Storyline is nowhere near as good as the original
Minimal cut-scenes and voice-acting
As I was watching the ending movie to the originalValkyria Chronicles on the PS3, I was a little sad it was over, but excited at the same time. The reason for this is because the sequel, Valkyria Chronicles 2 (VC:2) for the PSP had arrived a couple of days before. Looking over to my gaming cabinet, I could see a load of games piled up, gathering dust, screaming “PLAY ME”, but I didn’t care. The original was so good that I was instantly sold on the sequel. The question was; does the PSP exclusive sequel have the magic of the first? Yes, it’s addictive, and yes, it has improved in many areas, but that sparkle I had in my eyes when playing through the first was absent, and I’m about to tell you why.
The amazing story of the original was a huge surprise to me as I was not expecting anything even close to the level that it was. Because of this, I assumed VC:2 would follow suit. It didn’t. It wasn’t even close. In fact, I don’t even think it attempted to as the style of storytelling was completely different in the sense that it was very childish at times and followed typical Anime conventions (eg - a constant attempt at humour). The first game had a very serious tone but many of the scenes in VC:2 made it hard to take seriously. I put this down to the target audience being Japanese gamers (as the PSP is huge over there). With that said, it still had its moments and after getting through about half of the game, it did start to pick up a little.
The game is set in Galia a couple of years after the original game. A rebel group calling themselves the Gallian Revolutionary Army begin a civil war to rid the country of those of Darcsan decent. Due to the current weakness in the Galian military and the laws preventing them from fighting their own, the government are forced to deploy cadets from the military academy of Lanseal to defend the country against the rebel attacks. You will play the role of Avan Hardins, a 17 year old who enrolled at Lanseal after the death of his older brother, Leon. Avan believes there’s more surrounding Leons death than what he was told, and much of the game is focused on uncovering this mystery. The story is split into 12 months (Jan to Dec) and each main battle and plot point will take place at the conclusion of the month. As I said before, the first half of the year just seems so shallow and trivial that I actually wanted to slap the writers for destroying what was so awesome in the original. Fortunately, it picks up a little towards the end, but the story exactly what you’ll be playing this game for.
A big focus in VC:2 is searching through the list of cadets and choosing the right ones to fight in your squad, usually based on their class (Some classes include: Scouts [high movement, low attack], Troopers [Low movement, high attack] , Snipers [attack at a range] and Lancers [Tank destroyers] . In the original game, these characters had simply a name and a face. VC2 goes far beyond this and creates a back story for each character. After choosing to interact with a character a few times, (which is entirely optional) you’ll soon be presented with a side quest which will unlock a Potential (Battle ability) for said character. To be honest, many of these side stories are quite boring, but it is still a huge step forward from the simple ‘names on a list’ system present in the original. In addition to the new cast of characters, most of the main characters from the original make an appearance in one way or another. Add this to the plentiful amount of VC references and the feeling of nostalgia will hit in no time.
Now for the meat of the game: the combat system. Just like the original, the focus of each battle is to eliminate the enemy forces. The exact objective varies but it’s usually something along the lines of capturing their base camp, destroying their leader, or eliminating all the enemy troops. These small wars are very enjoyable and I must praise Sega in the way that they retained everything that was awesome about the original, while changing it up enough to ensure things never seem repetitive. It’s going to be very difficult to go into the mechanics so I’ll lay out the basics. There are usually between 2 and 4 areas per battle. Each area can only hold 5 allied troops, and there can only be a total of 6 troops on the field, anywhere, at once. To get to another area, you must capture a base camp that acts like a gateway. Once captured, you can deploy troops at the camp so long as there are 6 or less in battle at a time. Below is an image of Nichol (a Scout) firing at an enemy soldier who is guarding the rebels base camp.