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Valkyria Chronicles review

Excellent
AT A GLANCE
  • Gorgeous cel-shading
  • Great tactical action
  • Innovative battle system
  • Too long cutscenes
  • A tad self-indulgent
  • Unspectacular premise

Vallkyria Chronicles shares the same frustrations as MGS4, with its gratuitous cutscenes redeemed by glimpses of genius. The premise might be unspectacular – set in a world at war, you control a military unit in a quest to free your country from Imperial occupation – but gorgeous presentation and intriguing gameplay make it a rare gem that stands out from the crowded shelves of RPG sequels and remakes. VC’s unique feel stems from its luscious, yet exquisitely detailed use of cel-shaded animation. Powered by the slightly self-aggrandizing Canvas Engine, the game itself seems a little obsessed with its beauty given the abundance of cut-scenes you’ll have to trawl through before getting into the gameplay. After three hours’ play, we’d only participated in three battles.

However, when you do get into the fighting, it’s genius. Although a tactical RPG at heart, VC fuses this with real-time action by using the BliTZ system (Battle of Live Tactical Zones). This splits skirmishes into two modes. Command Mode displays a battle map, complete with unit markers. Select a unit to move and you’re launched into Action Mode and placed in the shoes of the selected soldier. You’re then free to move in real time – advancing on the enemy, sneaking to gather intel or getting in a good position for an attack.

When you’re ready to strike, you trigger the Target Mode. Here you get crosshairs, complete with tactical information giving an idea of how successful an attack will be. Each different category of fighter has unique skills and weapons. It’s a question of balance, and the game pushes you to employ every tactic you have: make one slip-up and things go downhill. There’s a whole regiment of soldiers to enlist – each with a back-story that’ll influence their performance – countryside kids perform better in wooded terrains, but older soldiers move slower. Selecting the right man for each battle is crucial.

Terrains are incredibly crafted, with tall grass to crawl through, ruins to hide behind and tall buildings with handy vantage points. You’ll need to use them all to your advantage to defeat the cunning AI. If Fallout 3’s action-heavy combat fails to engage your cerebral urges, VC’s more refined, RPG-led blend of tactics and real-time combat might be the ideal antidote.

Nov 4, 2008

More Info

Release date: Nov 04 2008 - PS3 (US)
Oct 31 2008 - PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Sega
Developed by: Sega
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Animated Blood, Use of Tobacco, Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
16+

9 comments

  • key0blade - November 10, 2008 9:34 p.m.

    I suppose I need to get the demo, try it out first
  • zanthox - November 5, 2008 7:59 p.m.

    I am really excited about this game, but I don't have the time to follow it or even play the demo I've downloaded! As soon as I have the cash and the time though, you can bet I'll be picking it up!
  • Thequestion 121 - December 9, 2008 9:31 p.m.

    That's awesome. I want it!!
  • jayson_90210 - November 6, 2008 7:58 a.m.

    was one of the best demos I've played this year and a total surprise. Will definately be picking this up as soon as my wallet recovers!
  • garnsr - November 5, 2008 3:46 a.m.

    I also enjoyed the demo, but no time, no time!
  • altair17 - November 5, 2008 3:37 a.m.

    Same
  • Tikicobra - November 4, 2008 10:47 p.m.

    The demo for this game was amazing. I plan on getting it.
  • Corsair89 - December 30, 2008 10:49 a.m.

    I love this game. It's so beautiful, unique, and very fun. Too bad it's selling like Okami.
  • Alienhideout - December 15, 2008 2:50 p.m.

    On chapter 8. This game is GREAT!

Showing 1-9 of 9 comments

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