Valkyria Chronicles: A Strategy RPG Meets FPS Concoction

By Spencer . November 18, 2008 . 10:45pm

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Beyond Valkryia Chronicle’s eye catching Canvas engine is a deep tactics game completely unlike the buffet of grid based strategy RPGs. At the start of each round players are given command points. These are used to select a unit to control from a detailed military map which marks all of the allies, enemies, and cover points. Once you select a unit Valkyria Chronicles switches into a 3D world and handles like an action game. You freely move the chosen character until you run out of action points. Think of action points as “walking energy”.

 

When an enemy unit is in sight hit R1 to switch into shooting mode. Everything freezes while you’re aiming so you can carefully position the target for a head shot or hit weak point on a tank. The amount of damage you deal is in part calculated by how well you aim. If an enemy survives the assault they return fire and continue to shoot even after the shooting phase is over. Blind shots can hurt you while you’re walking so you need to make use of cover like sandbags and walls to avoid unnecessary damage. Like all strategy RPGs you want to finish one target before moving on to the next, but hitting an enemy in Valkyria Chronicles is similar to waking a sleeping sentry. Wake too many of them up at once and stray gunshots blaze across the battlefield.

 

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After you end a unit’s turn you’re taken back to the parchment map to select your next move. The command point system gives players a choice between picking a new unit or activating the one they just controlled. This opens up lots of possibilities and makes combat in Valkyria Chronicles flexible. You can run knee deep into enemy territory, pick off a few units, and then use a second turn to escape from harm. Let’s say the lone unit you sent off didn’t make it back and got wounded while retreating. You can stack command points to make another unit run up and tag him for the medical team to avoid losing him permanently. The only drawback to picking the same unit over and over again is they start out with less AP.

 

Capping the amount of AP a used unit recovers is done to balance the game since there are two ways to victory in Valkyria Chronicles. You can go the standard strategy RPG route and eliminate all opposing units or dash to a specific point to capture a base to win. At first it felt strange to see “operation complete” flash on the screen when I was surrounded by enemy troops, but I found myself going for the speed route more often. Valkyria Chronicle’s grading system handsomely rewards hasty players with bonus experience points and money if they complete missions with less turns.

 

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If you opt to fight Valkyria Chronicles has a handful of troops to play with. Scouts are good for running. Shock troopers are more powerful, but less mobile. Snipers are weak, but great for taking out other infantry units with an easy to control scope. These units are pretty much worthless when the Imperial Alliance rolls in tanks. You need to pull out lancers to target tanks, but these units have limited AP which means you might have to spend a few command points just to get them into position. Sega did a fine job balancing Valkyria Chronicles so every unit has a role in an expanded game of rocks-paper-scissors.

 

Actually, Sega did a fantastic job overall with the BLiTZ system. The free running system and aiming makes Valkyria Chronicles instantly familiar to gamers who would ordinarily look over a tactics game in favor of a first person shooter and these elements make combat in Valkyria Chronicles feel fresh for fans of tactical RPGs.

 

Images courtesy of Sega.


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  • JeremyR

    There was a PC game that sounds similar – Incubation, it was called. Sort of like X-com, but with a first person view.

    Also I’m reminded of an early PS2 SRPG called Ring of Red which had a first person element

  • heero420

    ring of read was a first person…well i guess when u where charging up the um tanks?? to shoot

  • http://veryimmature.blogspot.com Geoff

    Definitely feels a lot different to incubation, which was awesome too. I’m closing in on the end now and it is definitely not an exaggeration to call this the best sega game since they made consoles.

  • jarrod

    Ugh, makes me want a PS3. C’mon Sega, port this.

  • nika

    no porting! >D

    I agree with spencer that it feels strange to end battles surrounded by your enemies. especially with some skirmishes where you can only attain A-Rank by finishing them in just one turn. (and you end the mission surrounded by 5 troopers and 2 tanks, yeah…)

  • Nabe

    A lot of us don’t have PS3s, including me. The entry fee is too steep.

    But I would definitely pick up Valkyria Chronicles along with one if I could afford it.

  • Nekobo

    Great game, definitely worth buying. I especially like the endearing and well sketched cast of characters.

  • Kuronoa

    Ditto @ Nabe’s comment.

    The problem is the price of the system and games but also, I do not own a TV for this side of video gaming. T_T I doubt I need a better TV but still…

    Oh well I can just watch the anime and catch up later.

  • jarrod

    Sorry to bring up the port talk… but seriously, as is I don’t really have the time or money to invest in another HD console, especially when that console’s library is largely redundant in terms of of my game interests. I’d much rather take a 360 port or even a visually downgraded Wii conversion… as is, one game’s just not worth the investment in a PS3 from my vantage point.

    But sorry for the sidetrack.

  • http://www.infinite-bits.com Nick Doerr

    Easily the best Sega IP since Skies of Arcadia. I don’t think it tops that game, but it comes so freakin’ close I’d like to call it a draw.

    The Overworks team needs to be given more attention by Sega — maybe they’ll eventually put out a true Phantasy Star sequel/prequel/sidestory. There are way too many opportunities to go back to Algol.

  • Chris

    VC is definitely a great game. There are a lot of small tweaks I would make that I think could make battles even better. Like, it’s annoying that if a shocktrooper is crouching behind sandbags, and you’re behind the sandbags with him firing him at point blank range, he gets the same defensive bonus that he would if you were fifty feet away on the other side of the sandbags.

    Also, I’ve noticed the enemy AI can often be completely incompetent. They don’t coup de grace your injured command point characters when they’re right next to them, they don’t abuse the ability to use the same unit several times in a round, they run out right in front of your tank and get themselves killed. Too often I feel like I’m being forgiven for terrible strategic mistakes because the enemy just has no idea how to play.

  • nika

    @ nabe, kuronoa and jarrod: I was just joking with the no porting ^^ I own neither a ps3 or 360, and either is out of my financial league at the moment. (instead, I spend to much time at friends who do have them)

  • nika

    sorry for the double comment but;

    yes the AI seems to be incompetent at times. Not using your tank to shoot at me whem I’m 5 feet front of it (2nd skirmish) or letting me walk right past the gate defence and not follow (forest mission/3rd skirmish) and indeed, they seem to like walking up to your tank…

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