dkirschner's Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
| [October 2, 2015 11:25:42 PM]
| I was close to giving up because the battles are so slow and when you lose, which I have several times now, itís like an hour down the drain. I poked around online and learned a VERY important thing: you can save mid-battle. Who knew? I was much more excited to continue playing and undaunted by death. But for the third map in a row, I am dead, but now I have a plan to go in, poke around, maybe die, and if I do die then I will have a better idea of how to strategize next time, and I can save along the way!
But despite learning about the ability to save mid-battle, the game still succumbed to long/slow battle syndrome. I am rarely excited to play this game; it always feels like work. And when I want to play a game when I come home from work, this just doesnít do it for me. I am going to watch the rest of the story on YouTube. Cool game, but draining in its snail pace.
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| [October 2, 2015 11:24:35 PM]
| These battles are long, intense affairs. I had just gotten into the rhythm of the game when I started hitting hour+ battles. I won the first one (thank god), but I just lost a real nail-biter. Iím in chapter 7 where you fight Maximilianís tank. This is also the first really new type of objective the game has thrown at me. So far itís all just Ďkill all the enemiesí or Ďcapture the enemy base.í But this one, Ďdestroy the tank (that is a massive boss with 6 machine guns, a devastating cannon, ladders you have to climb to destroy 3 radiators, oh my!), is challenging! The tank is on a warpath to crush your bases. In addition to dealing with all its weaponry, you have to blast down ruined walls to slow its progress toward your bases. Man.
Hereís how the battle went down. You deploy in two groups, one near a base, and another a little in front, closer to Maximilian. Maximilian deploys with a couple scouts and shocktroopers, and then there are a few more infantry (I think a shocktrooper, scout, and a sniper) on a ledge behind your troops. The sniper was scary, and I used my ďsniper assistĒ order for the first time to kill him. Orders are neat. They are special commands you can issue once per turn. Sniper assist calls in a sniper to pop an enemy for two CP. Turns out the scout was scary too because he ran to one of my bases and occupied it. I kill him and took it back the next turn, but Iíll look out for that next time.
So, I began by dealing with most of the ground troops and trying to ignore the tank. Your troops start in great cover, so that wasnít a big deal. Then I had to figure out how the hell to damage the tank. You have to use lancers or an anti-armor gun from your tank to destroy the 6 machine gun turrets. There are ladders on Maximilianís tank that you can send troops to climb to reach the radiators, but only after youíve destroyed the machine guns, or else they will rip you to shreds. But, you canít simply destroy the radiators. As I found out the hard way (by losing an entire turn, ouch), you can only kill the radiators, also, with lancers and your tank. The first time I exposed the radiators (which you have to do by felling a ruined wall in the tankís path so that it will huge its massive gun to blast it), I was running scouts and shocktroopers up the ladder, but they donít damage the radiator, not even with grenades!
So after I figured out how to kill the radiators, I thought I had a good plan in motion. I did, but it was too little too late. Another enemy commander, the valkyria lady, comes to reinforce Maximilian after devastating a couple other allied units. She comes with like 10 more infantry units and sweeps across the screen. She killed several of my units (pretty much one kill each attack), which sucked. I had all my lancers fall back to my last base and had my tank stay out of range of Maximilianís cannon. I thought I was going to make it, but the valkyria just barely killed my last lancer as he was running for the ladder. I thought I was done for, but I managed to get my tank up fast enough to kill the radiator. Level complete, right? Nope. Then you have to destroy the tank! That was impossible for me then because nearly all of my troops were dead and Maximilian was one turn away from capturing my final base.
Next time, I know how to expose the radiators, how to stall Maximilian, where to have troops in position to be most efficient, and perhaps most importantly, to fill my roster with lancers. I didnít have enough. I may even have won the battle right at the end if Iíd had a bunch of lancers instead of scouts. I think that if I kill Maximilianís tank faster, the valkyria wonít make it so far onto the battlefield to wipe out my whole army. Like I said, a real nail-biter. I went from thinking I would win, to thinking I would lose, to thinking I might win again, to final defeat. Itís during these long losses though that I wish the battles were shorter. My immediate reaction was ďUgh, there goes an hour of my day.Ē And I reloaded, prepped my squad, and turned off the PS3. Iíll give it another shot another day.
