While its been about a decade since the first Valkyria Chronicles title premiered on the PlayStation 3, now we have Valkyira Chronicles return to consoles with the original formula that made us fall in love with the franchise. This is the SEGAbits review for Valkyria Chronicles 4 played on the PlayStation 4.
Valkyria Chronicles 4‘s name makes it sound like this is a fourth entry into a long running story franchise, but Valkyria Chronicles 4 actually takes place at the same time as the original, just through a different squad’s point of view. I felt this is the best way for the franchise to move forward and not alienate new comers. Valkyria Chronicles 4 has you following Squad E which is composed of childhood friends thrown into a full scale war.
If you played the original, you basically understand how the story will play out having cheesy anime cutscenes that sometimes seem to go on a tad too long. The game features full scale tactical turn based battles that are mixed with some real-time action. It really does seem that Valkyria Chronicles 4 has more story than the original, but at the same time took longer to get the plot moving, as the game slowly introduced elements throughout the single player campaign.
Graphically the game barely looks better than the original, but that isn’t a big deal considering the biggest selling point of the original title was its art style and that has stayed intact. While I appreciate that SEGA continued with their CANVAS engine artstyle, which tries to make the game look like a water color painting come to life. The issue is that SEGA went all in on making Valkyria Chronicles 4 feel like the orginal that even its negative aspects made it over, for example the menus aren’t as streamlined as they could have been, forcing you to go through multiple menus to do basic things like upgrading your squad or checking personal files. The same goes within the game, stuff like hitting corners of sandbags seem a bit clunky exactly like the original.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 keeps most of the systems from the original intact, including all the classes that appeared in the original game, but this one adds one more class called the Grenadiers. This class has low movement speed but allows you to attack across the map with explosive shells as long as the enemy is within your line of sight. Grendiers can even even attack enemies behind cover and if aimed correctly can take out a tank! This class really does change the game since they are so deadly that they feel quite over powered after awhile, especially during the end game.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 also introduces the ability to form a squad, which allows a captain on the battlefield team up with two other party members and allows them to follow you and attack enemies when the captain does. This allows you to move two other units with lower movement speed further into the battlefield without using multiple turns, which makes setting up units and executing plans quite easier.
Quite similar to squads comes the introduction of APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) which is a armored vehicle with a lot of movement speed but low on firepower. APCs have the ability to carrier multiple troops allowing you to move them across the maps faster. Not only that, troops can stay in a APC to avoid enemy fire. If the APC gets destroyed, any troops on board are taken out of the battlefield, so make sure to park in safe zones!
This title also debuts the ideas of naval ships, but sadly this new feature only has ship orders which allow you to get support from the seas. This includes a radar option to show enemies locations in a area, the ability to bomb parts of the map and more. Going to be honest, I was a bit disappointed that the game didn’t introduce naval battles and strictly kept it ship orders. I’ll say that the ship orders do help but feel a lot like Commands which has been a feature in the game since the first one. Ship orders do make some missions easier and its nice to have. Valkyria Chronicles 4 also has quite a bit to do outside of the main games story, one of the new features I really liked was Squad Stories which gives you short story scenarios that helps shed some characterization on minor squad members that don’t get a chance to shine in the main game’s story.Each of the members story includes multiple fully voiced cutscenes and a short skirmish match, completing these stories even unlocks more personality traits that give you an advantage in the battlefield.
While I’m not a huge fan of SEGA’s DLC policy with this game, the company didn’t take out features to sell later. Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a stacked game giving you over 30 hours of main story and thanks to the way the game rates missions and does upgrades, it opens it up for a lot of replaybility. The new introduction of the Grenadiers class, APCs and the ability to form squads, Valkyria Chronicles 4 definitely opens up it system to new strategic options. Highly recommended to all SRPG fans.
- Console Valkyria Chronicles is back!
- Gorgeous art style returns
- New class = new strategies
- New movement options
- Squad stories letting minor characters shine
- Feels like an expansion of the original
- PC version still better bang for your buck
“Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the sequel the original deserves”