You control troops and tanks, taking turns positioning units to flank enemies and defend key objectives. When you command troops, the game is controlled in real-time, and you must actively run and seek cover to evade enemy fire. When you choose to aim your rifle, the action pauses and you can freely aim and target enemies without worrying about being riddled with lead. Missions are quite varied and will task you with protecting foreign dignitaries, disabling mortar batteries, and destroying mammoth tanks.Valkyria Chronicles has character in spades…Valkyria Chronicles has character in spades—not only do you command an animated gallery of soldiers, but each of the dozens of troops is fully voiced (in both English and Japanese) and has a range of idiosyncrasies. Some troops are womanizers and gain statistical bonuses from being grouped with soldiers of the fairer sex. To recruit an anti-tank trooper who is both allergic to pollen–whose stats take a hit if battling in a forest versus a town–and who has an affinity for paved or cobbled roads is hardly out of the ordinary for Valkyria Chronicles.
The narrative is a pleasant surprise, and deals with some incredibly adult topics, such as racial prejudice and the nature of humanity in wartime. To see whimsical anime characters go from flirtatious and spunky to sullen and reflective is a bit jarring, but the developer’s choice to include real, mature themes is laudable. The story isn’t simply limited to the alternate history WWII setting, and gradually introduces more familiar anime tropes such as magical beings, ancient powers, and the like.
The graphics and audio, while nearly five years old, still stand out. Characters and environments have an understated stenciled style paired with a distinctive watercolor palette. Environments feel a bit bare, though the striking art direction more than makes up for their simplicity. The score is fantastic, and does a great job evoking the grandeur and desperation of the last Great War. As noted before, the game features both English and Japanese voice tracks, which is a great addition to any game, and further solidifies Valkyria Chronicles’ brilliant character.Valkyria Chronicles … holds up remarkably well after nearly five years. Valkyria Chronicles may not have the sheen of modern games (the game does lack the now-requisite Trophies) though it holds up remarkably well after nearly five years. You can replay any battle from the epic campaign, and you subsequently unlock skirmishes that can be played on multiple difficulty levels. The campaign is a set difficulty, which can prove to be challenging and relentless, though like all great strategy games, thoughtful tactics will lead you to victory. There is great depth to this title, and if you are wanting more, Valkyria Chronicles has found markedly better success on Sony’s PSP, which allowed the platform to host two sequels (the third’s North America release is still to be determined).
Valkyria Chronicles is a unique title that is definitely worth the search, and is a delightful treat, even after all these years. It can also be purchased on the cheap—likely at the $20 price point. It proves that developers are still taking risks. It demonstrates that games can still forge their own path, and that sequels and space marines aren’t the only games in town. Valkyria Chronicles is a worthwhile addition to any gamers’ library.