Valkyria Chronicles II Review (PSP)

Game Review: Valkyria Chronicles II
Release: August 31st, 2010
Genre: Tactical role-playing game
Developer: Sega
Available Platforms: PlayStation Portable
Players: single player, multiplayer
Approximate Gameplay Time: 50+ hours (depends on how you game)
MSRP: $39.95
ESRB Rating: Teen

In the 1930’s EC, Europa was split between the Empire and the Federation, the two dominant military powers that divide the continent. The two powers struggled for ultimate supremacy, inevitably starting the Second Europan War (E.W.II) involving all of Europa.

In 1935, the Empire’s army invaded Gallia with lightning speed under Commander Maximilian’s leadership. Gallia suffered a great loss, but their troops miraculously defended their capital Randgriz from the Imperial Army and made Truce with the Empire to bring relief to its homeland.

The Europan War still continues in 1937. Although Gallia manages to slowly recover during this time, an internal conflict brought by the Rebel Army is quickly spreading from the south, and their mission is to overthrow the Archduchess of Gallia.

With fewer men and women serving in their national army, Gallia must rely primarily on town volunteers and undergrad cadets of the Lanseal Royal Military Academy to deal with the Rebels.

Avan Hardins is one of the many freshman joining the military academy this year, and his entire class must be ready to deploy to fight the rebel forces when the bells of Lanseal toll. (Taken directly from inner booklet.)

I have to say I was a bit worried at first about this game because I’d heard a few negative reviews. I am beginning to wonder if those reviews were based on the fact that it’s a PSP game, and not PS3, as the “graphics” seem to be the major complaint. I was surprised when I realized they were wrong.

In Valkyria Chronicles II, you play as Avan Hardings, a young boy that spends his time in his hometown, occasionally defending it from enemies. A stranger appears in town and says he is a teacher at Lanseal Academy. He wanted to let Avan know that his brother had died, though he could not tell him why or how. Avan’s brother meant the world to him, so not knowing what happened drove him crazy. Because the information on his brother was classified, Avan decided to apply to Lanseal Academy. Upon getting in, Avan was placed in charge of Class G, the worst class in the academy. Now they have to battle and complete missions to prove that their class is really worth something.

(Side note: This would make a great game for someone wanting to begin shooters. The enemy fire stops when you’re aiming, and the targets don’t move. Highly recommended if you’re having trouble with shooters.)

Missions start out with you picking the team members you want to go into battle. You have to choose the right Soldier Classes for your mission, and also choose if you would like to take a vehicle.

There are 5 Soldier Classes, the Lancer being my favorite. The Lancer carries a large spear-like cannon that does a great job on both enemy soldiers and their tanks. The other 4 classes are Scout (it includes Sniper, so don’t worry), Shocktrooper, Engineer, and Armored Tech. Each of them are perfect for different situations, so spend your first few missions getting a feel for what they each do and how they work.

As far as your vehicle, you can choose either a armored vehicle or tank. As you go further into the game you get to modify your vehicle, one backpack add on allows you to fix bridges and place ladders. You have to be careful when you choose your add on’s though as the vehicle can only hold so much weight.

Once you’ve chosen the group you want to use, read over your objectives. Pay attention to how many rounds you get to move before you lose, or what you have to accomplish in order to win. Then you deploy.

Once on the battlefield, you pick which character you want to use, then move. Your character only has so much movement allowed per turn, but you’ll quickly get used to how to use it to its full potential. You only get one shot per turn but you can use it before or after you move, which I found extremely helpful. Once you’ve moved what you can, the enemy goes.

For those of you worried if it stands up to the first game, I can tell you that in a few ways yes, and a few ways no. As I mentioned at the beginning, a lot of the complaints were about the graphics. Obviously, being on the PSP, they aren’t going to be near as good as they were on the PS3, but that is to be expected. As far as PSP graphics are concerned, they’re standard. I was a bit unhappy about the minimal movie scenes there were, but no one gets everything they want.

The thing that really made me laugh though was the interaction of the picture boxes (see example of picture boxes in next picture). When people were talking they came up on the screen in picture boxes and interacted with each other. If one person got mad at another, their box would “punch” the other box.

Voice acting was terrible. The text on screen was never what they would say out loud. The most you would get is a “Hahaha!” or “I’ll do it!” Each character had their own little phrases. After a while I just shut the sound off, it’s not needed for play and I could hang out in the same room as my husband while the TV was on.

What’s better than the first game? First, you can switch your trade skills. If you would rather have Avan as a Lancer, you can change him, then change him to an Engineer. Completely up to you. The battle system is the same as before with some improvements. You no longer have to wait for back up, but neither do the enemies. Also, to keep people from cheating, there is no saving during battles anymore.

In the end, I thought it was actually a great game. If you’re one that loves strategy, this game is perfect for you.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,