So… music is good; in some games the music feels repetitive and distracting -- none of that with Valkyria Chronicles. I'd buy the soundtrack.
I like the art (sort of like animated water colours), it has interesting characters and the story is great: within the backdrop of war there is love and loss, friendship and betrayal.
What happens during missions is that game play is turn-based. You complete all your moves within a turn and then the computer goes next. Where the action comes in is when you pick one of your soldiers/tanks to move -- the game switches to a third person view of the selected unit and you move and shoot in real-time action-mode.
The game lets you replay particular skirmishes for XP and money, which is great because you’ll need to level up your soldiers and fund R&D of weapons and tank parts, but I’d really like to be able to replay all of the battles.
Battle scenarios are well done, and not always straight forward. Mission goals can change unexpectedly.
In one particular battle mid-way through a powerful, legendary being showed up on the enemy’s side – the despair as critical soldiers were quickly and spectacularly put out of action, and the urgency to adapt and complete the mission before all my troops were decimated, was quite real.
Some random thoughts:
- Now that I’ve made it through a significant part of the story, I wonder what would have happened if I had let one or two characters critical to the story perish on the battlefield at an earlier point.
- Some scenarios are quite tough, even after the first attempt and you have some idea of what’s happening -- you can save during your turn!
- If you can spare unit movements don’t waste them – they're tacked on next turn to the normal complement (up to a point).
- Having said that, keep moving forward. Both sides can summon reinforcements so it makes things much easier if you can take their base camps before they arrive.
- Taking enemy base camps is also a good way to move your troops quickly up the field. You can have a unit “retreat” at your original base camp and summon that unit up the field at the recently captured camp. This is often a quicker and less risky way of getting a lagging unit in to position.
- I haven’t seriously used any of Welkin’s available orders except “retreat”. Maybe I just don’t know how to use them properly but it always seems more useful to use the movement points to actually move a unit rather than use them on an order.
- When I go to the Cemetery I’d like to be able to actually, you know, visit fallen comrades rather than talk to the Old Man who teaches you orders, for a price.
- Once you see the enemy has "elite” soldiers, and you don’t have any of your own, play skirmishes to gain xp to level up your soldiers until you do.
- Frontal assaults have their place, but it’s better to flank when possible.
- For the longest time I thought the grade “A” was actually an “H”. What the beeping font are they using?!