Remembering 2008: The Biggest Games That Turn 10 This Year
Created by GameSpot Staff on
Valkyria Chronicles (April 24, 2008)
Console tactical strategy games, specifically those with settings grounded in reality, have a special place in my heart. The same could also be said of that part of the mid-'00s Sega that was killing it with new franchises: Yakuza, Bayonetta, and Valkyria.
Valkyria Chronicles, the brainchild of the directors behind the Sakura Wars tactics series and the celebrated RPG Skies of Arcadia, remains a beautiful debut. Its seemingly timeless art style, a superb execution of cel-shaded polygons to evoke pencil-drawings and watercolors, is still gorgeous. The setting, a somber, anime-influenced take on Europe during the early stages of World War II, still feels distinct. It tells a sincere story with relatable characters about citizens forced into war to protect their homeland. And its strategic combat system, which mixes top-down, turn-based strategy with third-person, real-time action, is still unique, robust, and satisfying to use.
Its sequels, while competent, never quite lived up to the original for me. The PSP failed to capture the beauty of the visuals, the strategy system felt like it was getting unnecessarily complex, and the stories they told started to get too ambitious and unrelatable for me. Every time I played a new Valkyria Chronicles game, I would inevitably hit a point where I would go back and start another run of the original.
Valkyria Chronicles was remastered for PS4 and PC recently, and it's very much a game that has held up after ten years. It's the only game worth playing or revisiting in anticipation for Valkyria Chronicles 4, due for release in 2018. The upcoming sequel is set in the same timeframe as the original game, so here's hoping Sega remembers what made the first game so special. -- Edmond Tran