Saturday, 22 March 2014

Valkyria Chronicles 3

When I'd heard that Valkyria Chronicles 3 was almost finished being fan translated I was stoked as all get out. I've never had a chance to play the first one, and the second felt like more of an anime high school drama than a war epic, so this promised to be something truly excellent. Thankfully it lived up to almost all of my expectations, and more than made up for the lukewarm entry into the series that was VC2.


Valkyria Chronicles 3 takes place during the same war as the first game in the series, though this time you're not following a celebrated group of soldiers, instead taking the role of the captain of a penal unit that takes on impossible missions in exchange for pardons. The tone is a bit darker than the previous games, with the story emphasizing the corruption on either side of the war and the lengths to which some people will go to do what in their minds is the right thing. This brings us to one of my two complaints on the game.

 As much as I liked the story and the setting I felt as if the game started to drag on after a while, with some of the plot points being needlessly stretched out, at least in my opinion. If the game had been maybe five chapters shorter it would have been damn near perfect. Up until the halfway point I had been doing all the missions, optional or otherwise, but at that point it all felt so filler-y I stopped and just rushed through the rest of the game. There's even a whole bunch of post-game stuff with even more story that I've yet to touch.


Having played Valkyria Chronicles 2, I had a good idea of what to expect from this before even picking it up. The player gets a certain number of moves per turn to maneuver squad members across the battlefield, putting them into cover and firing on enemies or capturing points. While you're moving you're constantly being shot at by the enemy, so you need to minimize time spent out in the open and be as quick as you can.

Now, here's where my second complaint about the (and really the series as a whole) comes in, because despite really enjoying the gameplay style, I always felt as if I was playing the game "wrong". I'll be the first guy to admit that I'm not the pro gamer I was when I was younger, I prefer to take my time in games, play defensively and deliberately. Unfortunately, you get punished for doing just that in the VC series.

See, the ranking you get at the end of each mission (and by extension how much money you get because it's directly tied to your rank) is based on how many turns it took you to complete it in. What this means is that if you don't rush rush rush through every mission, you get ranked very low, and thus end up starved for war funds. It's frustrating, and it honestly doesn't make sense for soldiers to be dashing right past lines of enemy soldiers, tanks and turrets as fast as they can instead of slowly advancing and taking advantage of cover. Maybe it's just me, but I just found it hard to feel immersed because of this.


Those two issues aside, I had fun with Valkyria Chronicles 3 and am thankful for the team who fan translated it for going to the trouble. If you liked either of the other games and are hungry for more, there's honestly no reason not to try this out now, and even if you're new to the series the game is isolated enough from the overarching plot of the first game even though they take place parallel to each other that you can easily understand what's going on.

You can pick up the translation patch here:

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