What do you mean you haven’t played The Guinness Book of World Records‘ ”Best Strategy RPG for PS3″? I guess you could be forgiven considering it came the same day asResistance 2, and Gears of War 2 came out three days later in November of 2008.
However, you missed out on one of the best games to come out of this console generation. Let’s explore why.
I played with army men as a kid…a lot. So whenever I see a game that reminds me of my childhood pastime, my eyes light up. The end.
Truthfully, I didn’t pick this game up till 2010, due to a recommendation from a GameStop employee, but I didn’t put it down till I was done.
The game takes place in a world that closely mirrors 1930′s Europe and centers around the second war between the East Europan Imperial Alliance and the Atlantic Federation. No, that is not a misspelling of Europe, just a lack of creativity on designer SEGA’s part. The two sides are fighting over the limited supply of Ragnite, basically the raw material that runs this world.
You play as Welkin, a Gallian youth forced into war after his neutral home nation was invaded by the Naz—I mean Imperial Alliance. Welkin is the picture of nonviolence, despite being the son of a great general.
Did I mention there is an racist element? There is a group of people known as the Darcsen, who the imperials blame for all their problems. Honestly, it feels eerily similar to real life, but it doesn’t try too hard to make parallels, which is good, as that could have hurt the game.
The story develops over 20-plus hours and feels well paced, but takes some weird sci-fi turns that threw me off a little. The gameplay, however, is a real strategy nerds’ delight. Additionally, the game design is beautiful, but the comic book art style is a little off-putting, considering the game’s tone can get deep about the horror of war at times.
The characters come in four different classes and play out in a stereotypical rock,paper,scissors pattern of strategy games. Luckily, with a large stable of characters, you will be able to find a group that you are emotionally attached to.
Scouts see well, move quickly and are moderately useful against ground units. Assault troopers move slower but pound ground units and have higher HPs. Lancers beat tanks, but are pretty pointless in ground battles. Snipers and engineers are pretty self explanatory. Welkin, the player character, gets an awesome tank.
Characters level up through combat experience and you can also buy upgrades through cash earned in battle. Even the upgrade system is fun, for example, you work with a spunky mechanic at your home base to make your tank unstoppable.
Characters fight better next to friends and have traits that can be influenced by the environment.Traits like “Neat Freak”, where your character freaks out about being dirty and can’t shoot as well, add a level of depth to the characters and to the strategy.
Perma-death does happen, and when comrades fall you can visit them in a Gallian cemetery, that again feels out of place in the softly colored world.
The terrain, also plays part in the combat. You can hide in the grass, snipe from the rooftops and sneak through the night. This again adds another layer of tactics to the game.
If you enjoyed the combat in XCOM: Enemy Unknown this will feel similar and will hurt your wallet much less. If you decide to pick this game up, you can get it for less than an Andrew Jackson on Amazon.
Why You Should Play It
If, like me, you played with army men and made up stories for them, this game is for you. The connection you feel for the characters and their growth in the story is as good as any RPG.
If you fall in love with this series, you can also read the manga, Valkyria Chronicles: Gallian Chronicles and play the two PSP games that take place in this universe.
Unlike so many other games, Valkyria Chronicles explores some interesting issues, like racism and human nature, but ultimately can be as deep as you want to delve.