Finally finished Valkyria Chronicles last Saturday, clocking in at around 25 hours. Quick Review:
- Beautiful, beautiful game, even on my SD TV; it's like watching a flowing watercolor painting
- When you start the game, all the dialogue/cutscenes seems a bit draggy but eventually you get used to the pacing and then you don't mind because the battles are really engaging. Speaking of battles;
- I'm not sure if it would be good for beginners to tactical games. Unlike the FFT series and similar games, most battles require a decent strategy and grasp of tactics to complete. I kept getting Game Overs at the start because I was playing it like an FFT clone. It actually reminds me more of X-Com: UFO Defense's squad-based tactics. You need to move, shoot, then run for cover. Always make sure your troops aren't open to enemy fire and your tank's weak spot isn't exposed. You pretty much always need to find a way to sneak around the enemy troops as your weaker troops will not often survive rushing headlong into enemy fire. Each class (Scout, Shocktrooper, Lancer, Engineer, Sniper) has a definite role to play and you'll need to know when to use each type of unit. You also need to consider finishing battles as quickly as possible to get higher scores and bonus experience/money. Early battles take around 30 mins to complete; later battles in the neighborhood of 1.5-2 hours. Don't worry, you can save in-battle. (Yes, I sometimes reload when my sniper misses a clear headshot!) It's definitely top-notch tactical gameplay that's innovative compared to other games tagged as SRPGs.
- There's some replay value here also; The New Game Plus mode gives you a chance to try to get higher scores in each battle, plus there are optional Skirmish battles which I will probably try to beat at some point (I finished the game with minimal grinding, so I only played one Skirmish Battle). I wish it had trophies though =/
- Overall, a highly recommended game. Unfortunately it didn't sell very well despite the awesome reviews; the RPG audience is probably very small on the PS3 due to the lack of quality RPG titles for the console, but hopefully Sega decides to release a sequel sometime despite the low sales figures.