Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 31.10.2018

Review for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on Nintendo Switch

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's that age-old saying, isn't it? Some weird bug has been going around certain high-profile role-playing game creators' offices the past few years, whereby they feel the only way a turn-based or strategy game can succeed in the modern age is to turn it into some half-arsed action RPG that doesn't even do action RPG right. It happened with Final Fantasy XV, and in the case of this series, it happened with Valkyria Revolution. While the former still paid off for Square Enix in terms of sales, SEGA's gamble was a total misfire, destroying everything that made the Valkyria games so great. Good news, then: it's straight back to basics with Valkyria Chronicles 4 (reviewed on PC here).

The middle two games were largely overlooked, mainly because they were resigned to release on PSP, but the third entry also stayed within Japan's borders, meaning most people's sole experience with this series has been with the first Valkyria Chronicles, which has gratefully received ports to current systems in recent times.

SEGA has played it pretty safe with Valkyria Chronicles 4 following the messy Revolution. Rather than incorporating much from the PSP titles, this stays very true to the original game in nearly every way. That's no bad thing, though. Instead of tinkering with too much and risking a failure, VC4 only needs to take the solid formula of the first game, add a few bits and pieces here and there, and wrap a new story and characters around it all. Even the story itself, though, is pretty similar, with a squad of close-knit young soldiers, each with distinct anime-like personalities, fighting back the Imperial Empire in an attempt to protect their home of Gallia.

Screenshot for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on Nintendo Switch

VC1 fans might feel a little aggrieved that the narrative doesn't offer too much fresh here, given that the gameplay is more or less a carbon copy, so it was the plot that had the chance to mix it up a bit. However, being a prequel, there was only so much that could be done without going way off the mark. The pacing does go up and down, too, with some missions coming rather quickly after the previous, whereas others can take quite some time to pop up following numerous cut-scenes. The best part of the game is in the battles, so the long waits can prove tiresome when you just want to get stuck into the missions.

Battles, as mentioned, don't change much from before, with units selected and placed onto an overhead map, before taking turns to guide each one through the field in a real-time third-person view. Just about every stage presents new challenges to overcome, throwing different hazards or distractions into the fray, such as reduced vision in fog, attempting to hold out whilst keeping enemy camps claimed, or splitting parties up midway through missions.

Screenshot for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on Nintendo Switch

New objectives can crop up once certain conditions are met, changing the goal and keeping players on their toes. It is still possible to resort to cheap tactics, buffing up certain units with defense and evasion, for example, and having them go on a suicide mission, but depending on the mission type and changes in objectives, this may not always prove as fruitful as it did in the past.

The mish-mash of strategy and real-time gameplay is handled as well as before, with different types of units and their strengths and weaknesses working together to provide a variety of options to deal with each situation. Of course, some trial and error is necessary, as you cannot always predict what types of enemy will be on the map or appear over time, but there are opportunities to evacuate and deploy units mid-battle to account for developing situations.

Screenshot for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on Nintendo Switch

The grenadier is a new unit type for Valkyria Chronicles 4, which is always fun to use to blow up targets from afar, and the APC is a new vehicle that can carry soldiers further into the battlefield safely and efficiently, which makes traversing a lot easier. There is even a new "follow the leader" command, where mini groups can be created mid-battle, with soldiers following a lead unit, co-operating in attacks automatically for extra convenience. These are minor additions to the gameplay that just enhance the experience that little bit more.

Sadly, achieving A ranks consists, again, of finishing a map in a set number of turns, which, while still meaning some tactical thought process is required depending on the situation and enemies on the field, does tend to result in buffing allies and storming head first into the crossfire towards the goal. That said, VC4 isn't a particularly strenuous strategy RPG, and it is possible to replay missions for more EXP, as well as to try again for those pesky A ranks. This means no need for a New Game+ mode, since getting the best scores can now be done in one sitting.

Screenshot for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

It is more of the same for Valkyria Chronicles 4 - and that's no bad thing. Going back to what SEGA did best with this series following the awful Revolution was really all that was necessary, even if it might feel too familiar if coming off of playing the first game recently. Comic book visuals, a story based on World War II, appealing anime-like characters, a mix of overhead and third-person strategic and real-time gameplay - there are so many crazy ideas melded together, and yet it all comes off so well. There still isn't a series much like it.

Developer

SEGA

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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