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Valkyria Chronicles on Game and Player

Valkyria Chronicles

Ed Kirchgessner  //  December 3, 2008

Strategy gaming and anime stylings combine.


urn based strategy has to be one of the most misunderstood genres in all of gaming. The slow and methodical play mechanics of many titles has undoubtedly turned away a few "action minded" gamers. The sad part is that many of the best turn based titles to grace home consoles over the last decade have had firm roots in the action genre. Games like Kessen and Ring of Red artfully combined real time and turn based elements, creating experiences that were as unique as they were engaging. Sometimes, the best turn based games are those which disguise themselves as something else entirely. Such is Valkyria Chronicles, the latest from Sega.

Valkyria Chronicles brings a lot to the table. From its anime-inspired art style and characters to its pseudo real time combat system, this is a far cry from the usual Square Enix and Atlus fare that seems to dominate the genre. Set in a fictionalized European theater of operations, Valkyria Chronicles reexamines the Second World War through new nations and new conflicts. Stories of love and heartache, bravery and cowardice unfold as players engage in battles across dozens of maps.

A colorful cast indeed.
One of the first things you'll notice about Valkyria Chronicles is its distinctive art style. Going a step further than the cell shading which was all the rage a few years back, characters and environments are rendered with a pastel colored pencil look that brings to mind the works of anime greats like Miyazaki and Anno. This connection is further strengthened by a story which unfolds not unlike many of Japan's great animated serials. The game's campaign is contained within a virtual "storybook" — each of Valkyria Chronicles' "chapters" contain a number of cutscenes and at least one turn-based battle. Progress through the engaging story sequences and tactical encounters, and you're rewarded to the next "pages" in this epic. It's a unique and compelling technique to approach a turn based title, and one that never grows old. From beginning to end, I felt a personal connection with each of the game's characters that made the game's many battles that much more engaging.

The real thinking starts here.
And what's a turn based strategy game without its combat system? Valkyria Chronicles truly gives players the best of both worlds — while turns keep this a true strategy experience, real time movement and aiming add a breath of fresh air and excitement. When a player selects a unit from the overhead map, they're moved to a third person camera perspective. From here, they're able to move their chosen soldier or armored vehicle around the battlefield, shooting and running for cover as their action points allow.

In Favor

While tanks provide the serious firepower in Valkyria Chronicles, a variety of infantry units do most of the dirty work. Scouts and shock troopers form the front lines, patrolling for and engaging the enemy at close range. Once you've locked in on the enemy's position, it's time to thin out their numbers with snipers and lancers (Valkyria Chronicles' anti-tank units). Engineers fill out the roster as the "Jack of all trades" support unit — they can fight just about as well as scouts, but can also repair tanks and clear obstructions from the battlefield. Mastering these unit types (and skillfully maneuvering them around the environment in real time) is essential to conquering the game's numerous skirmishes.

Sadly, there are a few problems to report. While Valkyria Chronicles does feature a rather graceful difficulty curve, the game's unique play systems mandate a lot of trial and error. Only through experimentation will one uncover many of the underlying combo systems which give the game its depth. The game's menu systems also took a bit of getting used to — on more than one occasion, I found myself having to start a battle over due to an errant button press. Still, these are minor criticisms. Turn based strategy fans have waited a long time for a game like this, and anime buffs are bound to rejoice in the title's whimsical art style and memorable characters. You'll come for the great strategy gameplay and you'll keep coming back to see what happens next. Well done, Sega.

Valkyria Chronicles // November 23, 2010 // 2:52 PM

I just hope this PSP release does all right so that they'll make a sequel on the Playstation 3.

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Valkyria Chronicles



Sega WOW



NA Release

November 4, 2008


Play Mode

ESRB Rating

In Favor

  • Engaging gameplay
  • Gorgeous art style
  • Lovable cast of characters


  • Unintuitive menus
  • Moments of trial and error

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