25 Sep 2018
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Hands-on review: Valkyria Chronicles 4 enters the battlefield

By Damian Seeto

It has been ten years since the original Valkyria Chronicles video game came out on the PS3, but now Sega has finally released a sequel to home consoles again with Valkyria Chronicles 4. Will fans of the strategy RPG genre like this new entry?

Sega released many sequels in the Valkyria Chronicles series, but most of them were only out on portable handheld devices. Valkyria Chronicles 4 marks the franchise’s return to home consoles since this new game is available to play on PS4, Xbox One, PC and the Nintendo Switch. 

I never had the chance to play the original Valkyria Chronicles so I was looking forward to playing Valkyria Chronicles 4. I’m glad I got the chance to play it because the series is unlike most other RPGs that come out in the video game industry these days. 

The premise of the game is interesting because it’s a fictional and alternate take to World War II. It’s basically about two factions called the Atlantic Federation and the Eastern Imperial Alliance. Both factions want control of the continent of Europa. 

There’s more to the story than that, but I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. What I like most about the narrative is that it gives you time to understand each of the characters that you get to be. All of them have personal stories and you’ll get to know each character very well with the many cutscenes that this game has. 

That being said, the frequency and length of the cutscenes could be bothersome to some gamers. You will be watching a lot of dialogue scenes while playing this game! However, the game does a good job of making you care about the characters so it’s not too bad. 

Since Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a strategy based RPG; it is able to borrow elements from two different gaming genres. It has both features from the strategy game genre, but it also adds the same fighting mechanics you normally see in a turn-based RPG. 

By combining the two genres, Valkyria Chronicles 4 feels like you’re playing a very hard chess game because you need to really think where you position the soldiers on the battlefield. Not to mention you also need to find out which soldiers are the best ones to deploy or else you’re going to have a tough time playing this game…

I have never really played a proper strategy based RPG before, but the only game that I’ve played that is similar to this one is the XCOM series. Both games have steep learning curves and can be quite difficult because some of your soldiers die permanently because respawns are not available!

You can help soldiers that have been knocked out and drag them out of the battlefield, although you will need to do it quickly. If you take too long, that specific character/soldier is gone forever and there’s no way of getting them back unless you revert back to a previous save point. 

The only types of soldiers that don’t die permanently are the main characters of the story. Still, you will need to look out for everyone because the last thing you want is your whole squadron wiped out from the opposing enemies. 

It’s also worth mentioning that this game has a very steep learning curve because you are still learning new gameplay mechanics several hours into the game. I was playing the game six hours into the main campaign and new gameplay features were still being introduced to me!

What I admire most about the game is that each battle feels fresh and exciting because every mission has different strategies you need to adopt in order to be successful. For example, one mission required snipers to help call in air support, while in another mission I needed to use tanks and grenadiers to get rid of everyone. 

It goes without saying that Valkyria Chronicles 4 is not an easy game and you will need a lot of patience and skill to be successful. Each battle can last a very long time as some missions were over 30 to 60 minutes long. You really need to plan out every mission carefully because you will have a tough time playing this game without any strategy whatsoever. 

Graphically, I was impressed with the game’s comic book style 2D animation. Sure the visuals sometimes look a little outdated, but it’s a unique appearance that fits into this game’s atmosphere quite well. There aren’t many other games out there that look and play like Valkyria Chronicles 4. 

Overall, Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a decent video game although you will need to have experience in the strategy RPG genre to truly get the most out of this game. You will have a tough time if you’re a casual gamer because this game has a steep learning curve. If you can bypass the first few missions though, you should enjoy this game.

Verdict: 8.0/10  

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