The TWRM GOTY 2018 Collab has begun! This special event consists of multiple writers making their best cases for their picks for GOTY 2018. Check out each article posted daily from the 1st through the 15th and listen to their points, then on January 16th you will have the opportunity to vote on which game you think should be crowned TWRM GOTY of 2018!
Valkyria Chronicles 4
Release Date: 25/9/2018
Platform/Console: PS4, Switch, Xbox One
“The following is a contributor post by the Bizzaro Mage.”
2018 was a good year for video games, indeed many exceptional titles were bequeathed upon our undeserving souls. We had such hits as Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Red Dead Redemption 2 and a new instalment of Pokémon on the beloved Nintendo Switch.
Yet my game of the year was not one of these well-received pieces of interactive media. In fact, my local GAME store (the only place to get a decent range of video games in my town) didn’t even stock a single copy of my most beloved game of the 18th year in the 21st century. So it was, then, that I had to download it from the PS Store, neglecting my games shelf of a nice new shiny box. Yet, despite this materialistic misdemeanour, I had finally acquired a copy of the game, the much anticipated Valkyria Chronicles 4!
Anyone who knows me well enough (or is tasteful enough to read all of the lovely articles on this site) will know that I’m a big fan of the original game, released a decade before this 4th instalment and yet very similar in style and substance. Well I liked the original well enough and you know what? I blummin’ love this one too!
Valkyria Chronicles 4, released back in September, was developed and published by resurgent console wars casualty Sega and follows the adventures of Claude Wallace, commanding officer of a platoon of elite Rangers fighting for the Federation against the morally dubious forces of the Empire. The game takes place alongside the events of the first, chronicling the Federation’s invasion of Imperial lands whilst the first game’s battlefield of Gallia is facing its own invasion.
The game’s fictional land of Europa is as pretty as ever, even for a war game. It is clearly based on the Second World War as seen through an anime lens so there is plenty of style, colour and tons of weird and wonderful characters to be controlled, listened to or shot at. Claude himself is a bit of a drip, though he does gradually learn to be a potent leader as the events of the story unfold. Fighting alongside him is Raz, a fiery and foul mouthed shocktrooper (who definitely isn’t just a slightly different version of Rosie from the first game), Kai the stoic yet deadly sniper and Riley, commander of the newest class to this series, the grenadiers. Under their command are a whole plethora of soldiers with all manner of different strengths and weaknesses. Examples include clumsy soldiers that drop their grenades randomly, soldiers full of hay fever that have stat drops when running through grass and even a stat that makes some soldiers fight better on their own.
The combat loop plays out much like the original did. One must select a unit from an overhead map, steer them to the desired location in a 3rd person view and then take an action to end their turn, usually consisting of firing at an enemy, lobbing a grenade or using a healing item. Both the enemy and your own troops can make use of cover and take interception shots against moving targets, adding even more depth to the game.
Your squad is made up of six different classes of infantry who all fulfill very different roles. Scouts can move long distances and are armed with rifles handy for mid range combat whilst shock troopers move shorter distances but are more heavily armoured and equipped with submachine guns perfect for short range conflict. Lancers act as anti-tank infantry, engineers repair vehicles and re-arm other soldiers and snipers aren’t very mobile but provide long range death dealing. New to 4 are the grenadiers, armed with mortar launchers to aid their comrades with long range, indirect fire.
Backing up this medley of foot soldiers is the Hafen, Wallace’s personal command tank armed with anti tank rounds, a mortar launcher and machine guns. Joining the Hafen is the Cactus, a lightly armed personnel carrier, and later on the Glory, a light tank with interchangeable turrets.
In between all of those battles are plenty of cutscenes in which the story unfolds and we learn more about all the members of Squad E. A new feature in this instalment is a series of side stories, typically stretching across a few cutscenes and a battle, that become unlocked as you progress in the main story. These side stories usually focus around a handful of the squad’s lower ranking grunts and a little tale between them and completing these often grants the involved soldiers new traits and takes away some of their weaknesses.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is, much like its earlier entries, pretty unique amongst the tactical RPG community but fans of Final Fantasy Tactics or the Tactics Ogre series will certainly find enjoyment in this long, challenging game from Sega. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed!
And remember, dear readers, that this game is definitely game of the year, no matter what any other Mages might say, because it’s got anime, war, strategy and a dog wearing a hat! A HAT!
+Unique and deep strategy gameplay
+A lengthy and twist filled campaign
+Lots of side content
-That troublesome booty slap scene
-That awkward upskirt scene
-Some people think that it isn’t GOTY, for some reason?
Stepping from the shadows into the light, The Bizzaro Mage somehow functions as an average human being most of the time, just one with a faire few retro games cluttering up his tiny house. Check out his rambling attempts at sense over at winst0lfportal.wordpress.com.
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