Valkyria Chronicles

9 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10

Artistic graphic style | Creative story | Diverse gameplay | Ability to save during missions | Customize and upgrade weapons and vehicles |

No offline/online multiplayer | No trophies | Some long missions |

Game Info




GENRE(S): Role Playing

RELEASE DATE(S): November 4, 2008


Valkyria Chronicles is a strategy role-playing game developed by Sega WOW. The artistic nature of the game stands out immediately upon playing it for the first time. While the gameplay is still turn-based, it no longer has the annoying grid layout that previous games of the same genre had. You are able to move about freely and plan your attacks accordingly. Valkyria Chronicles has a lot to offer and you will spend many hours enjoying the experience.

Valkyria Chronicles is a fantasy based war story that begins in 1935 EC. The war is entitled the ‘Second Europan War’. A powerful ore, ragnite, is to be blamed for the war as it is sought after by the Autocratic East Europan Imperial Alliance in the east. To the west is the Atlantic Federation who try to halt the armies of the Imperials throughout Europa. A small nation, however, is caught in the middle of this war. Gallia, who had always remained neutral, now found themselves being invaded by the Imperials for their mass amounts of ragnite. Even though this small nation is not regarded for their strength in military affairs, it soon becomes a great threat to the Imperials as the Gallians fight not for glory or wealth, but for the land and the safety of its people. This story revolves around the characters Welkin and Alicia as they join the Gallian militia and hope to repel all enemies from their nation to bring about peace.

The visual representation of Valkyria Chronicles is extremely stunning. The game is presented in a sketch and watercolour painting style. The beautiful and colourful settings presented in both the cutscenes and missions bring the environments to life. The detail on units is also astounding, especially the Edelweiss. Every aspect of the tank from the body to the threads is finely detailed, further illustrating the art design of the game. The expressions presented on the character’s faces also helps to show their emotions at certain stages within the game. The switch from the overview of the field to a character in command mode is flawless and takes only a second. Some of the dialogue is also presented in a comic book style. The gameplay is an experience that will not be easily forgotten.

Gameplay is broken into two categories; book mode and command mode. In book mode, the game is presented as a book entitled “On the Gallian Front”, retelling the Second Europan War through the eyes of a reporter, Irene Koller. Each chapter reveals information, as well as obstacles that have to be surpassed in command mode in order for the story to continue. You can also access your headquarters within book mode. This includes recruiting soldiers, information about units, training classes, the war cemetery, skirmishes as well as the ability to upgrade weapons and vehicles. There are five classes that you can recruit from; scout, shocktrooper, lancer, engineer and sniper. While each unit has their own strengths, they also come with their own weaknesses. Scouts can cover a great distance and flank enemy units, but they are not as heavily armoured as the shocktrooper or lancer. Shocktroopers are armoured and are equipped with a machine gun instead of a rifle, but they can only move a short distance. Lancers can also only cover a short amount of distance, but are heavily armoured and are mainly used to attack enemy armour. Snipers have low mobility and defence, but are extremely efficient as they pick off enemies from a distance.  Engineers are your most important units as they are responsible for repairing your tank, the Edelweiss.

Command mode is where you battle your opponents on the field. The majority of missions allow a maximum of twenty turns to accomplish your objective. Objectives vary from capturing enemy camps, reaching a certain location and defeating certain enemies. You are able to assign starting locations for your nine units on the map before combat begins. Having a strategy for each mission is something you will learn early on. You are allotted a certain amount of command points for each round. Each soldier uses one command point per action while the Edelweiss uses two. You can use a unit more than once per round, but their mobility (action points) is decreased each time. Sniper and lancer ammunition, as well as grenades and certain attacks from the Edelweiss are limited per round, and so having an engineer close by to re-supply is useful.

The controls for the game are surprisingly simple. The only complaint regarding the controls deals with character movement. When you want to move your selected character only slightly, perhaps to surprise an enemy unit, you will move further then wanted if you use the joysticks. The directional pad, however, offers precise movement for those close situations when moving around. A very nice feature in the game is that you can save during a mission in combat mode. This is a very welcoming addition, knowing you do not have to beat a mission in one sitting as some missions can take up to two hours to complete.

Taking cover plays a large role in command mode. You can take cover behind sandbags, in trenches, in grass, behind buildings and behind debris. Damage dealt by enemies is greatly reduced if your unit is behind cover. The same is said for enemy units behind cover. If they are behind a sandbag, you should first destroy it with a grenade or mortar and then focus on the unit. Engineers are also capable of repairing destroyed sandbags. When units are critically wounded, you have up to three turns to bring another unit to their body, which automatically calls in a medic to retrieve the unit. If you do not travel to the wounded units location within the allotted time, or if an enemy soldier comes in contact with them first, that unit will die and will no longer be available. Due to the uniqueness of every unit, you not only lose the person, but also their abilities or potentials that are available during combat.

