Valkyria Chronicles 4 Review
After the abysmal spin-off that was Valkyria Revolution, Valkyria Chronicles 4 looks to set the series back on track. Does it help the war effort, or are they fighting a losing battle? Check out our review and find out.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 Review
Valkyria Chronicles 4 starts you off right in the thick of war. If you’ve played the original Valkyria Chronicles, then you know the story. Honestly, if you know anything about World War II history, you know what’s going on. The game takes place during a fictional World War II in Europa. You and your squad are part of the Atlantic Federation, and the enemies are the Eastern Imperial Alliance. Both sides use a mineral known as Ragnite, and it is the main reason for the war. Medicine, weapons, and fuel all come from Ragnite, and there is only so much to go around. With a finite amount of the resource, the war was inevitable, and you must fight on the front line.
The main character is known as Claude Wallace, and he is in command of Squad 7. A lot of Squad 7’s members are from a little independent nation known as Galia. Galia is rich with Ragnite and tries to remain neutral in the conflict. The Imperials invade Galia early on in the war, and this puts a fire under Squad 7 to end the war quickly. They undertake a mission known as Operation Northern Cross to blast through imperial territory and take the capital. Squad 7’s victories begin to mount as they break through to the last line of defense for the Imperials. It is at this wall where you meet a rival tank commander who will put you to the test. What follows is a 40-50 hour adventure with you controlling Squad 7 in an attempt to take the Imperial capital city.
Most of the battles in Valkyria Chronicles 4 involve a skirmish between you and the Imperials. You will get to pick your team members for each mission and choose any equipment you want to bring. These battles are that of a tactical RPG similar to that of the X-COM series. You only have so much movement per unit and have a limited amount of command points to move them. You will control one unit at a time, and they can move and attack on the same turn. Using the same units on the same turn will reduce their movement, but it might be needed to get them out of a bad position. Team members can permanently die if you leave them in a hot zone.
Each unit has its strengths and weaknesses. Scouts move far, but don’t do a ton of damage. Gunners do a lot of damage, but can’t run as far. Snipers have fantastic one shot kill power, but have hardly any movement. Engineers are great for repairing tanks, sandbags, or clearing mines, but hardly have any defense or offense. Lancers can kill a tank in one shot and have great armor, but have issues taking out infantry. Vehicles are immune to bullets and do high damage but have a massive weakness. A big blue engine pops out of all tanks, and if that gets hit with a rocket or tank shell, the tank goes boom. Claude is in a tank for most of the game, so if you lose the tank, you lose Claude and it’s game over. Grenadiers are the newest units, and they use mortars to clear out sandbags and enemies who are hunkered down.
When you aren’t in a fight, you can upgrade all of your classes. Unlike most games, if you upgrade the whole class is leveled as opposed to individual units. So if you improve the scouts, all scouts are upgraded and not just the ones you use the most. The system works out very well, because you are encouraged to switch units around often. Each unit has a bond with another team member, and if they fight together, you can unlock Squad Missions. These missions will give them new potentials so they can fight better in the upcoming battles. The class upgrade system also lessens the blow if you lose a person you like as well. As long as you have enough experience, you can upgrade units at a good pace. I never felt like one group was too weak.
Outside of the main missions, you will have skirmishes and squad missions. The squad missions force you to play with three specific units so their bond can grow. They are generally short and almost always worth the time. Skirmishes are long missions that you have done in the story once before. These missions are where you can grind out some extra cash or experience if you are looking to level up some more. The two go hand in hand, because you can bring new units into skirmishes to unlock the squad missions. Bringing new fighters into a main mission can be scary, as the last thing you want is someone with a lousy quirk ending their turn prematurely in a tense firefight.
The cash you earn from these fights can be used to buy new equipment and tank parts. Much like the leveling system, when you buy a new rifle for a scout, all scouts can use it. There are also special weapons you can pick up from Enemy Aces and for getting medals. These do have a limited amount and can make a massive difference in a fight. They usually upgrade damage or add a debuff at the cost of bullet range or accuracy. Armor and base weapon upgrades for the tank are automatically put on and installed. There are also secondary buffs you can add to your tank at the cost of equipment slots. Once you fill out that grid, you have to remove an old piece to add a new one. These pieces can add accuracy, damage, armor, movement and sometimes give you new tank shells.
The biggest problem I had with the game came about two-thirds of the way into the story. After completing the primary objective, a secondary objective would pop up. When this next one popped up, enemy reinforcements would appear in random spots. The only way to know where they would spawn would be to make it to that part of the mission and retry it. The problem is if you are out of command tokens, the enemy gets to go before you get to reposition you will be in deep trouble. If your tank is in a bad spot and lancer spawns behind you, it’s game over and you have to retry the mission. This issue happens way more often than it should. The game still suffers from movement issues as well. The tank can get caught on invisible edges and units don’t always move over sandbags properly. These issues have been around since the original, and there is no reason for them not to be fixed by now.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 rights the ship after Valkyria Revolution almost sank it. Fans of strategy RPGs should definitely try the demo out and see if the game is right for them.