Let’s face it; gaming is an expensive hobby. With new console games starting at $59.99 a piece, not to mention the rapid pace in which games are being released. It’s not uncommon for us loving fans to go broke simply trying to keep up with the industry. Sometimes, we miss a few gems. Sacrifices so we can afford to play those titles we have been waiting months, even years for. That’s where cheap games come into play. Can’t afford a new game, but dying for a new experience? Well, there’s nothing like diving into the past and picking up some titles that you may have missed, or might have never even heard of. So, for the first ever edition of $20 or less, I bring you Valkyria Chronicles!
By Sega of America, Inc. | Rated: Teen | Platform: Playstation 3
Valkyria Chronicles takes place in Europa, a land based on Europe in 1935, where the neutral nation of Gallia has come under attack by the East Europan Imperial Alliance. The game focuses on Squad 7, a Militia unit run by Welkin, the main protagonist of the game. The game takes aesthetic influence from World War I, while basing the war in some elements off of World War II. The game combines elements from the Role-playing genre, and tactics game-play, creating it’s own unique Tactical-Roleplaying engine called BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zones). Boasting a strong story, and amazing game-play, the only downside to this title is its limited to only one system; a real bummer for Xbox 360, or PC players.
Two major powers control the Europan continent. They are the East Europan Imperial Alliance and Atlantic Federation. Both nations heavily rely on a mineral source called Ragnite, a multipurpose ore that acts as a power source for all modern machinery. With the ore growing scarce, the Empire declares war on the Federation sparking the Second Europan War. After the invasion by the East Europan Imperial Alliance into Gallia; Welken is drawn into a conflict defending the town of Bruhl from Imperial soldiers alongside the town watch captain Alicia, and his sister Alicia. With the use of their father’s prototype tank, the Edelweiss, they manage to escape the Empire and join the Federation Militia. From there you control Squad 7, a unit that you personally assemble from several potential recruits. The story is probably the main driving point of this game, as it plays as if you were actively controlling an Anime. Characters you use, as long as they are not the main protagonist, can permanently die in battle; which, if you’ve grown attached to them really sucks.
The BLiTZ combat system creates a unique experience that really sets Valkyria Chronicles apart from all other tactical games. During the player’s turn, you view an overhead map of the battlefield, from which you can then zoom in to specific units; taking up a third person perspective. You move the character in live action time, with enemy units firing at you if you step into their line-of-site. During this Action Mode when the player wishes to attack, the game will freeze allowing you to aim at specific locations on your enemy. Moving, and attacking with a unit costs a command point. The enemy has command points as well, which can be lessened by taking out key units. The same, however, goes for your units! There are Five basic ground units: Scouts, snipers, Lancers (anti-tank weapons), Assault (Shocktroopers), and Engineers. On top of this there is also the tank that you control, which is quite a beast and the muscle behind your army. Gameplay is so unique, and carries all the positive aspects of Tactical, and Role-playing games while limiting their negative attributes. It really makes the game fun to play, and even adds a bit of replay value as you can always change up your combat unit.
This is highly opinionated, but I find the graphics to be absolutely amazing. The game uses a graphics engine called CANVAS, as you can guess the appearance is that of a canvas painting. Still, the game maintains it’s ‘anime’ theme, and the art really fits for the 1930’s feeling. The style of art even provides a unique atmosphere by using a bright color palette, instead of the grimy dark feeling most war games provide. It also adds several elements of fantasy to draw in gamers who are not all that into gritty-realism. Although the graphics could be called simplistic, they truly fit perfectly with this title.
In the end, this is a game any Playstation 3 owner should own, if not only because it is under $20. It’s a fun and challenging game that lets you control an entire militia unit right down to who you recruit. Also, every recruit has their own unique personality reflected in their traits, and dialogue. Certain characters will do better on specif terrain, or when in the presence of the opposite sex, or even the same sex. The characters are a really big selling point of this title, I can’t emphasize that enough! Furthermore; this isn’t just a fun game to play it’s a fun game to watch! I could honestly watch a friend play this for hours and not be bored. Valkyria Chronicles, for its price, is worth picking up. Hell, I’d even spend a bit more on this game.
I’ll have another great cheap buy coming up soon, so stay tuned guys!