Review – Valkyria Chronicles II
The Scoop: The war between Gallia and the Empire may be over, but now the military academy students are called into service as civil war breaks out within their country.
The Setup: Valkyria Chronicles II is the sequel to the 2008 Playstation 3 hit title. Taking place just two years after the events of the first Valkyria Chronicles, you play as a brand new character, Avan Hardins. After learning about his brothers’ death, Avan joins the Royal Military Academy to find out exactly how he died. While there, he’s volunteered as his class chair and commander of the squad during battle. All is not well as civil war has broken out in the country of Gallia. Between classes, training, and battle exercises with other classes, the students also act as the main military force when in times of trouble due to the low militia forces after the last war—a.k.a. the first game.
Valkyria Chronicles II features a whole new cast of characters, in addition to Avan, but continues the story of the first game. While I highly recommend playing the first Valkyria Chronicles to appreciate the overall story, it’s not entirely necessary as it’s recapped in the beginning of the game.
What’s Hot: Valkyria Chronicles II carries over the same custom battle system, known as BLiTZ, from the first game with some new additions. The system is easy to learn and master as it switches between a turn-based strategy game and a third person shooter, all with an RPG element. A map will be laid out and icons will be present indicating to the player where your units (either soldiers or tanks) are, as well as any visible enemies currently on the map. Both sides are given a set of Command Points (CP) and they take turns moving their armies. Players can then choose which unit to control. Once selected, the game will switch to a third person perspective as players move the unit where they want to attack the enemy they want. Once a side has depleted their CP or has passed their turn, the control goes to the other player.
Units can consist of scouts, shocktroopers, engineers, lancers, or armored techs, and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, scouts can run farther but do not have a strong attack whereas shocktroopers carry machine guns but do not have great accuracy. By leveling each type of unit up you can also unlock an upgraded class, such as scouts either turning into advance scouts or snipers. Finding the best blend of units is up to you.
Like the first Valkyria Chronicles, each unit has their own potentials that will randomly activate while playing. Potentials can be anywhere from an extended vision to spot farther enemies, give out more damage, be more evasive, etc. Valkyria Chronicles II introduces the morale meter which helps potentials to activate more frequently, as well as gain better accuracy or movement speed to your units. Morale will go up the more units you eliminate or bases you capture, but will go down the more allies are defeated, which can negatively affect your team. Potentials are a little confusing to explain, but make sense when playing the game.
An addition to the BLiTZ system is a morale meter. Like the first game, each unit has his or her own potentials that can randomly activate while playing as said character. Potentials can be anywhere from an extended vision to spot farther enemies, give out more damage, be more evasive, etc. The morale meter also will help potentials to activate more frequently as well overall help the unit out either in accuracy, movement, etc. Morale will go up the more units you eliminate or bases you capture, but will go down the more allies are defeated, which can negatively affect your team.
What’s Not: The only nitpicky complaint that I have with Valkyria Chronicles II is the way units level up. In the first game, you could distribute experience anyway you wanted. Even if you didn’t have enough to level up a unit, you could still give them points towards the next level, almost like a down payment. If you need 50 points to level up your scout, and you only have 25, you can give the scout the 25 points for now, and wait for the remaining 25 points. In Valkyria Chronicles II, it’s all or nothing. If you need 50 points to level up your scout, and you only have 25, you have to wait until you get the full 50 points. In both cases, you still need the 50 points, however instead of making a series of down payments across multiple classes, you have to wait for the full amount. It’s not enough to deter from the game; it’s just a personal preference.
Final Verdict: Valkyria Chronicles II is a lot of fun to play. If you played the first game, you’ll love the sequel. If you haven’t played the first game, but love strategy games, consider picking this one up. The unique, addicting battle system, however, may make the title difficult to put down.Review - Valkyria Chronicles II,