Valkyria Chronicles does some things new and does them pretty well. However, there are a few things that it does not do well that I feel that I cannot get past. I will detail this below if you wish to read further. In general, I think it has good potential and I think some people would really enjoy the game.
Valkyria Chronicles has an interesting approach to combat. It’s somewhat of a tactical third person shooter. You have a number of moves, your units can move a certain distance, and you physically aim to shoot. It is a different approach to gameplay that I think would work well…if it’s executed properly. Unfortunately, I feel this is where the game falls apart. The pathing has noticeable lags where the unit gets caught on seemingly nothing. I have a theory this relates to the direction you are aiming your camera. Also, I feel failing on mission 3 twice is a bit harsh. Your units don’t care if the unit they are aiming at is moving behind a tank or something, they will still shoot at it. And since your units need to reload, this creates problems when you are trying to stop them from destroying something. Additionally, although super tough units early on isn’t a new concept, but it creates problems when you are protecting something and they are able to easily mow you down as you try and reposition so you don’t get blown up by a tank. Cover is designated as only the sandbags, you can’t get into cover behind rocks, trucks, or anything not designated as “cover”. Hitting enemies depends on if your unit can actually see the enemy and the enemy isn’t behind an indestructible part of a wall extending beyond the wall. People would consider these things small potatoes. I get that. They just rub me the wrong way.
The controls appear designed for controller play instead of mouse and keyboard. The keybinds are, in my opinion, rather odd for the defaults. The good news is you can rebind them. However, I don’t know if they really felt that responsive. I think that has to do with the movement issues in the game.
In mission visuals are pretty good. The information presented on the screen is generally helpful and relatively easy to understand, and they generally tell you about the UI and do a good job with it. However, I had issues with the cutscenes. Specifically, the cutscenes would lag and it is extremely noticeable. On initial startup, the game attempted to set the framerate to 37 FPS. What the hell kind of framerate is that? The only thing I can think of is that it is half my monitor’s refresh rate. The only other option is desktop refresh rate, so the options are extremely limited. I sincerely hope that the issue is because I have a 75hz panel instead of a more normal number. As for the art style, I think it’s pretty good as well. For the cutscenes they have opted for a drawn appearance. I think it fits well. In missions, they drop the drawn appearance for a more animated look. I think this approach is fine.
The voice acting was pretty decent for Valkyria Chronicles. Additionally, the music works well. I don’t really have a lot to say about the sound specifically, which is a good thing to be honest.
Don’t worry, no spoilers. I only got to mission 3. The reason why I want to talk about this is that this is, combined with some of the gameplay stuff, what caused me to decide to quit the game (and spend about 3 minutes attempting to do so without Alt+F4). The story just…didn’t jive with me. I wasn’t really invested in the story. It also doesn’t help that some stuff isn’t easily skippable. I think this is particularly subjective, and I think other people would be more interested in this game’s story.
To be honest, I was kinda disappointed by this game. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I felt the game didn’t deliver for me. I thought the premise for the core gameplay mechanics fresh and interesting but, unfortunately, I found some potentially minor issues in the gameplay that just rubbed me the wrong way. The visuals didn’t seem to play well with my setup, but I’m not sure of the cause of the issues. But the deal breaker is that combined with the gameplay stuff, I just didn’t feel invested in the story. Ultimately, I think other people would enjoy this game, I just don’t know if it’s for me.