Playthrough: The Second Europan War

Valkyria Chronicles (North American Box Art)

The Starlight Megaphone kicks off its Christmas 2009 site-wide playthrough of Valkyria Chronicles today!

Valkyria Chronicles is a PlayStation 3 strategy RPG which abandons the grid-based methods of other genre predecessors in favour of an over-the-shoulder battle system. Though the grand overview of battles occurs top-down with the assigning of units to the field, the actual battle takes place in this semi-real-time third person mode, where the player controls the units directly. Placing the player directly in the action not only speeds up the traditionally slow gameplay of a strategy RPG, but provides for a new and engaging story-telling experience.

Week 1
This week, we will focus on the prologue and first four chapters of the story proper.

Week 2
In this week, we will focus on the chapters five through nine.

Week 3
In this week, we will focus on the chapters ten through fourteen.

Week 4
In this week, we will focus on entire game, and specifically the culmination of the storyline in the final chapters of the game.

Please comment on the music, graphics, characterisation, battle system, and especially the story through this point. What are your opinions: what could be improved, do you have a favourite scene or character, do you feel invested in the storyline? We want to know what you think! Your comments will be used on the Podcast, so listen in for further discussion from our panel of panelists!

0 comments

  1. Wow, keeping your character’s levels for the new game plus make you reeeaaaalllly overpowered for the first few chapters. I just blew through the first 4 chapters, and so far the enemy hasn’t gotten a turn (aside from the one they automatically get when the tank shows up in Bruhl). Other than that, the game’s about how I remember it. In the first few chapters, I think they laid the “Check out how evil these empire guys are” on a bit thick, especially with the storm troopers in Bruhl, but other than that I like that the characters are all fairly believable, especially for a JRPG. I think my favorite part of the opening is the where Gunther family has a fully-operational tank in their barn and doesn’t think to tell anybody about it.

  2. Two things I like about the beginning of VC:
    1. How Alicia switches from your typical weak anime girl to badass solider and goes back and forth depending on her mood.
    2. The amount of voice acting by John DiMaggio.

  3. I prefer to think Alicia has bipolar disorder or multiple personalities or something like that :D

  4. I love snipers :)

    the ranking system is annoying as ever. it has absolutely nothing to do with how well you play, just how fast you when. playing intelligently, i.e. actually using cover and making sure your units have backup and shit, will get you a crappy score more times than not. granted, having Jane go ape shit on the enemies single-handedly does look way cooler than playing properly, but still.

    I think I’m gonna put a lot more EXP into my lancers this time. I remember swearing every third time the cock-eyed bastards shot last time and I’d like to avoid that this time.

    I love snipers XD

  5. @Breaka: I agree, snipers are fracking awesome. So far, I’ve been using mostly scouts because, like you mentioned, the ratings are entirely based on speed. Since all my classes are up to level 20 from my last playthrough, it seems like they can pretty much shrug off up to a dozen guys worth of crossfire, so I can pretty much run a scout right into the enemy base and capture it without resistance every time. As soon as this strategy stops working, though, I’m gonna fall right back to my snipers :D

  6. Scouts are by far the best units int the entire game, Alicia being the best character. Even in the beginning of the game they are just so damn good.

  7. snipers are not that good they miiss to much.
    my team:
    4 or 5 scouts
    1 lancer (largo)because of the extra star
    1 trooper(rosie)because of the extra star
    1 sniper
    1 tank of course

    scouts rules. snipers, troopers and lancer kinda suck

  8. Initially, yeah, it was hard to hit anything with the snipers, but if you put the levels into them, they become god-like. I forget which character I had my first playthrough, but she/he had a potential that upped his/her accuracy and essentially made the “possible area the bullet could go” circle a dot onscreen, meaning if he/she could see an enemy soldier’s head, it was a one-hit-kill every time. Took a lot of the guess work out of sniping :D.

    But yeah, I’ve always got at least one of every unit type, usually two, just in case. Balance is key!

  9. I don’t think there is a truly “best” class in VC. no matter a class can do it’s balanced by what it can’t do.

    Scouts can run like gold medalists but take bullets like a bitch.

    Shocktroopers have machine guns and endurance that’s inhuman but are are useless at any range farther than a few feet.

    Lancers have figgin bazookas and are good at blowing up anything with the capacity to be blown the hell up but their aim is so bad that you wonder if any of them could see the giant E at the top of the eye exam chart.

    Snipers could kill a new yorker from nashville but they only have three shots and, like Darth said, they need to be leveled up before they can be reliable.

    Engineers are good at support (their ability to bring back sandbags has save many an ass) but compared to the absurd shit the other classes can do they can’t fight worth a damn.

    what peoples favorite class is seems to be what glaring flaw they’re willing to put up with and I like that. some classes definitly make certain missions easier but it always feels to me like I can pick whatever the hell I want. I hope the second game keeps the balance.

