It's almost upon us. After waiting 8 years, fans like myself in the west will finally be able to get their hands on a proper entry in the Valkyria series with Valkyria Chronicles 4.
Sure, Sega has still not told us exactly when the title will be making landfall on our shores, but the excitement is continuously building for people like me who absolutely adore what this franchise offers. I even replayed Valkyria Chronicles 3 last year for the site to get myself ready.
Fortunately, I was able to whet my appetite a bit by going hands-on with VC4 at Sega's booth where they premiered a new playable demo for the title for both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions (it is also coming to Xbox One and PC). I tried out the PS4 version myself, and boy, does it look bright and gorgeous on the big screen.
For those unfamiliar, Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the latest in the tactical RPG series with a story that takes place around the same time as the original Valkyria Chronicles, but on different fronts of the war.
The demo is set at the very beginning of the journey during Operation Northern Cross where the tide of battle is very much against the favor of the allied soldiers. Instead of attempting to endure these harsh conditions, a Federation squad is looking to end things early by making their way right into the heart of the Empire's capital.
While Valkyria Chronicles 4 won't marvel the masses like the original one did, it's still a beautiful showcase for Sega's proprietary CANVAS engine. Every scene is captured incredibly well with a nice focus on dramatic shots to keep players engaged with the storytelling - at least on the PlayStation 4.
I did get an opportunity to try out the Nintendo Switch version and noticed the quality dropping by a small degree, but I figure those are the types of sacrifices worth making to take this type of experience on the go.
This is still under development, however, so I imagine there will be a bump in quality even over the original Japanese release when the finished product eventually launches.
It has been clear since the very beginning that the developers behind Valkyria Chronicles 4 set out to make a game that closely mirrors the original as they attempt to brush away any acknowledgement of Valkyria Revolution’s many failings.
Much like the initial series entry, VC4 features many of the same mechanics. You’ll be picking from a large group of soldiers whom all come with their own weapons, personality quirks, special abilities, and potentials. Each class has its own AP bar that determines how far you can travel around the battlefield, and a set number of Control Points controlling how many actions you can take before the enemy’s turn.
With the promise of more varied weather conditions playing a larger role this go-around, one’s aptitude for strategy and quick-thinking will decide whether or not they are successful in combat.
Overall, however, if you’ve played Valkyria Chronicles 1 or the recently-released Valkyria Chronicles HD remaster, you already know exactly how this game will play. There’s also a new class called the Grenadier that allows you to launch mortars over the top of enemy encampments and bunkers to flush out their numbers. It was a little insane seeing a grenade drop right on the head of someone cowering behind a castle wall, but that’s war in a nutshell.
One can only hope the developers continue to optimize Valkyria Chronicles 4 for all of the different platforms the game will eventually release on. We’ll see how it plays in the end, but either way, I’m beyond thrilled that Valkyria Chronicles is finally back in a big way!