Story: The tale of Valkyria Chronicles 4 follows the rag tag group ‘Squad E’ and their leader Claude Wallace. The game takes place in the same universe and time frame as the original game, which is that of the Second European war.
The conflict is being fought between the Atlantic Federation(yay!) and the Eastern Imperial Alliance(boo!).The story follows the day to day lives of Wallace and his squad mates as they quite literally grow up in the heart of a conflict that is much bigger than them.
This was the first Valkyria Chronicles game I’ve played, and I have to say that I really enjoyed the story here. It was light hearted for the most part, with dashes of serious/somber moments that keep you intrigued. I definitely felt myself make an emotional investments in these characters, with Raz, the hot headed, good looking dummy that thinks he’s just the coolest(think Raphael or Wolverine) being my personal favorite. There are many anime inspired tropes, so if you’re not into that sort of thing I could see that turning you off.
Gameplay: The gameplay seems to be the real star of the show here. Each battle plays out almost like a board game. You start each ‘skirmish’ setting your characters into their respective squads as you get ready to play out the objective. The objective being anything from eliminating all enemies to running reconnaissance on tanks that may or may not be decoys.
There are 5 different classes of characters, ranging from Snipers to grenadiers tasked with firing mortars at enemies that are slightly out of reach. Each character class has a different set of skills, with ranging attributes as well. For example: the shock trooper comes equipped with a much longer travel distance, but is very inaccurate when you place your character a little further away from the enemy. On the other end of that the sniper has a shorter/slower travel stat so they can’t go very far, but their accuracy at long distances is unmatched.
Each battle is like a chess match, in that you’re moving each character incrementally across the map, trying to sort of read your opponents actions to try and get the upper hand on them. Battle is simplistic, with you pointing your crosshairs at the enemy and pressing the attack button. I have to say that I really loved the gameplay of Valkyria Chronicles 4, it reminded me a lot of old school RTS games like Command & Conquer. There were quite a few instances where I really had to stop and think about what my next move was going to be.
The game isn’t too punishing either, which was nice. If a character fell in battle, it gives you 3 turns to get another character to them before they are lost permanently. Losing battles wasn’t frustrating either. It was more of a “Ok, what did I do wrong, and how can I fix it next time?” You’re able to get back into the battle again pretty quick, which makes losing individual battles not as taxing.
Graphics: The graphics are very anime inspired. All of the character models are right out of your favorite anime show, as well as the environments that they are battling in. Everything looks crisp, as they went for a more cartoonish design. The characters are not life-like, but that was on purpose. The art is beautiful, and the scenery is as well. If I had to have a complaint, it would be that I wished the cut scenes were a bit more fleshed out. Most of the character interaction consisted of a zoomed in panel on each of the character’s faces with a static background behind them.
Overall: I really enjoyed my time with Valkyria Chronicles 4! As stated before, I had never played any of the previous iterations in the series, and this has inspired me to go back and check them out where I can. The gameplay was a lot of fun, and the anime inspired art and tropes fit well in the universe that Sega is building. They’ve made a new fan of the series, and I look forward to the next chapter.