  10. yeah, but if you want to get rank A, all classes are useless, except for the scouts of course because of their speed and versatility.

  11. @Juan: Yeah, but the ranking system is VC doesn’t really reflect anything of any importance. That being said, I’m still going for A on all the story missions (or until I get distracted by a shiny object).

  12. I know this is a bit ahead of the ending point for this week, but I just want to say that Hans still seems as useless as ever.

  13. As far as I can tell, it’s “Look, we have a cute animal!” Hans reeks of a character that either had a big scene that was cut, or a funny site gag that gets too much screen time (lol, it’s a pig, but with WINGS!). Hans aside, though, I’m still enjoying the game. Just got past the first giant tank battle, and that level was a little slow for my tastes (a lot of my time was spent waiting for the tank to fire), but I particularly like the desert level before that. It was one of my favorite skirmishes to grind on my first playthrough :D.

  14. By any chance has anyone played the VC2 demo off of the Japanese PSN? I just did and lets just say I didn’t think I could look forward to VC2 anymore short of it being renounced for the PS3 then I already had until now. The game play transferred perfectly to the PSP and I really want to try out the new classes.

  15. I haven’t gotten a chance yet (still too lazy to set up a Japanese PSN account). Which new classes are they adding?

  16. The only new class playable in the demo is the Medic class. Any class can still save other team mates and heal but Medics can heal people long distance. I’m not sure what the name is of the other on but there is a new class that have shields and big hammers. Selvaria is also confirmed as a playable character, most likely just as a extra cameo and not story related.

  17. I’m not sure what this has to do with Disgaea?!?!

    Also, I don’t care what Nate “Bup” Liles says to me in IMs, I’m not a fan of Hitler! You can call him the greatest man who ever lived all you want, Nate! I, however, disapprove of Holocausts and similar behavior!

  18. I. DESPISE. LANCERS.

    they missed so much on that damn giant tank mission that I wanted to shoot them. but as frustrating as that one was the desert mission made up for it ten fold. I love that mission :)

  19. Is Ch 7 the giant tank level (I think it is, but I’m too lazy to check)? Cause then I agree with Volke/Blitzmage, I’m not a fan of it. I’ve gotta try it again to see if I can get an “A” ranking, though I’m not entirely sure as to how. I don’t think you can get the tank to fire any sooner, since it appears to be on a set course with set points it fires at the ruins you’ve knocked down, but if that’s unchanging, I can beat it at most 1 turn faster. Oh well, far too lazy to attempt it again at present. Onward to the forest chapter!

    @Oyashiro: Would Selvaria qualify as a “sexy nazi”?

  20. @Darth: Hell yes! Thats why I’m glad they are putting her as a extra character in VC2.

  21. With this play through are we going to do the DLC as an extra thing or as part of the event? Also The Blue flame girl i hate her too…

  22. the DLC is 40% off today so if your going to buy it now would be the time. the sale went on literally hours after I bought it. so angry.

  23. @Breaka: Man, that does suck, sorry :f. How is the DLC, though? Worth getting?

  24. Alicia is still the most awesome character in the game, and I don’t feel too far out of my depth to predict that she will remain so until the end.

    I’m not having trouble with my lancers missing too much. Perhaps I am just more forgiving of them than I should be?

    Also, I can’t bring myself to stack my team with snipers. I like a balance, and though I know that lots of snipers is the way forward, I just can’t do it!

  25. a dont like snipers they miss too much. i only use one per battle because they are useless until you get your “super rifle” very very late in the game. i alicia is great but i like Largo too.

  26. I am liking Alicia more this playthrough than I did last time, bipolar disorder and all. Really the only character I don’t care for is Rosie. I know she’s supposed to be racists against the Darcsens and everything, but it still bugs me for some reason.

    I also like what they did with the Imperial generals (I believe this was talked about already somewhere, but I’m bringing it up again because I can), where, for the most part, they aren’t really “evil.” Most of them have reasonable motivations for why they do the things they do. I think it works well to single out Gregor as the bastard of the group.

    @Caspius: Yeah, as much as I love snipers, I wouldn’t load the entire team with them, I prefer balance. If there was one unit I’d create a whole team out of, it would be scouts because of their versatility, especially going for A ranks.

    RE: Lancers – I think I may have been using Lancers wrong until very recently. I was one of the people who complained about their accuracy, but lately I’ve just given up on trying to hit anything farther than 3 feet away and it’s actually been working much better. At this point, Largo can shrug off a staggering amount of crossfire, so he can usually run right up to the tanks as opposed to firing from a distance. Granted, this won’t help for the larger levels, but at least it makes them miss less frequently.

  27. I’m still loving VC’s art style, even after looking at it for this long. I think it may be my favorite part of the game :D.

