Name: Valkyria Chronicles 4
Developer: SEGA CS3
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: PS4 Pro
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
War. War never changes. And so is the case for Valkyria Chronicles 4 – a turn-based, yet real-time tactical game. I’ve played a bit of the original Valkyria Chronicles, but it’s been years since, and it was probably like ten percent of the game I played through before dropping out. It has been on my mind ever since though, so getting my hands on Valkyria Chronicles 4 I was eager to get going!
I’ll have to start this section off with the bad parts, I’m afraid. If you haven’t played the previous games, you’ll have no idea what’s going on – you’re just thrown into the story. I kept getting told that “this person is mad at you for something you did”, but I had no idea why, since I’ve yet to play the second and third installment of the series. So my first few hours was really confusing, to say the least.
After a while, though the story certainly got better (and less confusing) – and yeah, the story does become pretty much excellent after that first couple of hours. As with the first games in the series, Europa is still at war, with the Empire attacking the Federation. Still being on the defense, we play as Claude Wallace, commander of squad E attempting to return peace to the lands of Europa.
Allow me just say this clearly – Valkyria Chronicles 4 looks great! No, it’s not realistic, but everything has a relaxed drawn style, which really works for the setting of the game. In addition that allows the game to run more smoothly than if it was photo realistic.
Another great thing about this choice is all the characters enjoying distinct features. For example, Aladdin (don’t ask me why he’s named that) has a glossy crown (of the head), and excellent eyebrows. This allows him to be easily recognizable and allows for the player to distinguish him early in the game. This goes for pretty much any character, which makes them all feel unique and like an authentic person.
Texture wise Valkyria Chronicles 4 looks good too. I’d say that pretty much every single object in the game is high definition. The guns, the tanks, the environment. It all has the same style. More importantly, though, the level design is close to perfect. The world feels similar across the different areas, yet there are loads of differences between city and countryside. The calmness of the rural lands has nothing in common with the cramped urban sites. Still, it feels like they are part of the same country.
I think pretty much any gamer can agree with me on this one; gameplay is the most critical part of any game. Bad gameplay = a bad game (generally). Fortunately, this is not the case for Valkyria Chronicles 4. The game consists of fun tactical gameplay, with a mix of real time and turn based gameplay. As the commander, you have to set up your squad, to make a war machine that can’t be stopped. It’s not solely on the battlefield you have to keep your squad on its toes, however, as training and developing new guns remain a vital part for success. Different levels have different effects on the gameplay, say that you’re fighting in a city; Of course, your tank will get stuck in the narrow streets. Scouts, on the other hand, have a great time in the cities, running around getting the jump on the enemy. However, when in the countryside, snipers and heavy machinery such as the tank, comes more into play, with long range and excellent range. Another cool feature I really enjoyed is the mechanic that allows your squad to permanently die. It sounds harsh, yeah, but luckily it does take some bad luck for them to be out of the game for good. If one of your soldiers has been shot and lost all health, you still have the opportunity to save them by simply being first to the spot. If you’re the first to touch them, a nurse comes and evacuates them. If the enemy is the first to touch them however it’s a bye-bye, forever.
What I must make a note of however is the AI. Which could be better. There are lots of times the AI simply runs past my squad members without shooting or getting shot at. If my squad was in hiding I’d understand, but this is when I’m standing in plain sight, dead middle of the battle. It’s not a huge deal, especially since the same goes for both the friendly and enemy AI, but it does take away that little extra Valkyria Chronicles 4 needs to become next to perfect.
The tank is difficult to control, I must say. It typically feels a bit sluggish. It might be just me, but it felt as if the tank couldn’t do more than one thing at a time, for example; I couldn’t turn and drive forwards at the same time. One thing I’m giving a huge plus for is the (I don’t know what to call it) light/heavy controlling when aiming. By controlling your aim with the analog stick, the character aims in a general direction, quite fast. And when you need to make slight adjustments, you can use the arrow buttons to make that final touch.
Steering your squad members is a relative ease. With precise controls and a UI that tells you what you can interact with at any given point. As the game is rather menu heavy, there’s not really much to do while controlling the characters themselves. Basically, you select what action to use, which object to use it on (for example an enemy) and then press the confirm button. The menus are clear and easy to understand, while controlling the menus are precise and easy. Personally, I liked the default setup, sensitivity and so on, and didn’t feel the need to change it up. However, that is an option for those who need it.
This is most likely the strongest part of Valkyria Chronicles 4 – its replay value. You have the possibility to replay every mission to farm experience, money or obtain a more favorable report. In addition, you have skirmishes, which allows for the same, without playing the story missions themselves more than “necessary”. There’s also the fact that all of your members need experience in the field in order to grow their skills. And with a squad three times the size of what you can bring on the field with you, skirmishes is an excellent way for your reserves to keep up with your first choices.
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Replay Value 9
Let me initiate this out by saying this game is fun if you enjoy tactical games. And if you’ve played any of the Valkyria Chronicles games before you’ll know exactly what to expect. That’s also the weak point of the game; it doesn’t feel like the developers have made anything new. On the other hand, why mess up a game series that works? So basically, if you appreciate tactical games, there’s no reason not to give Valkyria Chronicles 4 a go. It’s an enjoyable game, but maybe a little too similar to its predecessors.
User Review( votes)
- Excellent replay value
- Looks good
- Good gameplay
- The tank is a bit difficult to steer