Seriously, though, I love how everything’s getting localized these days! It’s great! We’ve missed significant chunks of certain series from the dark ages before localization was somewhat more spotty and it’s kind of a shame. Case in point: you may have played Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles 2, but you probably missed the third game since it never left Japan. Well, now you might find some forgiveness in your heart – Valkyria Chronicles 4 has hit the West and it’s pretty decent.
When the Second Europan War ends up at his doorstep, Claude Wallace finds himself running his own squad as his nation attempts a desperate counterattack. Operation Northern Cross is a last-ditch effort to end the war by capturing the enemy’s capital directly. It’s a long shot, but it’s the last chance Claude and his friends have, so we follow Squad E as they march north and try to claim victory. The story in Valkyria Chronicles 4 is fantastic and serves as the centerpiece of the experience; you’ll grow to love the various characters as they endure the trials and tribulations of war. There’s even an adorable dog!
As for gameplay, if you’ve played previous Valkyria titles you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect here. It’s essentially a unique take on a strategy-RPG. You’ve got a set of Command Points that can be spent as you like on each turn, with one CP allowing you to move and fire with a unit once. You can spread around your CP in whatever manner you’d prefer, including repeatedly activating the same unit, though doing so will fatigue that unit and reduce their movement range. You’ll want to be careful with your soldiers, as well, since permanent death is a thing in Valkyria Chronicles and you’d hate to lose someone.
Characters fall into several classes, each of which have their own specialties, and you’d do well to pay particular attention to your Lancers and Grenadiers. These guys carry explosive weaponry, making them absolutely vital for dealing with armor. Tanks are some of the heaviest hitters you’ll encounter – as you’ll realize when you’re commanding Claude’s – and an effective way of dealing with them is key. Your other classes, including Snipers, Shocktroopers and Scouts, are often focused on keeping your Lancers and Grenadiers safe from enemy infantry while they stop tanks from rolling right over your squad.
It’s an interesting take on tactical combat and each scenario feels unique. Victory will allow you to upgrade your units via menus much the same way as you have in previous titles; this is a more simple setup than something like Disgaea, but it’s fine for providing some sense of progression.
As for how the game looks, well, you’ve seen these titles before; they’re basically the height of cel-shaded anime styling in video games. That means it’s gorgeous, in other words. Likewise, the music, sound effects and voice acting are generally top notch. I’m not the biggest fan of tactical RPGs myself outside of something like the Disgaea series, but I still found Valkyria Chronicles 4 worth playing just to check out how gorgeous it is. I played this one on the Switch, by the way, and unlike certain other games it ran pretty well and still looked great.
This is a fairly long-running series at this point, so it’s likely you already know whether or not you’ll enjoy it. If you haven’t already tried or experienced one of these before, you might be better off checking out the excellent Steam remaster of the original Valkyria Chronicles. If you’re a die-hard fan of the series, though, you pretty much can’t go wrong with Valkyria Chronicles 4.