Strategy RPG Games Don’t Come Much Better Than Valkyria Chronicles 4

By | 08/10/2018

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Article Feature Image

 

ice-kingdom-font


Both developed and published by SEGA, and produced by Japanese gaming veterans Ryutaro Nonaka (Nightshade) and Shuntaro Tanaka (R-Type Final) the Valkyria Chronicles series has spawned spin-off titles such as Valkyria Chronicles D and Valkyria Revolution, but Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the fourth direct sequel in the series and is one of this year’s most anticipated strategy RPG games.

Having sold very well for a game of it’s type (all titles in series) across multiple platforms since the original title in 2008 for Sony PlayStation 3, the Valkyria Chronicles series has become a respected member of the Japanese RPG genre, even winning Game Spy’s Strategy Game of the Year [1] (Valkyria Chronicles).

Since 2008 there have been two other sequels, Valkyria Chronicles II and Valkyria Chronicles III, both of which performed reasonably well with the latter title claimed to be the weakest by many game review sites such as GameSpot.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

Valkyria Chronicles 4 has received very good scores across various gaming websites including GameSpot, IGN and Game Informer citing excellent RPG mechanics, great character design and perfectly balanced difficulty. Negative subjects of the game are few but in some cases highlight uneven enemy difficulty in combat and a lackluster story.

Here is my impression of Valkyria Chronicles 4 based upon my expectations from the game, my experiences and my honest and unbiased opinion. Please note that this is not a review. Please read on and enjoy the article.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is set at the same time as the original Valkyria Chronicles, (fictionalised and Japanese stylized account of WWI and WWII mixed together called “The Second European War”) but resounds around a different story on that time line, primarily the gutsy adventures of Claude Wallace and his command of “Squad E” of The Federation across a beautiful water-coloured world featuring the unique visuals that Valkyria Chronicles is known for.

The CANVAS graphics engine powers the imagination fueled world of Valkyria Chronicles 4, bringing to life the hand drawn visuals of the game and plays out like an interactive painting worthy of Studio Ghibli (Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke) with just as compelling an adventure to boot.

Click to enlarge…

Taking the fight to The Imperial Alliance with Operation Northern Cross, Squad E must battle, overcome personal obstacles and understand the balance of success and failure, love and loss in a time of war utilising the famed BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zones) system.

While in BLiTZ you will have to plan your strategy using Command Mode after accepting a mission from Book Mode (a list of currently available operations); plan your attacks accordingly by studying enemy positions however due to the dynamic nature of the game, your efforts may have to change to cater for changes in the tide of war. Deploy troops using Command Points and then engage the enemy once CP have depleted.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 - Command Mode

Upon satisfactory planning it is time to put your plan in to action by entering Action Mode. Action Mode is the key game play element of the game, where you get to engage in some excellently designed turn-based RPG battle that the series is known for.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 - Action Mode

This is the real-time game play of the title. Action Points deplete with each movement so use your AP wisely to move across the map in real-time until you come across an enemy and commence battle via Target Mode.

Take aim using Target Mode and choose an action accordingly; shoot at an enemy, heal and ally etc. However just as in other RPG games, an un-killed enemy gets to have his turn, so make sure you have the ability to withstand an attack should the enemy counter attack.

Taking out an enemy is simple in theory, you just check how many hit points are required for a certain part of the body, and take the shot. Going for the head may seem the obvious choice but requires a higher accuracy rate for the shot, so every shot counts until an enemy’s HP is at zero which will incapacitate the enemy unit. Should one of your own units’ HP reach zero this will send the unit in to “Critical Condition”, which if left for three turn will kill your unit.

All is not lost though as making contact with fallen soldiers will restore them from Critical Condition via a medical E-vac (allowing them to return to battle on the next turn), or in some cases, fallen soldiers may be able use their “Last Stand” ability which will revive them allowing them to perform one of two actions:

  • Stand Up; can perform one last action
  • Inspire; influence a team-mate unit to carry on

The Last Stand ability has the potential to completely change the tide of a battle and can be instrumental in capturing a Base Camp.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 - Camp

Base camps are essential for ensuring success in a campaign as they allow for the dispatch of soldiers, recuperation of soldiers (by sending back to HQ) and provide a HP recovery bonus to nearby units. That is to say, the further away you are from a Base Camp, the more difficult a campaign can become as it provides an extension of HQ operations.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 - HQ

Headquarters (HQ) provides access to the Training Field.

Click to enlarge…

Training allows you to level up your soldiers which unlocks new items such as:

  • Personal Potentials; the soldier’s personality traits and characteristics.
  • Battle Potentials; the soldier’s combat prowess.
  • Orders; special commands whilst in combat such as “Aim Boost”.

