Valkryia Chronicles [Only available on PS3]
ESRB Rating: T
Number of players: 1
Developer: SEGA WOW
Release Date: November 4th, 2008
Parent Talk: Valkyria Chronicles is a Japanese role-playing game exclusive to the PlayStation 3. It is brightly colored and anime-stylized, with a overarching war theme holding everything together. It is a violent game, but in a more reserved way, with no blood or gore. Characters get shot and disappear rather than turn into a bloody mess. The dialogue and characters are all pretty tame too, with very few instances of cursing. This is a game that is fine for children to play, under the circumstances that they are actually able to understand it. There is a lot of talking to sift through and difficult game mechanics to learn, making this one better for slightly older kids and teenagers. Still, this is a game that parents don’t really need to worry about.
Valkyria Chronicles is the PS3 exclusive game that JRPG lovers need. Developed by the same time responsible for the classic game Skies of Arcadia, Valkryia Chronicles is a war-themed action RPG that pits players in large battles that actually require strategy to win. The game’s plot is about a fictional war in a sort of alternate reality version of Europe during the 1930s, making it a unique combination of fantasy and historical fiction. The game has many great draws, from its beautiful visual style to its intricate gameplay system.
The Great: The amount of content. This is a HUGE game. The main quest covers 19 chapters encompassing a massive story arc, with so many sub plots along the way. The game plays out in a unique ‘story-book’ fashion, with each part of the game seamlessly moving into the next. It takes a really strong gameplay system to make players want to go through the whole game and explore everything it has to offer, and Valkyria Chronicles has it.
-The battle system. This game has an interesting fighting system that combines elements of real-time, turn-based, shooter, and strategy gameplay. Players have to pick certain units appropriate for each battle, select units and move around, and select how to attack. Units move around and fire at others in a third-person shooter fashion, making the game feel familiar even to those who don’t normally play RPGs. The battles start off relatively easy and progressively get harder, making the game’s challenge appropriate and satisfying, with a few exceptions. Each mission requires a specific plan of attack. For example, sometimes you will need to use Scouts to run ahead to capture bases while other times you will need Lancers to take care of enemy tanks.
-The characters. The lead character for the game, Welkin, is a strong and likeable lead. Better yet, every individual unit in your team isn’t some kind of faceless grunt, but a honest-to-goodness character with personality. Fans of a certain other RPG by SEGA by recognize some of the faces in the crowd.
-The art style and visuals. Valkyria Chronicles is a beautiful game with an amazing visual style, combining anime character designs with a watercolor aesthetic. It also helps that the loading time is quick, even without installing the game to the harddrive. After doing the optional install, the game’s loading times are lightning quick.
-The music and voices. The soundtrack to the game is an emotional affair, with epic score that fit the game’s war theme. The game also includes both the English and Japanese vocal tracks, so players can pick their preferences. The English voices are surprisingly good as well, even though the dialogue can get a bit hammy at times.
-You can’t pause the game while you are controlling your own troops. It’s not a big issue at all; it’s just a little annoying at times. Not really much else to say for the game’s faults, because it doesn’t have many.
-Some of the missions are just incredibly hard, which may be a turn off for some people. Most of the game is balanced and fun, providing a good level of challenge to keep gamers on their toes. Some missions can just get excruciatingly tough though.
-The dialogue is too lengthy. There are times when the game seems to drag on a bit, especially when there are several cut-scenes in a row. The game’s story is good, but many gamers may just become bored with parts of the game or feel like the game’s flow has fallen to a snail’s pace. The experience is easily worth it despite this issue though.
The Lowdown: Valkyria Chronicles is one of the best RPGs available on the PS3, which blends together elements of several different genres into one satisfying mix. This is a game that has started off as kind of an underdog but becomes one of the more recognized hits for the system, and that’s great: this one deserves the praise. This is simply required to be a part of any RPG fan’s library.