Review: Valkyria Chronicles II

It has been two years since the original Valkyira Chronicles graced the Playstation 3 and now the sequel has been release on the PSP. Does the sequel suffer on the handheld and live up to the Valkyria Chronicles name?

Story

The game takes place 2 years after the events of the first game. Gallia is in a middle of a civil war due to the duchess of Gallia revealing herself to be a Darcsen. If you haven’t played the first game, a Darcsen in the series are people with black hair. They are considered to be sub human.

In the game you play as Avan Hardins, a annoying 17-year-old who isn’t very bright. In the start of the game he gets news that his brother was killed in a super secret Lanseal mission and Avan decides to join Lanseal  Academy, in hopes to find out what really happen to his brother.

When he gets to the school, he finds out that his brother is a big deal . Even though his brother was thought of in high regard, he gets put in Class G, a class full of misfits that lack leadership. Even though the storyline takes the ‘underdogs prove everyone wrong’ approach, the game has some really good moments and good characters.

Presentation and Graphics

The first game had some very nice visuals and cutscenes. This game also features cutscenes, but they are videos instead of using the in game engine. There is also portraits of the characters with text boxes. Sometimes it will be voiced, but mostly it isn’t. The text boxes are mostly used for optinal conversations with classmates.

Basically when you finish a mission, the school map will have exclamation points around it. These are optional conversations you can have with your classmates. They will reveal more about the characters, their issues and unlock potentials.  In the game, potentials are extra bonuses. Take for instance, if your character hates interacting with other students, they will have status boosts when they are are alone.

I think we all sort of assumed that the PSP wouldn’t be able to match a PS3 game in terms of presentation and I think everyone already knows that the graphics would be the same story. Valkyria Chronicles II does feature canvas like graphics and it succeeds in this part.

The graphics might not be the best to look at, but they get the job done. Actually it looks like an average PSP game, in terms of graphics. This does not mean they are awful, it means they just don’t look as good as other games on the system.

Missions & Activities

Missions in the game play a large role, since this is a SRPG. The game delivers over 200 missions. This game will consume your time, lots of hours will be wasted trying to get through the game’s missions.

One of the only issues I had with the missions, is that you can’t just play through just the  story missions. You have to do a certain number of side missions before you can play a story mission. This might  annoy a few and it did to me a few times, but after you finish a side mission, you unlock new conversations with your classmates, store items and other goodies.

If you haven’t played the original, the game has CP (command points), there are limited to a certain number. Almost each unit takes one CP point to move, tanks on the other hand take 2. Some commands also take more CP. The game will give you a top down look of the map, showing you where your squad and the enemies  (that you can see) are located.

Once you click on the person you want to control, the game goes into 3rd person view mode, letting you walk around till your ‘meter’ is empty. Like SRPGs, there is a limit to how much you can move. After you finish your move, you hit start and you pick your next character, till you finish your turn or CP points run out.

One of the draw backs in this game is that there are multiple areas, instead of one large one like Valkyria Chronicles. Basically in some missions you will start in Area 1 and have to get to Area 4. To switch areas, you have to take over the  enemy flag in your area, then you can transport your squad to a new area.

Missions in the game get hard after awhile, especially when they start adding things to worry about like weather, bosses and tanks. The game will seem hard, but there is always a easier way to beat missions, thus making you retry and find new ways to best your foes. An important thing for missions are the classes and the game offers the same ones as the game before (Sniper isn’t a class anymore, it is a subclass to scouts) and one new class. Armored soldiers is the new class, they carry heavy shields and melee weapons. They are used to take out sandbags and mines.

The game also has a store that lets you buy extra missions, commands (sold to you by Welkin from VC1) and weapon upgrades. Given all that there is to do, the game will keep you plenty busy.

Leveling up & Controls

The level up system has branching classes. Like if you have a shocktrooper, you can change it to different class of shocktrooper. Even though they are categorized as ‘shocktrooper’ on the menu, some shocktroopers you level up won’t be anything alike. This gives your characters you level up a distant advantage. Also means if your favorite character dies on the battlefield, you will be more in a panic to save him.

You will get exp points via missions, this is what you will use to level up your squad. They can go up to level 25, so find out what squad you like to play best as and go from there.

The controls on the game are great, I was worried about it at first due to the PSP not having a second joystick, but the developers did a great job. When you hit 3rd person view mode, you move around with the joystick and move the camera with the L and R shoulder buttons. If you want to move the camera more than just left and right, use that d-pad.

How do you aim and shoot, you ask? Well, you hit the square button and now you are in aiming mode. The joystick now aims for you. If you want to be more precise with your aiming you can use the d-pad.

Replaybility

The replayability for the title is very high. There is always reasons to come back and keep on playing. Most of the reasons for me are the extra missions I didn’t play during story mode and trying to improve my ranking on missions.

After you finish a mission, you will get a grade in the end. To get the best possible score, you will have to finish a mission in the least amount of turns. This sometimes takes beating a mission a few times and figuring out the best solution to the problems.

The game also offers co-op  and versus via ad hoc. I played co-op, with another person, but the game supports up to 3 other players. The game lets each user command their own solider, having less command points due to less users on screen. You don’t have to take turns in co-op, as in, each person can move their character and end the phase (after everyone goes). It is required that you communicate strategies with other players to achieve goals, if not you will most likely fail missions.

The c0-op feature is great, but it sucks that it isn’t online and on a console. Not everyone owns a PSP where I live and less people are interested in these types of games.

Conclusion

Valkyria Chronicles II BLiTZes  on the PSP delivering one of the most satisfying SRPG the system has to offer. The game has a deep leveling system, over 200  mission and a colorful cast of characters with tight controls.

If you want a game that will keep you busy for 40+ hours and leave you wanting more, this is your game. Even though the  plot is a cliché and the graphics aren’t the best the PSP has to offer; the pros highly outweigh the cons.

Positives…

– Great cast of characters
– Lots of upgrading options
– Tons of hours of gameplay, over 200  missions
– Multiplayer added

Negatives…

– Graphics aren’t great
– Ad-hoc multiplayer only
–  Isn’t on PS3 (nitpicking)
– Avan’s voice annoys me

Rating:

A

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3 responses to “Review: Valkyria Chronicles II

  1. CrazyTails says:

    Great review buddy and I agree with everything you said.

    I havent played the original so I thought the system of doing key missions first before doing story mission made sense, since it forces you to do a lot of missions and get more used to the system, get more experience and all that stuff.

    Still understand why you wouldn't want the game to force you 2 so i'll give you that. Still a great review regardless and hope it sells well.

  2. matty says:

    "a Darcsen in the series are people with black hair. They are considered to be sub human."

    Haha! Well, I wouldn't want to hang out with a nappy burgundy haired jerkoff, anyway.

    Hilarious review, and the game sounds solid. As much as I want to get back into SRPGs I'm not sure I can fit it on my RPG plate right now, but I'll keep it in mind.

  3. Autosaver says:

    The graphics look pretty good for a PSP game.

    Ad-hoc multiplayer only? Isn't that 99.9% of PSP games too?

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