  28. I know it is only a filter, but I really like it.
    I am a sucker for this particular anime art style, and I love the pencil shading filter being applied to it.
    The whole thing taking place inside of a history book is also something which pleases me.

  29. So i feel that starting with chapter 7-ish that all the missions are, are driving the tank to the dot and if you come to an enemy shoot in head and move on… does this change at all?

  30. @darth – I noticed that little quirk with the lancers too. what pisses me off is that even if I do miss slightly they have FUCKING ROCKET LAUNCHERS! Largos blind ass nearly got me killed on the trench mission.

    and I don’t like Rosie too. whenever a character is made racist I see that as the writers way of telling me to hate that character.

  31. @Caspius: I’ve been re-watching several cutscenes to try to figure out when exactly the pencil filter’s applied. It seems to be more prevalent in shadowed areas, but not exclusively so or anything. Whatever it is, it does look great and, in my opinion, breathes new life into cell shading (but I hope it doesn’t get as overused as cell shading does).

    @Volke: Some of the middle missions are pretty easy to crank out with a tank/engineer combination, but that’ll usually net you a low ranking on the level because it’s so slow. I’ve found myself throwing caution into the wind much more on my second time through (traditionally, I play strategy games very conservatively) and rushing troops around, trying to finish as fast as possible. I think I’m having more fun that way, but there’s definitely more opportunity for something to go wrong. In either case, at least a few of the later levels jump to mind as places you won’t be able to just tank-spam. The tank’s still pretty tough, but a lot of the time it’s just too slow or physically barred from your objective by the terrain.

    @Breaka: Presumably, Rosie’s supposed to make up for it by overcoming her racism, but I thought that moment was too long in coming. Towards the middle of the game, she kind of had the attitude of “Sure, you’ve saved my ass multiple times, but I still hate you for no good reason”, you know? If I recall, she does get better after that a bit, but it might just be that she was featured less.

  32. So now im doing more Skirmish battles and just power leveling my people with doing SB:4-6 i can one turn them with Elite Scouts just running to the Camps and winning and getting an A ranking, so im on chapter 11 and what are your level suggestions for this chapter?

  33. Levels are helpful, but they’re not nearly as important as in most RPGs. Tactics and having a good mix of classes are the keys to victory in VC. Whatever level your characters are at, I’m sure it’s enough to take on that level, especially if you’ve done a bit of grinding. That being said, in chapter 11 there’s a specific use for the flame throwers your soldiers can get once they reach “elite,” so it would help to have them up to that level. Like I said, not a requirement by any means, but definitely something to help.

    Another random piece of advice for chapter 11 (I just played it last night, so it’s fresh in my mind), don’t deploy all your character slots right away. There’s a camp you can take over right past the beachhead, I suggest just deploying the bare minimum you’ll need to take that (probably a scout or two with the tanks backing them up), then just use that to deploy the rest of your squad as needed. Actually, the level’s quite long distance-wise, so it would probably be best, at least for some of the slower-moving types, to deploy as you go to save having to wait for a laggard or two towards the end (I’m looking at you, lancers).

  34. I just finished chapter 14. It’s both my favorite and least favorite chapter. Story wise, I think this is where the story’s at it’s peak (along with the previous couple of chapters), while the rest of the story is eventful, I almost with they would have ended it after this chapter (with appropriate plot adjustments so that nothing’s left unfinished, of course). The battle in chapter 14, though, was the worst in the game in my opinion. The only way I’ve found to get an A on it is to know what’s going to happen ahead of time from a previous playthrough, which, in my opinion, seems cheap and a little bit of a cop-out.

    On a side note, I may not be able to keep up with the playthrough next week since I’ll be out of town and without PS3 access between tomorrow and Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up for the latter 1/2 of the week, though :D.

  35. Well only being on chapter 12 or so i can say that this game does have very hard sections but over is a great game and i cant wait for the 2nd one!
    -blitzmage/volke

  36. and now I must sadly say that I can no longer play with ya’ll because I let my friend Purp play. and of course the second I get home I get the strongest urge to play VC I’ve ever gotten -grumble-

  37. I am saddened that I will probably not finish this by the time our podcast records this weekend. Such are the vagaries of fate. Next time, though, I’m *there*.

  38. @Caspius: Yes, I, too think I’ll miss the deadline, unfortunately. Being without access to a PS3 for most of the weekend really set me back more than I expected. Only thing to do now is try to get as far as possible :D. If nothing else, I’m definitely enjoying the game more on this playthrough than I did on my previous one, so that’s got to count for something, right?

  39. Ok, in lieu of actually finishing the game, I’ll post my thoughts on what I do end up finishing. I’ve decided to move my “wish the game ended here” marker to chapter 15 instead of 14. I think I just like the “Valkyria” aspect of the plot more than the “Gallia” aspect. More random thoughts as I play further!

    Also, I watched the last of the Doctor Who specials (well, the last for now) tonight as well. Such a great series!