Valkyria Chronicles 4 (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 17.10.2018

Review for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on PC

Valkyria Chronicles 4 perhaps could be described as a mix of X-COM with heavy anime aesthetics set in a World War II setting. The formula sounds unique and to a large extent it is as the game swings between turn-based strategy and real-time shooter. The games take place in the European theatre of an alternative universe engaged in a world war with a little bit of magical focus on Valkyries that can swing the tide of battle. Despite the '4' in the title, this manages to stay fresh, while keeping to the roots of the series, unlike the badly received Valkyria Revolution.

To understand where Valkyria Chronicles 4 fits in the franchise, it is best to first start with a quick summary of the previous games. The first was released on PS3 and was largely a cult hit; the story was nothing crazy but the gameplay of turn-based selection of soldiers that then turns into a real-time third-person shooter was unique and earned many loyal fans.

Despite the cult status, its popularity was not that high, and the second entry was confined to the PSP. The story here was non-existent, but some of the characters were memorable. The best part was the class system where each of the main classes had up to four final classes they could turn into; it made grinding fun, trying to unlock them and build a perfect squad.

Screenshot for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on PC

The third outing did not even make it over to the West. Playing with translations was the only option and the game was polarising in itself. The story and characters were largely well liked, but the battle system was taken to a logical extreme where it expected the players to cheese as much as possible and the levels were built around being difficult and stifling this progress. As a result, arguably the best story actually was not that fun to play at all, due to the hard maps and absolutely horrendous pacing.

The fourth game plays most like the first; the difficulty isn't too high, there are no different sub classes, heavy focus on story, and so on. Like all the others, it follows a story-battle-story pattern of having the player sit through cut-scenes that describe the battles the characters are entering. It is also during these story segments that gamers can upgrade their characters with new guns or level them up.

The battles play out in both a strategic and tactical fashion, and true to the series' roots, it is unique and fun. The battle is a top-down view of a battlefield, showing both the players units and enemy positions, and from here they pick from a limited number of turns to give to a unit. The game now enters a real-time third-person shooter type affair where the character is the only one being controlled (on your side) as they rush through the enemy's fire. The turn ends upon taking an attack and returns to the overhead view of the battle.

Screenshot for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on PC

There is a lot going on here, and among them are different classes to use to try to win the map. There are the scouts, who can run very far, but not that good at combat. The shock-troopers are the toughest units, taking a lot of damage and dishing out a lot with machineguns. There are anti-tank units, healer type units, snipers, and now a new class called 'grenadiers,' which operate as AoE- type classes. They all feel different enough and have been balanced (mostly by giving the other classes more AP) so that merely using scouts exclusively is no longer as viable.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 changes things up in combat. Whereas the third entry was simply as hard as possible to combat the cheese players would often resort to, this one on some level embraces that some players will use cheap tactics and instead sets out to have a good experience for all. From easier objectives to get the best ranking, to changing battles, it is clear that the developer went in a different direction from the third title, much to its credit. Nearly every map has the player heading out to some objective, only to have it change on the fly - things like taking out a new unit, or suddenly finding yourself trapped. This is a great way to avoid the 'scout rush,' which was popular in the earlier games, and helps keep other classes viable.

Screenshot for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on PC

Story-wise, it manages to be more engaging than previous ones. It certainly never reaches any highly notable levels, but the character interaction is very much improved. Some of the characters, like the foul-mouthed Raz, are going to be polarising, but it is very refreshing to have characters act more like the way folk might actually act in a war zone, in this case swearing and being crude.

That being said, there has been some controversy so far with the attractive female characters. Yes, there is an undertone of sexualisation of some of the characters - the sniper girl comes to mind, with an odd focus on her rather large butt, and her 'cat ears' hat - but it is really nothing abnormal for an anime-aesthetics release. This should not come as a surprise to any fan of the genre and, honestly, it is not that big of a deal.

There are certainly some issues that still remain, though. Pacing is one, with some of the story segments easily taking over an hour before another battle happens. The lack of sub classes, class changing or equippable skills decreases the desire to grind, and the replayability is not as high as the second game. Even with these flaws, however, a single play-through is highly recommended for series fans, and anyone interested in the game will have a good entry point here, as well.

Screenshot for Valkyria Chronicles 4 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

With few major changes from the core formula, fans of the series will feel right at home with Valkyria Chronicles 4. The game changes enough for the better and offers some degree of fresh air to the experience even after four entries. Any flaws that were present in previous titles still exist to some extent, holding it back from true greatness, but the general formula is more than solid enough and stays fresh despite the '4' in the title.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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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