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Valkyria Chronicles 4 review
Meh
by Basilio Guzmán Gómez

Valkyria Chronicles 4 PC Review (Finished on 09/08/2020)

Pros

+Good overall visual presentation and graphics. Using the same CANVAS engine from Valkyria Chronicles 1, the game is basically the exact carbon copy in terms of modeling, effects, and general graphics from the first game, resembling pencil drawing painting in motion with a watercolor style. The main parts of the game are presented resembling chapters from a book, were changing from chapter stories to extra stories or to any other mode is like changing pages from the book presented and the episodes within each chapter are like photos filling the book, giving the 1930's style of the main story. The models look detailed with good anatomy, the effects of explosions, the ragnite light, the blurriness after receiving a grenadier hit, and the visual presentation of both tanks and weapons are very detailed as even when weapons and uniforms are upgraded, it is also represented correctly in the game. One highlight is also the visual representation of sounds, for example, when some explosions are done, you can see letters floating like "POOOFFF" or "Click Click" when tripping a land mine, giving a comic like treatment.

+The class system made a return with the traditional Scout class, an infantry class specialized in reckon having the highest amount of AP and field of view, the Shocktropper class, an infantry class specialized in machine gun with the quickest mobility and more shots per turn of all the classes, the Lancer class, an infantry class specialized in equipping shooting lances targeted to vehicular or buildings, the Engineer class, an infantry class specialized in repairing ladders, vehicles, pillboxes and removing land mines within the terrain, the Sniper class, an infantry class with the lowest mobility and with the least shots per turn but with the highest damage per bullet. They also added a new Grenadier class, an infantry unit specialized in long-ranged explosives such as mortars.

+The game does a good job not assuming players have played the rest of the games in the series, by explaining as many tutorials as possible for all the features of the game.

+The PC port is an excellent port. No crashes, no sound or graphical issues and it plays well with even mid-end computers. The port also does a good job with the compatibility of both controllers and keyboard/mice combo by switching between the two after pressing the input in one of the two types of input.

+The story is the highest point of the game. The story revolves around a fictional Europa in the year 1935 where the two most powerful nations of the Valkyria Chronicles universe clash each other for the second time in an event called The Second European War (EWII), known as the Eastern Theater War. One side is the Atlantic Federation, nicknamed "The Federation" a nation composed of alliances and democracies across the Atlantic Ocean. The other side is the Eastern Imperial Alliance, known as "The Empire", a conglomerate of nations united under the iron rule of the Emperor within East Europa. While the previous three games centered in the Gallian Forces battling the Empire, the fourth entry of the game focuses on the side of the Atlantic Federation and its Edinburgh Army 101st Division, 1st Battle Brigade, 32nd Armored Ranger Corps, 2nd Regiment, Platoon E, known as "Squad E" for short and their valiant effort on its invasion to Schwartzgrad , the Empire capital, planned in two operations one called Operation Northern Cross and the second one called Operation Cygnus.

The story shows a touch of humanism illustrated by the compassion displayed upon those affected by the war, the edginess of every mission not knowing if the next mission will be the one that will conclude the adventures of Squad E, the atrocities behind the two nations such as the hunts of the Atlantic Federation and its usage of little girls for military purposes, or the aggressive stance of the Empire in conquering all Europa, killing everyone opposing them and submitting those under the regime without a second opinion even go as far as to conduct the many experiments with the Valkyrias for war purposes.

+The game has a decent amount of game modes. Alongside Chapter Stories, they introduced two new modes called Squad Stories and Extra Missions. The Squad Stories focuses on telling the relationships and experiences of all the non-main members of Squad E, a first in the series, it expands the lore of the information within the biographies found within the Private Quarters. The Extra missions are unlockable special missions within the base game via the DLC content of the game. Aside from these two modes, Skirmishes also made a return, a mode with a select amount of maps within the main story where players can play as many times as needed to obtain both experience and DCT, the game currency either to improve the classes within the Training Field or to purchase upgrades within the R&D Facility.

