Valkyria Chronicles 2: portable squad-based tactical gaming at its finest!

by wfgodbold

I’ve only played through about 20% of the game so far, and I’m enjoying it immensely; when Valkyria Chronicles 2 was first announced, I was thrilled.

Then SEGA announced it would be on the PSP instead of the PS3, and I was disappointed. I was further disappointed when they revealed that the setting would be a military academy, and the focus would be on a class attending said academy.

The gameplay, though, is just as good as the original’s. In each mission, you command a squad of up to 6 characters (including a tank or armored personell carrier) as they fight against fellow students (in training missions and inter-class rivalry matches) and against the Gallian Revolutionary Army that has split the country into three parts in its bid to overthrow Cordelia.

The plot so far hasn’t been that impressive; it mostly serves as a skeleton on which to hang the meat of the game’s real draw: the missions. I’ve completed more than forty, which means I only have another 160+ missions to go before I’ve finally finished the game. By that time, my copy of the third game will have hopefully arrived on the slow boat from Japan.

While for the most part I think the game is great, there are a couple things that bother me.

The first is the small squad size; in the first game, you could have much larger groups of soldiers, and the battlefields themselves were larger. In Valkyria Chronicles 2, you’re limited to a total of six squad members, and can only have five in the same sub-area of the map. I’m sure this was done because of the difference in hardware capabilities, but it’s still annoying to have to transition from one sub-area to another; I preferred the size of the levels in the PS3 game.

The second is the non-mission gameplay; I don’t have a problem with selecting destinations at the academy from the map, but the portraits used to show characters talking are very limited. I think each character has a handful. The voice acting is also greatly reduced from the first game; aside from story related scenes (and battle voices), not much else is voiced.

Finally, I’m annoyed at having to back out the mission select screen to adjust the equipment on my tank (unless there’s some way to adjust it from that menu that I haven’t found). The tank can be equipped with a lantern (for night missions) or a heater (for snow missions), but you only see what the local conditions are after you’ve entered the briefing proper; to equip your tank for the conditions on the ground, you have to back out, change the equipment, and then re-enter the briefing.

The difficulty is fairly consistent, though some of the story missions are harder than they ought to be for their place in the game.

Those problems aren’t enough to detract (too much) from the experience, though. If you liked the first game, this is a credible sequel. If you never played the first game, then it might take a few battles to get used to the system, but even then you should be enjoying yourself before too long.

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