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Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Sega for the PlayStation 3. The game was released in 2008.

The game is set in Europa, loosely based on Europe during the early years of World War II. Because of its abundance of Ragnite ore, which takes the place of petroleum in the game setting, the neutral nation of Gallia comes under attack from the East Europan Imperial Alliance, which is itself engaged in a war with the Atlantic Federation. Players take control of a unit of the Gallian Militia, dedicated to repelling the invasion. The game's visuals, which use Sega's CANVAS graphics engine, resemble a watercolor painting in motion.

Valkyria Chronicles was critically acclaimed and earned numerous awards from several notable video game publications. The success of the game spawned a media franchise, including several manga titles and an anime series. Two sequels were released for PlayStation Portable: Valkyria Chronicles II, and Valkyria Chronicles III.

Valkyria Chronicles Plot

In 1935 C.E., the continent of Europa is dominated by two superpowers: The autocratic East Europan Imperial Alliance in the east and a commonwealth of loosely allied democracies known as the Atlantic Federation in the west. The economies of both powers depend on a precious multipurpose mineral called Ragnite. Its growing scarcity results in the Empire declaring war on the Federation, sparking the Second Europan War. The Empire uses its military superiority to quickly put the Federation on the defensive. Emboldened by their progress and momentum, the Empire decides to invade the neutral Principality of Gallia to seize its rich Ragnite deposits.

When Imperial forces launch an attack on the Gallian border town of Bruhl, Welkin Gunther, son of the country's hero General Belgen Gunther, is forced to fight for his life alongside the town watch captain, Alicia Melchiott. Together with Welkin's adopted sister Isara and using Belgen's prototype tank from the first war, the Edelweiss,(German E-75 Heavy tank from WWII) they escape to the capital city of Randgriz and join the Gallian militia. Welkin is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and assumes command of the newly formed Squad 7, with Alicia acting as his non-commissioned officer. Members of the squad initially question Welkin's qualifications due to a lack of combat experience. He quickly gains their trust and loyalty, however, with his brilliant tactics. Welkin and Alicia soon become romantically engaged.

After Squad 7 wages a successful campaign against Imperial forces, the crown prince Maximilian deploys one of his commanders, Selvaria Bles, a rare descendant of the Valkyrians who are believed to have saved the ancient world from the Darcsen race. Using innate magic powers and equipped with a legendary Ragnite lance and shield, Selvaria destroys the Gallian army. Alicia is shot by Welkin's archeologist colleague Faldio Landzaat to awaken her own latent Valkyrian powers. Alicia is able to drive Selvaria back, allowing the Gallians to advance to the border. At the cost of her own life, Selvaria uses the "final flame" after the capture of the Ghirlandaio fortress, killing the entire Gallian military, leaving only the militia, such as Squad 7, remaining.

In an attempt to create his own empire, Maximilian uses a "land dreadnought", the Marmota, to break through Gallia's defenses and steal a giant Valkyrian lance from inside Randgriz Castle. The princess reveals herself to be Darcsen - the Valkyrians rewrote history to make themselves into heroes, while an allied Darcsen tribe gained Randgriz as the spoils. With Alicia's help, Squad 7 is able to board the Marmota and send Maximilian to his demise, destroying the dreadnought and ending the war between the two factions. Alicia and Welkin return to Bruhl, where they marry and raise a child together.

Valkyria Chronicles Gameplay

Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical role-playing game in which the player uses a unique turn-based battle system called BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zones). During their turn the player views an overhead map in Command Mode, but zooms in to control each individual unit on the battlefield in Action Mode. Much like the Growlanser series, movement and other actions are handled in real time during Action Mode, though limited in movement by an AP gauge that varies for each type of character. During Target Mode, the player is in direct control of characters' aim while the action freezes, allowing for head shots and other maneuvers. Taking command of individual units during the player's phase costs Command Points, which can be used dynamically to grant movement to many different units or the same unit consecutively with diminishing AP, depending on what the player wants to accomplish. By using their troops the player must fulfill various conditions depending on the mission in order to achieve victory, most often the capture of a major enemy encampment. Upon completing missions, the player is awarded money and experience with which to upgrade their materiel and character classes, respectively, and the game's story is advanced. Missions can be failed if the player's forces are wholly incapacitated or killed, the squad's main battle tank is destroyed, or the player's main base camp is captured by the enemy.

Reception
Valkyria Chronicles has been critically acclaimed by numerous sources, including writers for IGN, RPGland, RPGFan, G4TV's X-Play, Gametrailers, and Gamespot. Multiple publications were impressed with the title's gameplay design, noting that it gave players a new sense of tactical freedom absent in other games of the same genre via the removal of certain staples such as a grid-based map. The active nature of combat generated positive feelings towards a more involved strategy and produced, according to Game Revolution's Chris Hudak, "nail-gnawingly tense" situations that kept the player emotionally involved in the game. Both the game's story and the way in which it was presented were cited as strong points. Longevity was also attributed to the game, with James Quentin Clark of RPGFan noting that, "the game gets better the more you play it." While pleased overall, multiple reviewers issued complaints about the sometimes questionable activity conducted by the enemy forces' artificial intelligence. Others stated that the third-person camera interfered with the ability to shoot effectively in certain situations.

Despite having garnered positive press, sales of the game have been mixed. While it sold 77,000 copies in its first week of release in Japan, it only sold 33,000 copies in the United States during November 2008. Valkyria Chronicles has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. It was the 93rd best-selling game in Japan in 2008, selling 141,589 copies. Despite weak initial North American sales, Valkyria Chronicles recovered with sales sharply increasing in April 2009 following a price cut and the simultaneous release of an anime based on the game. Approximately a year after the game's initial release, both producer Ryutaro Nonaka and gamers surveyed by Famitsu stated interest in a sequel to the game.


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