Headquarters mode let players interact with most of the main options within the game. Players will find many modes such as the Command Room, where units in reserve can be listed and assigned to the main ones to become playable units and to assign the equipment of the units either individually or per classes. Upgrades are available to enhance units, weapons, and tanks as the game employ two options as a form of a Training Barracks, which with the usage of the experience obtained from battles, players can level the six available classes in the game, thus increasing their overall parameters and R&D Facility to develop new weapons, uniforms, tank, and ship parts as you progress in the game and can be unlocked with the currency of the game.

After completion of the game, an Infirmary option is unlocked which not only helps to increase the cap of the classes to level 30, but also unlocks other options as well. As mentioned above, the Private Quarters option lies everything related to the lore of the game such as information of all the personnel, weaponry, the glossary detailing overall information of the Eastern Theater, the news of the moment mimicking the newspaper of the time, decorations received, all the tutorials received, the statistics and after the game completion, the music room. Another option found is called "Mess Hall" which targets the objective is to provide players with new orders depending on how far the progress has been made in the game. Finally, there is the Cenotaph, only available after game completion, it grants players the ability to revive those who previously died in the main story.

+The overall sound effects, voice acting, and OST were excellent. The sound effect such as the explosions, the weapons shooting, the rain, even the steps provide a very crisp and highly detailed experience sound-wise. The voice acting was and still is as natural as ever and one of the strongest points of the series due to how natural all the voices sound from the most energic of the personalities to the most reserved ones with the likes of Greg Chun voicing Raz, Lucien Dodge as Foseti, Ray Chase as Klaus Waltz, Max Mittelman as Claude Wallace, Kayli Mills as Riley Miller, Erica Mendez as Kai/Lenna Schulen, etc., plus the music of the game is a combination of orchestras combined with cinematic-like themes tailored to the scenario of war akin to the main topic of the game.

Neutral

+- The main cast characters have some unique personalities, but some questionable ones as well:

Angelica "Angie" Farnaby, a little Valkyria girl capable of harnessing the ragnite power to generate energy and capable of sacrificing herself to cause mass destruction when overloaded with ragnite power. Angie volunteer to be part of Operation Cygnus as an energy generator to the Centurion cruiser battleship as a part of a deal, she arranged with the Atlantic Federation so her family can receive money and her brothers can go to the school.

Chiara Rocino and Nikola Graf, the sadistic bodyguards of Belgar in charge of eliminating all his enemies, a pair that enjoy torturing their so-called prey before killing them. Brought to the X-0 squadron as enforcers, Chiara and Nikola originally were experiments in the Imperial Research Institute, and by some "calibrations" done by Dr. Belgar, their ruthlessness and obedience are amplified.

Claud Wallace, nicknamed "Scaredy Claude" by its hometowns friend after fleeing from an incident, the protagonist of the game by the rank of Lieutenant later promoted Captain is a very calm and considerate individual with a special trait of predicting the weather with perfect accuracy, marked by his frail past, he decides to enlist into the militia to prove his friends he's no longer the coward he's so well known to others, not only changing for the better in the process but also racking a perfect record of undefeated battles.

Crymaria Levin, the powerful Valkyria working part of the X-0 squadron. Capable of generating ice powers, Crymaria was another of the so many experiments done by the Empire to harness and use their power against any nation that stands against. Living the majority of its life in solitude and often considered a "failure" by those who experimented with her, she is accompanied by her wolf Fenrir and is seen crying a great portion of the game, as everybody treats her as a tool and not as a human that until she met her squadron tank commander, Klaus Walz.

