Capsule Review: Valkyria Chronicles

I really, really want to like this game. (So much so that I bought it three times!) It’s got a distinctive and gorgeous watercolor art style, likeable characters in an anime alternate universe retelling of World War II, and a really cool hybrid of action RPG and turn-based tactical RPG. The first few hours are a blast, with missions that put you in complicated but understandable situations and demand you use your tools to triumph.

And then the game slaps you with a mission that makes a bunch of problematic changes all at once - it changes all the rules, with enemy units that follow scripted behavior but can’t be dealt with using any of the strategies you’ve learned. Instead, you basically just have to play the mission to see what happens and understand how the game wants you to respond, and then probably play it again because the enemy is also much stronger than before and moves on a very aggressive schedule so you likely lost some people the first time. It’s not a mission you can explore and experiment with - it’s one that just happens to you. It sucks all the fun out of the game, and both of my attempts to play through the game lost steam here - especially because I’ve heard the gimmicky missions keep coming afterward.

There’s so much else that I do like about this game, I still like to think I’m going to eventually come back to it and power through. But the game I want to play is the one that this presents in its first couple of hours, and that it might never be again.

I Stopped Playing When: The missions became gimmicky and unfun. Some time later I picked the game up again, enjoyed the beginning, and again quit when the missions became gimmicky and unfun.

Docprof's Rating:

Two Stars: Meh. The game has some merit - it probably held my attention for at least an hour or I came back to it for more than one play session. But there wasn't enough draw for me to stick with it for the long haul.

You can get it or learn more here.