Valkyria Chronicles 4 Review
I am never shy of trying out a genre or game that I have never played before and as a reviewer, I will not lie to you my readers that I know all about this title. This will be my first time playing Valkyria Chronicles and even though this is the fourth installment, let’s see if it can win me over.
Welcome to E Squad Recruit! This is the Second European War and as part of E Squad, it is up to us to take on the Empire as we are commanded by Lt. Claude Wallace and his group. We shall traverse through rocky mountains and of course the frozen tundra as we have to deal with a critical campaign known as Operation Nother Cross. There will be at times where you will have to deal with the crazy antics of Darcsen Raz, but is a reliable shock trooper and of course, you have your reliable sniper Kai Schulen who will back you up proper. The storyline is pretty deep with full-on voice work and there will be at times that you will have to deal with moral situations, but you show your skills and keep everyone alive to gain the trust needed. As Lt., Claude Wallace says, “Words can’t change the past, just have to rebuild the trust.”
What made me worried at first as if this was going to be a heavy turn-based combat system, but I was told that it is using a BLITZ battle system which is in 3 parts of an RPG, 3rd person shooter and RTS. Before each mission, you will have to set up your squad that you best feel would be good to execute the campaign. You will have your choice of Leader, shocktrooper, scout, Grenadier, sniper and engineer. I would always suggest having an engineer on the team because they replenish ammo, fix the tanks, repair cover and can disable mines. But I leave that up to you my set up is always having a scout since they can run the farthest and a sniper for distance. Each soldier will have a step meter or AP gauge that will run out so make sure to position them correctly and try to get them in cover.
Pay attention to your CP, you will get a certain amount in each turn and if you do not use any, it can carry over for your next turn. There will be an option to utilize orders and that also uses a certain amount of CP. End your turn with either the Circle or Touchpad in which the enemy will take their turn.
There will be mission conditions differently each time and you will have a turn limit if you go past that limit you fail. You begin with an overhead map and depending on the conditions you can see some enemy placement, but keep in mind that some might be hidden if you have not discovered them already. In that case walk around carefully and use your scouts as needed. Each character will have different weaponry for their class, a secondary for grenades and a Ragnaid which is used to heal your teammates if they are in range. Now to fully utilize your squad you might what to pay attention to their potential and who they like because that will determine how well they cooperate in combat with one another. For example, pairing Raz with Claude will perform a paired attack or Aulard and Riley. Some characters have no likes which mean they will work with anyone which I favor. Don’t need picky soldiers on my squad!
You want to level up while doing the main story, well Skirmishes are where to go. You can do these missions to grind for more XP to tackle the difficult future missions or to gain more practice just like me to have a better understanding of your unit. Once you are done there you can head back to headquarters and either train your squad with the XP you gather for all the classes and if you reach a new level you will be granted new potential, orders or abilities. The R&D Facility is exactly what it is to upgrade gear and of course tanks. You can play through the game for new unlocks and then equip special features for tanks, but make sure you pay attention to the size of said upgrade as you have a box with squares instead for the space you can utilize. Some pieces will take up one box of space, while others can be two or more. Keep that in mind and also visit the mess hall to interact with soldiers which you can unlock new orders in battle. Those do take XP as well.
The most interesting portion of this game is when you control the Hafner Tank, it is one powerful beast and I tend to use for as mobile cover when I can, but be careful of the rear weakness. Its power cell which is always exposed if fired upon can be a final blow. So watch how you position that tank against other tanks.
Unknown to my knowledge the art style takes note as a Canvas Aesthetics which definitely has a watercolor medium take on it. It is beautiful to look at and captivating as you have a battlefield in a work of art, a living canvas indeed. This is called the CANVAS graphics engine which I would not mind seeing in other games, but Valkyria Chronicles 4 deserves such a style since it is heavy on story, but luckily enough it is all full animation with amazing voice work done that has you pick your favorite characters, in this case, I really dig Riley’s character design and her personality is tough yet cute. Finding out each background story gives me a way to connect and keep my soldiers alive. I tend to care about each soldier.
You are technically in the driver seat of Claude Wallace so you get to go through his book which you will have your chapters in. You can change the pages and I tend to like that a lot with games that have something interactive like that as it is a scrapbook. It will hold pictures and special notes which are your episodes. The music alone is breathtaking and builds up the drama when in combat, even when you deal with comedic scenarios, all makes for a great experience.
I am making this report unredacted for reasons that are negative towards Valkyria Chronicles 4. I have issues with any JRPG that is too heavy on the story with not much gameplay, but that is just my attention span kicking in as I am coming from games that are full of action. I am not saying this version is that bad, but I tend to look at it at times with the “Get to the point” mindset. There is plenty enough gameplay as one mission took a little over an hour, but I am sure many other gamers could accomplish it in less time.
I can’t figure out if wind conditions matter in the game or not or if there are bullet drops to worry about. There will be times when I snipe an enemy or use the tank at a pretty good distance and miss. Either the bullet goes too far right or to far left even if my crosshairs are on the enemy. It is not mentioned in the tutorial at all, but I try to manage it myself.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a stunning JRPG tactical experience that shocked me who used to frown upon some of this genre. I will throw hands up I am enjoying my time with this game and is deeply invested into the storyline as well as learning from my own mistakes and how to pick my squads accordingly. This game does not disappoint in longevity and of course replay value. There is a sensible grind session to level up your characters and the story has heart, suspense and of course characters to love and despise throughout your playthrough.
The $59.99 price tag definitely worth the funds and if you act quickly you can take advantage of the pre-order/first run copy bonus come with a controller skin for its respective platform featuring Squad E’s adorable medic dog, Ragnarok! In that Valkyria Chronicles 4 gets 4.5 paws out of 5. This genre opened up my mind to look into other tactical RPGs. Be sure to check this game out when it releases in North America and Europe on September 25th, 2018. – Beast Out –