Heinrich Belgar, the game main antagonist and supervisor of the X-0 squadron. A prominent scientist responsible for killing Riley Miller father, Albert "Al" Miller, and stealing his research in ragnite implosion, his cunning and pragmatic approaches combined with a meticulous intellect, garner him the position of Head of Imperial Science Board. He thinks of everybody as pawns for his goal and was then responsible for bringing Crymaria into the X-O Squadron, for unlocking the potential of both Chiara Rocino and Nikola Graf and the true mastermind behind the events of the Empire experiments with the little Valkyria girls captured.

Kai "Forseti" Schulen, the brother of Leena "Kai" Schulen, a collected and intelligent individual that once was the childhood friend of both Raz and Claude Wallace, and was the next in line to become the head of the Squad E before Claude Wallace's arrival. After the discovery of the wrongdoings of the Atlantic Federation with the hunt of the little Valkyria girls, he leaked the information to the Empire, later to become the finest strategist of the Empire, as he was assigned as the head of the X-O squadron. Forseti was secretly receiving information from Squad E after ordering his sister Leena to feed information of the squad missions in order to accomplish a personal mission after a promise he made to Angie, involving her rescue and defecting with her and Leena to a neutral country.

Klaus Walz, the charismatic commanding officer of Ausbruch, the 502nd Heavy Tank Battalion of the Empire. A humored individual with a humble origin by being the result of the union between a noble and the maid serving of the house of that noble, who later escaped to the slums after his mother died. A womanizer, showman, and one with noticeable skills of leadership, he fixated his rivalry with Claude Wallace after many defeats at his hand to later show his respect to Claude personally after the announced ceasefire between the Atlantic Federation and the Empire.

Leena "Kai" Schulen, the sister of Kai "Forseti" Schulen, a thoughtful and decisive woman capable of adapting to anything, she deems as worthy and valuable. She posed as her brother after his mysterious disappearance from Atlantic Federation and become "Deadeye Kai" due to his perfect precision handling a sniper rifle.

Miles Arbeck, a cool and diligent person and the tank pilot of Squad E. Miles was a model student by his deep knowledge in-tank piloting and tank technology, obtaining remarkably high marks in the military academy alongside Claude Wallace as his senior. Arbeck chokes in difficult situations as noted in the many times, the Squad E embarked in seemingly very hard to impossible missions and even doubting Claude's plan in the invasion of the Empire capital and when trying to escape the Centurion in their last moments.

Minerva Victor, a perfectionist, and the commander officer of the Squad F, with enough authority over the commanders of the rest of the other squads. A stubborn individual with a strong personality, she always blamed Claude Wallace for being always a step ahead of her while suffering a lot through the campaigns against the Empire after his whole squad was eliminated, she and her Tank pilot, Ronald were the only survivors, now transferred into Squad E to be under Claude Wallace wing.

Raz, a hot-headed Darscen with the rank of Officer within the Squad E. Since his childhood, he was always a very energetic albeit problematic friend of Kai "Forseti" Schulen, a secret admirer and friend of Forseti sister, Leena "Kai" Schulen, and despised Claude Wallace due to his cowardice reputation. His recklessness always forces the Squad to always be on the edge, either to save him or save the others but that doesn't deter his great sense of loyalty and to get things done, nicknamed himself "Invincible Raz". Raz plays a pivotal role in the friendship of the main members of Squad E, serving as an inspirational figure for the non-main members of the squad and is one of the responsible of appeasing Leena Schulen into becoming her better version and is responsible for inspiring Claude Wallace into becoming his best version.

Riley Miller, a brilliant girl that initially hated Claude for not allowed her to go into her father factory while it was in flame thanks to an attack from the Empire, she enlisted into the militia as an explosive expert later discovering the Atlantic Federation was using her father research in ragnite implosion to use it on little Valkyria girls to turn such girls into energy generators and bomb detonators to later remember it was thanks to the research she gave to the United States of Vinland.

