Either you like the Valkyria Chronicles series, or you don’t. It’s one of those series that people have trouble classifying: while it’s clearly a strategy-driven series, it also has RPG/JRPG elements. The first game in the series received nominations and won multiple awards in the RPG category – nominated by GameTrailers for “Best Role-Playing Game,” awarded “Playstation 3 RPG of the Year” by IGN, and receiving awards for “RPG of the Year” and “Playstation 3 RPG of the Year” by RPGamer. Valkyria Chronicles is, however, a series entirely distinct from traditional RPG’s like Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda.
The first Valkyria Chronicles game was incredible, incorporating an overhead map of military units for placement on the battlefield and then zooming in so the player could see firsthand the individual movements and combat of each character. There was enough story and character development to classify the game as a RPG and make you feel somewhat engaged in the character’s lives, beginning with an evacuation and the odd initial meeting of the two main characters (Alicia holding a gun to Welkin while he’s sitting at a creek, sketching fish). There were some very Japanese elements apart from the turn-based battle system…After all, who can forget the adorable flying piglet? The game was more strategy-driven than story-driven and wow was the gameplay addictive!
You control characters with different roles – scouts, snipers, engineers, shocktroopers. These soldiers have different abilities and even bonuses or hindrances depending on the individual (ex. boosts depending on the terrain or when near a certain soldier). These positive or negative effects made the characters seem more real, giving them more of a personality. After all, wouldn’t you fight better in a terrain you grew up with or next to a close friend as opposed to a stranger/mere acquaintance? I have to say though, one of the aspects I found rather ridiculous is how tanks didn’t completely blow someone away from a distance of a couple feet, instead bringing their life down only a small fraction. There’s something clearly wrong with that picture!
While Valkyria Chronicles did well among reviewers and gamers (even receiving its own anime series and manga), the PSP sequel didn’t sell well enough in North America and Europe to “justify localization costs” for the third game (also on the PSP) to make an appearance outside of Asia. There is a wealth of strategy RPG games already for the PSP…Would it have killed them to stick to producing the entire series on a console?! I love handheld systems, but there’s nothing like seeing a game series like Valkyria Chronicles on the big screen, given the first game’s high praise for sheer beauty and original gameplay (such as not adhering to a grid-based map like other strategy games while also creating “nail gnawingly tense” battle situations despite the relaxed nature of traditional turn-based games).
A rumor was developing last month that Valkyria Chronicles 4 may make an appearance on the PS3 or at least the PS Vita. We’ll have to wait and see if the rumors pan out, but it’s a long shot given the sales’ history outside of Japan thus far.
KitGuru says: Given the positive reception of the first Valkyria Chronicles and North America/Europe’s dismissal of the PSP sequels, would it make sense for the developers to create the 4th game for the PS3? What do you think?