Every character possesses several potentials that can arise during combat. They vary from boosting abilities, increase or decrease of accuracy, shots that cannot be dodged and the chance to have two attacks consecutively. There is also a bonus for moving characters within close proximity of one another. If you are within attack range of an enemy while beside an ally or two, they will join in and attack together with no cost to command points. Welkin can also issue orders using command points. They vary from raising an ally’s evasion, raising all allies’ accuracy, or calling in artillery support which damages all enemy units.

During your missions, Welkin, being both the squad and tank commander, resides within the Edelweiss. It is equipped with a machine gun, cannon, and a mortar attack. Later on you are able to fire smoke rounds that are used to shield units from enemy fire as they advance. While the machine gun is the weakest attack from the Edelweiss, it does come in handy. It automatically fires at approaching enemies. The cannon is best used against enemy armour or stationary turrets. You encounter numerous enemy tanks throughout the missions, and so upgrading the armour and weapons of the Edelweiss should be a priority.

The artificial intelligence (AI) in Valkyria Chronicles is not particularly noteworthy. The standard enemy units do not offer much in terms of difficulty while the bosses can be frustrating, especially if your classes and weapons are not upgraded. The enemy AI has a habit of running directly at a group of your units to be shot at instantly. Another instance of questionable AI deals with enemy tanks. They sometimes use command points to simply move forward and backwards repeatedly, while not attacking anyone.

The sounds within Valkyria Chronicles are presented very well. The sounds of gun fire and the movement and firing of tanks stand out the most. Explosions, either from grenades or the destruction of enemy tanks, are also presented with a pop-up text like in a comic book. The music is also very engaging as you advance against the enemies in combat. For a Japanese animation game, the voice acting definitely delivers. Almost all the voices match up perfectly with the characters. The only character that I have an issue with is Maximilian, leader of the enemy nation. A few of the additional characters that you can choose have childish voices. Overall, the sound is a positive aspect of the game, which is favourable due to the extended amount of gameplay within the missions.

An important aspect of command mode is that it is where you gain experience to train your classes, as well as money to develop and upgrade weapons and tanks. While you cannot replay a mission after completing it in book mode, you have the option of completing skirmishes, which are identical missions from the book mode, to gain additional experience and money. This is a very useful added feature as the missions get more difficult, and upgrading your classes will surely improve your chance of success. Some missions, however, do take more than an hour to complete, and so some people may not wish to spend several more hours completing missions they previously beat. Valkyria Chronicles will take anywhere from twenty to forty hours to complete, depending on whether or not you choose to complete the skirmishes. Replayability of this game is not that good as trophies are not offered and there is no offline or online multiplayer.

Some issues are apparent throughout the gameplay in Valkyria Chronicles. In chapter 7 there is a mission where you are required to destroy radiators on an enemy tank. You are able to climb up ladders onto the tank and remain there after you attack, but once it is the enemy’s turn and the tank moves, all your units aboard the tank will fall off. It sounds as if they are taking damage, however they are unharmed. The units should be permitted to remain aboard the tank as it moves as there is a platform. Another similar instance deals with the Edelweiss coming in contact with your units. You can drive over them without causing any damage, even though it also sounds like they are taking damage. You are also are unable to trigger mines to explode by shooting them. You can only use an engineer to dismantle enemy mines. There are also some visual issues regarding enemy units being thrown from explosive rounds. Attacks of this kind against enemy units near a cliff would be thrown over the side, but after a few seconds their bodies would reappear flashing from their last position and stand back up. Therefore, you cannot critically injure an enemy unit by pushing them off cliffs or ledges with either a lancer attack, grenade launcher or with the Edelweiss.

You can summarize the game in one word; beautiful. The visual representation of Valkyria Chronicles is spectacular. The sketch and watercolour painting style as well as the detail present on characters and environment brings the story to life. Also, the freedom to plan your every move distinguishes this game from the many grid turn-based strategy games. Even though no offline or online multiplayer is offered, Valkyria Chronicles still has much to offer, including a single player campaign of over twenty hours.


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Author: Dave View all posts by
  • Stan Pasyk

    This game is a lot of fun! Great review!

  • Anonymous

    Good review. The artistic style in the game reminds me of Borderlands, intentionally un-realistic, but different. I’ll have to check this one out once I finish off Castelvania and Fallout New Vegas… If only I had a second ps3.