The non-main character's relationship within Squad E was somewhat explained by the Squad Stories their tenure with the squad. It is composed of the likes of Aulard Abington, Curtis Blackwell, Emmy Mistral, Godwin, Fleuret Valois, Jean Matrix, Jimmy Frank, Laurent McCloud, Neige LePetron, Nico Emery, Rebecca Longhurst, Rosetta Valeriano, Scott Aldiss, Stanley Barclay, Teresa Leach, Viola Bryce, Zaiga.

Cons

-An option to skip the triggering of the potentials and some in-game cutscenes such as the tank submersion in Chapter 18, etc, should have been implemented. Many potentials are activated sometimes, stopping the gameplay to see that, which is not good at all. They also should have implemented an autoplay mechanism to compensate for the huge amount of cutscenes the game has, instead of watching a cutscene, go to the other, press the button to start it, and repeat.

-In order to be able to reach level 30 with the classes, you need to complete the game, and even after completion, not all the R&D facility research will be unlocked if some maps are not completed first, again after game completion. Both the level cap and all R&D research should have been unlocked as you progress through the game without needing to finish it.

-No mention, neither appearances of characters from Valkyria Chronicles 2 & 3. With Valkyria Chronicles 3 Unrecorded Chronicles, they connected all the protagonists and sub-main characters of the previous games with the plot of the main game, something this game greatly missed, taking into consideration Valkyria Chronicles 3 Unrecorded Chronicles was a PSP game, therefore a limited game in terms of capacity and this is a PC port with more capacity to achieve such feat.

-Some cutscenes are rendered at full speed but some cutscenes are rendered at 30 fps or less. All cutscenes should have full rendering speed if your PC specs support it.

-Some Extra Missions and Squad Stories needed to have all aces eliminated in order to unlock the rest of the cutscenes while the DLC content does not need that at all. They needed to avoid that because nearly every content from the game does not need such a task to reveal what lies ahead. They also missed an opportunity by having all Interludes and Squad Stories unlocked after completing the game, something that needed to happen without completing the game.

-The Armored Tech class does not make a return from Valkyria Chronicles 2 & 3. It should have made a return so the game can expand to a total of 7 classes.

-The gameplay is still is the lowest point. Like all the entries in the series, Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a Tactical Turn-Based RPG named BLiTZ, Battle of Live Tactical Zones, consisting of two modes. Command Mode which presents the level in the style of a map, with the units shown as little dots with the logo of the classes on top, also showing you a number of medals called CP determining the number of turns before ending a phase. After selecting a unit, it changes to the second mode called Action Mode, where units have limited mobility in the form of AP, which is the steps left before the unit no longer is able to move, they will also have one action per turn and a designated HP bar showing the remaining life points of the unit. Also making a return from the previous games in the series are the orders, by consuming several CP, the Commander can activate certain specials such as a healing one or more units, increasing stats, etc.

New to this game is the Command Ability enabled to promoted units, where that unit can have another unit attached to move two units at the same time, increasing the chances of a coop attack. Another new implementation was the Brave system when a unit is on the verge of dying, it can restore a CP and increase the ability of a nearby ally, thus countering an enemy attempt of attacking, or restore AP for a brief invincible state. Another new addition was the Ship orders, while not accessible in all maps, players can now be assisted by issuing orders to the game's main cruiser, The Centurion.

While all of this sounds good in paper, here the problems with the gameplay. Due to the tactical turn-based nature of the game, the battles take a lot of time to be completed, when in other genres something that can be completed let's say in 15 minutes, here it can easily take double of time, resulting in a very slow pace. Aside from the tactical nature of the game, they are some caveats with the mechanics that subtract immersion, such as the game automatically let the enemy prone before the player attack in order to replicate a "miss" scenario, so the unit keeps shooting in the direction aiming, not automatically following the enemy on the floor, so the enemy can stand and attack you, the unit unable to do anything unless the unit has some kind of counterattack trait. Another downside is with some area of effect explosions, that either with grenades or mortars, the enemy just need to prone again and the damage is greatly reduced or no damage at all, or when you have multiple enemies very close to each other, the explosion just hit one of them, when the explosion happened in between the two.

