When Valkyria Chronicles 2 was announced a lot of fans reacted negatively to the school-based theme, saying it was taking one of the best aspects of the first game - it’s incredibly fun setting and atmosphere - and drowning it in anime cliché.
Given what we experienced it's definitely way too early for us to pass judgement on Valkyria Chronicles 2's storyline, setting, characters and plot, but it's definitely not too early for us to talk about the sequel's gameplay and graphics.
The graphics in the title are stunningly impressive for a portable console, maintaining the same watercolour artwork effect that the PS3 version was praised so much for. All the cute little effects from the PS3 version - cartoon "Rat-tat-tat" appearing before you as you fire a machine gun, for example - are all there.
In terms of its look, Valkyria Chronicles 2 is no less charming than its predecessor and has done a remarkable job of squeezing the same stuff onto a smaller system.
One change to aid this is the battlefield itself. Rather than being one gigantic map, the battle we fought was split into several smaller map areas, presumably to allow the PSP to easier load and stream the levels. This sounds like a terrible change, but in the 15 minute demo it didn't appear too intrusive and judging by how good the game looks it's a necessary evil.
Travel between map areas is handled by capturing and controlling bases at the edge of each smaller map - once you own it, you can transfer troops from one map area to another in the command mode. It's all very simple and doesn't make the game any more complex or difficult than it already was - and personally I can see that separation of resources helping in some areas, allowing you to fight battles on multiple fronts more effectively.
The demo was fairly short in length, only lasting around 15 minutes as mentioned earlier - and it could probably be beaten much quicker. This could be an indication that the game will take on shorter missions in order to make it a more portable title for a portable system - or it could be a deliberately short demo to keep the lines short at TGS.
We'll be sure to investigate this next time we go hands-on with the game. Stick with us on RPGSite for all the latest!