Making the best use of orders can greatly affect the outcome of a battle as they provide powerful commands. Mastering the use of Orders will make your use of CP very effective, but will also require you to think strategically about when to execute these orders. Orders can also be learned by talking to other soldiers in the Mess Hall.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 - Order

Potentials are a little more complicated as they reflect the personal nature of a soldier and can change over time and while Battle Potentials are always positive such as increasing the proficiency in of a weapon, Personal Potentials can be positive or negative such as having a decreasing effect on a soldier’s accuracy. This mechanic is similar to X-Com: Enemy Unknown, whereby soldier’s can become battle-hardened and less likely to mess up a shot or panic during battle. Some potentials are unique to a unit’s class.

Click to enlarge…

As with any strategy RPG, classes are a big part of Valkyria Chronicles 4 as they provide strategic play that needs to be though about and different play styles depending on your self. Classes also provide a way out of situations when used properly and can aid greatly in the most dire of situations.

There are six classes to utilise in the battlefield:

  • Grenadier; specialises in explosive weaponry.
  • Scout; highly mobile and quick moving recon soldiers.
  • Shocktrooper; CQC and automatic weaponry trained infantry.
  • Engineer; repair and re-supply ready heroes of the battlefield.
  • Lancer; armour-piercing lance trained heavies, able to take out tanks.
  • Sniper; stealthy soldiers trained in very long range weaponry.

Using each of these in their respectively trained methods is greatly beneficial, such as using snipers to take out the toughest enemies from afar or calling in an engineer to repair a vehicle.

Click to enlarge…

Vehicles are a new addition to the Valkyria Chronicles series with this installment and are an extremely powerful tool on the battlefield; some can venture out where units cannot and some can be setup like a mobile command center.

  • Tanks; powerful blasting machines able to withstand traditional gunfire.
  • APCs; can be susceptible to gunfire but can transport groups of soldiers through dangerous areas.

Using these powerful machines effectively can  mean the difference between glorious domination or certain death. Using a tank as a shield for units while you move past groups of enemy soldiers ready for an ambush for example is one effective use of these machines, or you could use the APC’s mounted machine guns to intercept enemy soldiers while preparing a tank to get in range for firing a mortar.

Improved tank parts, new munitions and ship parts can also be attained by providing funding and setting research via the R&D lab.

Gameranx has an excellent guide on making the most of your war machine assets which you can read here. Warning: May contain spoilers!

Valkyria Chronciles 4 is available now across multiple platforms; Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch Windows PC.

 

A Refreshed Return to an Original Classic


A return to the original story and the classic game play system and style of the original Valkyria Chronicles paradoxically blasts a renewed breath of life in to the series.

All the expected Valkyria elements are there such as the strategising system that the series is loved for and the game deliberately stays away from key elements which served to almost ruin the series such as the action RPG element of Valkyria Revolution. That is Valkyria Chronicles 4 has gone back to the original formula and improved it:

  • Turn based tactical planning.
  • Real time movement.
  • Real time fighting.

This blend of game play mechanics is a formula worthy of Coca Cola and re-ignites the flames of passion for the game after SEGA almost ruined  the series “New Coke” style.

Not just a run of the mill strategy game, Valkyria Chronicles 4 has a unique sense of style thanks to the CANVAS graphics engine which is unlike anything seen before; it brings the beauty of a European-esque world to life in  true Japanese style.

Genuinely interesting characters litter the game and rewards you for getting to know them. The story, if a little if cliche and foreseeable, still manages to hold your attention as the difficulty arc is perfectly balanced meaning it will actually take you a few hours to grasp the core concepts of the game to a level where you are comfortable in battle.

This is one strategy RPG game that isn’t just for fans of the genre, it is accessible enough for both experts and beginners alike and appeals to all gamers, of all ages.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the game.

Michael Gore – Editor/Owner, ChartX Games.

Article References

  1. Valkyria Chronicles. Wikipedia. Retrieved 05/10/2018.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

You can check the current game charts using the links below:

Font supplied by https://fontmeme.com

All images are copyright of their respective owner(s) and ChartX Games where applicable.

16 thoughts on “Strategy RPG Games Don’t Come Much Better Than Valkyria Chronicles 4

  1. Greg

    Hey, Thanks for the article! I’m not a gamer but my kids are and I’m looking for birthday and Christmas gift ideas. Your description of the game sounds like it’s just what my son would like. Me too because I like the strategic thinking required in this game.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks for commenting Greg.

      Although this is a game about war, it is non-violent, that is, no blood or guts etc., more cartoonish, so your son will be fine.

      The strategic elements are what defines this game and separates it from other RPGs and the partnership of 2 game types makes this a unique experience.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply
  2. Dave

    Hi Michael, I love the full integration of you sie and how you have put in your Amazon links to drive your sales.
    Dave.

