upset after the battle. Was he said because of the amount of soldiers the enemy picked off? Was he sad because the battlefield was covered in bodies? No, is the answer to both of them. After reigning victorious, fighting three infantrymen and a tank, Claude Wallace looks down in despair, as some of the flowers were killed. This is just one example of the weird anime humor laced in the game. I sat there trying to figure out how I felt after hearing that statement, what is he… a vegan in reverse?
After getting over that, for a period I started to enjoy the game. The gameplay and combat in Valkyria forces you to strategically think where to move your soldiers and what attacks to take. Unlike other world war 2 games I’ve played, this blends strategy and third person shooter together.
The result of which means you can really get a feel for your squad, and push the enemy back in an effective and satisfying way.
Your squad can be made up of a collection of different soldier classes, all having different advantages. The first class you will play as is the Scout. The Scout has a higher AP bar, which allows them to move larger distances. They can detect enemies further away and so are good for reckon. Primarily used for medium to close range combat, with the latter resulting in a better chance of victory.
The Assault class is your average frontline soldier, they use heavier equipment than the scout and can lay down more suppression and damage. Just like the Scout, the Assault does well in close to medium combat.
The Engineer class is an all round champ, as well as being a medic. This class can repair tanks, revive soldiers and repair sandbags and fortifications. The Engineer can also replenish ammo, this class is primarily a support role.
The Lancer is your heavy lifting, RPG anti tank dude. He is equip with a massive rocket launcher that is most effective at medium to close range. Precision isn’t the Lancer’s focus, so getting as close to a tank is key. With the Lancer being so powerful, the AP bar runs out relatively quickly and so planning your route is an important feature.
My favourite class is the Sniper. Sniper’s have a huge range, and can eliminate enemies in one to two hits. This makes them a vital piece in the battle and can often mean the difference between victory and defeat. The Sniper class is the most vulnerable and should be positioned at the back of the battles.
This depth in the classes really makes Valkyria stand out, and really does a good job at making you think about the different ways you can approach a situation. The classes have different advantages and it’s up to you to make them all work in a effectively tactical way.
One of my biggest gripes with Valkyria, however, was the downright ridiculous A.I. I first experienced this when a gungho enemy engineer sprinted to the front of my tank without any fear in his eyes, before getting mowed down. It was hilarious to watch and I was almost in tears. The A.I can be very forward with their approach, seemingly forgetting cover exists. If you have a good defensive position, it can make the enemies out to look a little daft when they waddle into the bullets.
Similarly, the combat can feel a little tacky. When you’re aiming to take a shot, whether you hit your target is based on chance, sometimes this means you’ll miss the most easiest of shots. I had this problem with the sniper class. At times where I knew the shot was on point, I missed. What’s more frustrating is even when you do shot right at them, there’s no guarantee it’ll register as a hit.
I took two shots of this guy with the Sniper class, both bullets travelled through him, yet the shots didn’t count. I then gave up and blew him away in a tank.
The graphics in Valkyria are alright actually. With a blend between semi-realistic and cartoon, the game is enjoyably pretty to look at. The game almost looks as if it’s been painted and the models for the tanks and soldiers are all done recently. Valkyria’s strong suit is in the faces of the anime characters. There are “average” looking faces, but the odd emphasized faces of the main characters are really well grafted, making you feel like you’re reading a manga yourself.
Overall, Valkyria was a good game, however it didn’t grip me in the way I thought it would. The blend between a strategy map and boots on the ground interested me at first and I liked this addition, to which I haven’t seen in a game before. But after awhile, it started to feel tedious. What would take me only a few seconds in battlefield, lasted minutes in Valkyria. Simple tasks such as setting up a Sniper and taking a shot, missing and trying again, were time consuming activities. This game definitely appeals to returners of the franchise, it blends the new and improved graphics with the combat techniques found in the first game and will come as a treat to those nostalgic bunch. But unfortunately, I didn’t feel that excitement which was a real shame.
We would like to thank Sega for providing us with the game code.
Developer & Published by Sega
Price – £49.99