-While the DLC content targeting the reunion of Squad E from this game with Squad 7 from Valkyria Chronicles 1 was good, not sure what they were trying to accomplish by adding a special mission to recruit Edy Nelson from Valkyria Chronicles 1. They should have used that opportunity to implement a DLC that connects Squad E with Class G from Valkyria Chronicles 2 and with the Nameless Squad, Squad 422 from Valkyria Chronicles 3, like Valkyria Chronicles 3 Unrecorded Chronicles did. Also, it was not a good idea for the recruitment of Valkyria Chronicles 1 members, into the main story before completion of the game, because the story of that game is happening at the same time as this game, so that kind of breaks the lore.

-While the music is very good, they reused some of the main songs from Valkyria Chronicles 1, while understandable when playing with Squad 7 units, they should have made an effort of having more original songs.

-While the skirmishes were a good addition to obtain EXP and DCT (the game currency), the harder difficulties are only unlocked after completing the game. Those difficulties should have been unlocked without the need for completing the game.

Other reviews4

Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is very much based on PC predecessor Vakyria Chronicles. Anyone thinking about picking up this Game for the pretty high Price of €60,000 and not knowing the Franchise should definitely play the Predecessor first. VC4 has taken over many Mechanics from its Predecessor partly with very few Changes. This could be described as not very innovative, but I am in favour of The tactic to build on the previous Strengths and to invest the Resources in graphic Improvements and a good Story. The Struggle, as well as Class system, has remained largely the same. What stands out so far is the new Grenadier Class, as well as the Fact that Tank movements cost Only one or two CP. The Characters are well written, and the Story is so far very good. In time, the whole Thing is playing at the Time of the invasion of Gallia, only that this time one participates in the final Campaign of the Alliance, which in turn allowed Gallia to repel the Invasion. All in all, a very good Game. Oh, and there's some t h i c c a s. (Kai best waifu)
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
So I have to admit I was only skeptical as I heard the Game from the Gameplay should be pretty much the same as part 1, which Is good in principle as part 1 is a very Game, but after a few Hours in the Game, I have to say I am excited! There are a lot of new Gameplay Elements that greatly enhance the game and bring with them every host of Innovations and Variety. So if you liked Part 1, get a 100% Buy recommendation here, who doesn't know Part 1 necessarily pick Part 1 and then immediately pick up the here XD A Couple But on the one hand there are some Logic mistakes that don't make Sense An Example is that I have the Tank at my disposal in the Round, although the Story is told in such a way that you should not actually have a Tank. In addition, I can always move to the full-time to explore Units, even if the Story does not actually allow it, here this Possibility could have been deleted. AND What seems to me to be really annoying is that the Dialogues need to be pressed further with the Click of a Mouse, which is really annoying as I would like to see an Option running the Dialogues in Auto Play.
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
VC4 is again a Game that does not trust the Players at all and bombards them with Tutorials. Very annoying that these are not to be switched off. Precisely because it is already the 4th Part, one should assume that one or the other Player already has Experience with the Series. Had I programmed it there would be the Selection: "Complete Tutorial"; "Only new Elements"; "Turorial off." But nobody asks me! * lol * Nothing any more notwithstanding, even if you keep leaving or hear that VC4 offers nothing New to VC1, I think-the Devil is in the Detail! I haven't seen everything after 3 Hours, of course, but that the Supporting characters now appear in Storyparts and that now all Classes and not just those defending with Guns in the Opponent phase definitely upgrade the Game for me! Just strategically smart placing the new Grenadier class left me with a successful Impression. For me, the MINUS Point is that the WASD Buttons don't work in Book Mode-that is, you have to do everything via Mouse. Even in The Character area, a quick switch to the next Character is not possible and you have to go back awkwardly and select the next Character. That was better at VC1. But maybe it will still be patched.