    Reply
  3. marketa

    Hi Michael,
    LOVE the site! Do you think this is an appropriate game for 13-15-year-olds? I’m not really very knowledgeable about gaming and my kids assure me this game is completely appropriate; I’m not convinced. Help please!

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Hi there.

      Thank you so much for the kind comments.

      Although this is a game about war, there is no violence, bad language or blood such as with a game like GTA or CoD.

      I would let my children play this game and I can’t see the harm with 13 to 15 year olds, however the game does have a PEGI rating of 16. That means they recommend (but not legally require) that the game be played by 16 and over.

      I would like to add though that there are some scenes of war containing limbs, dead bodies and screaming SFX. However it isn’t as horrific as you would think and probably no different than anything similar that your children may have already seen in movies and TV shows or other games. It depends on how you look at it.

      You can find out more about PEGI here: https://pegi.info/

      I hope this helped.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply
  4. Doc

    I know I’ve said before that I do mostly first person games but Valkyrie Chronicle looks like a game I could get behind ! I have always been a fan of the classic build your own civilization computer games and playing it on xbox i can see being a fun new way to play. Nice article doing what you love man that’s it!

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thank you Doc.

      VC4 is a great game for quick bursts of fun when you are on your way to work for example (Nintendo Switch) or you have a little time to kill.

      Be warned though, it can be addictive. If you are a Civ fan then you know what I mean.

      Cheers,
      Michael.

      Reply
  5. Tim

    Hey Michael,

    Super insight into this game. I don’t do as much gaming as I used to but I still enjoy a good RPG adventure. You’ve put this one on the map for me as I don’t think I ever would have considered it.

    I was wondering if the Action Mode you mentioned is the Campaign Mode of other games where you play a storyline all the way through?

    Also you mentioned that the characters develop and experience “love and loss”….does this mean the same characters stay with you through a game and interact with each other outside of Action Mode?

    Sounds like a fun tactical turn-based RPG game. Thanks for taking the time to give a great breakdown of the newest addition to the franchise!

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks for the great comments Tim.

      Valkyria Chronicles is one of those gaming series where it is hugely popular with fans of the genre but not necessarily super famous.

      The Action Mode is an abstract and interactive element attached to the strategy part of the game, all of which contribute to the campaign.

      There is a lot to explore with the characters in flashbacks, current affairs etc. and some characters are romantically involved. Character interaction unfolds as the story progresses.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply
  6. Violet

    You are good at gaming, this sounds great. I do not anything about games, but you tried your best making it recognized and understandable. Can children play this game?

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thank you for commenting Violet.

      This game contains images of war however it isn’t inherently a violent game like GTA or similar games.

      The game has a PEGI rating of 16 which means that is recommended for 16+ but not a legal requirement. This is up to you as a parent to decide.

      All I can say is that I would let my children play it but that is my decision.

      You can find out more about PEGI here: https://pegi.info

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply
  7. Lane Onson

    WOW! A gaming site. My oldest son will love this. He really wants to become a gamer and get going on YouTube. Do you have any advise for a young teenage gamer?

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks Lane.

      Professional gaming is considered a sport and like any sport, it is extremely competitive.

      If your son practices, a lot, he could join a professional gaming team.

      However, if he wants to create content about gaming I would advise a gaming site with a niche, and not a general gaming site like mine. I say this because there is a lot of content that needs to be covered, so focusing on one game or a gaming genre will make it easier for him.

      That being said, if he has the necessary skills, he could start a YouTube channel. There are some young people making a lot of money doing this.

      He could also start a Twitch streaming channel and just live stream his gaming. A surprising amount of people will watch this if he is particularly skilled, and he could potentially make a lot of money from Twitch and donations.

      Some advice for you: Please don’t discourage him from gaming. It is not a passive, addictive and life ruining hobby as the media would have you think. Some people read for hours, watch Netflix for hours or movies. I play games, there is no difference. We all have our outlets. Violent games also DO NOT create violent people. If this were true then I and my friends would be raging maniacs.

      I hope this helped you.

      If you require any more information then please contact me at editor@chartxgames.com.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply
  8. Andrew

    Hi Michael. Thanks for a great review with such detailed information as what to expect when playing this game. It’s good to know that it is not too violent and can be played by kids without to much concern, unlike many of the other graphic games currently on the market. I find the strategic elements of this game a big drawcard. Thanks for sharing. Kind regards, Andrew

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks Andrew.

      I’m glad you found the article helpful.

      The game does contain violence but it is not gratuitous and is handled with care and in a correct context.

      The strategy part of the game is by far it’s best selling point and adds another level of game play to the system which makes it stand out from other JRPG’s.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.