Iíve had enough of being beaten down by games in the last couple days. Valkyria Chronicles has that long, stinging defeat when you lose, and yesterday I played a lot of Hearthstone, naively attempting to take on heroic bosses. Of course I didnít get very far. I never do, but sometimes I decide itís time to try again. I never learn!
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| [October 2, 2015 11:22:01 PM]
| This is a really neat blend of strategy and action. The game is essentially about WWII, but set in a different world. Itís the ďEuropan Wars,Ē not the World Wars, and nope, not the European wars. Europan. The country that is being invaded by the East European Imperial Alliance (aka Germany and/or Russia) is called Gallia, and looks to be where Lithuania/Estonia/Latvia are. The Empire is invading these poor border countries to attack the democratic Atlantic Federation (aka the Allies in Western Europe). There is even a ďraceĒ of oppressed people called the Darcsen (Jews), who I think are the only characters with black hair. I could be wrong about that, but there is something ďdarcĒ about them.
You play as a man who gets drawn into the conflict as part of a town militia, later leader of a bigger militia group, Squad 7. You and your sister command from a big olí tank, and you have a squad of probably 40 troops, of which you choose 20 to be battle-ready, and 9 of which you deploy in any given mission. Troops fall into 5 categories: scouts, shocktroopers, lancers, engineers, and snipers. The game keeps introducing new things. There are also tanks, of which you command one and the enemy will have more than you. The last map features anti-tank guns and land mines, in addition to named enemy commander units. Troop effectiveness is more or less a rock-paper-scissors game. Scouts and shocktroopers > lancers > tanks > scouts and shocktroopers. Snipers just snipe and anyone can kill them easily if they get close enough. Engineers are not too handy with a gun. Their role is to have mobility for calling the medic and capturing enemy bases. If an ally loses all his HP, you can call the medic by moving another character to that ally. Medics and scouts have excellent movement. And then shocktroopers will kill a scout in a gunfight, but they are technically of the same rock-paper-scissors class.
Combat plays out on two scales. You begin in the command view, with a big picture of the battlefield, your troop positions, and enemy troop positions, inasmuch as you know them. You have a certain number of CP (command points?) to move individual units. Units all take one CP to move; tanks take two CP. That one CP covers moving until that unitís AP is drained and one attack command. You can move and attack in any order, and can always continue moving until your AP is empty. When you select a unit to command, the camera zooms down and you control it in third person, so you can see lines of sight and move behind cover and attack and whatnot. Itís fairly intuitive. You can crouch behind sandbags and crawl in grass, hide behind walls or your tank, and climb ladders.
Units have various traits that affect their situational performance. Some that I recall have to do with gender relationships (woman lover/hater, man lover/hater) with associated bonuses and penalties for being near allies of particular genders; environmental conditions (ďcountry livingĒ characters like being in grass and fields, while ďcity dwellerĒ characters get bonuses on paved roads and proximity to buildings). There are a lot of others, about as many beneficial ones as penalizing ones. Units can also favor other units, and they have a chance to get extra attacks if they are near characters that they like. Itís interesting, but there are so many troops I can command that I donít think their traits are something to memorize. I think you find out what type of terrain, for example, the next mission is, then go select all the units that wonít be penalized for fighting in sand or whatever.
Leveling up is neat too. You get experience and money from winning battles, but you spend experience points on unit types, not individual units. So, I can dump 1000XP into scouts, for example, and all my scouts would level up. This is great because no one falls behind! The decision for whom to use becomes their synergies and affinities, or if youíve equipped them with a particularly special weapon you might have found on a slain enemy. Weapon upgrades are straightforward so far. Just spend money and unlock the next upgrade. But it looks like some have like skill trees, so some weapon or unit type specialization may be in my near future.
And thatís the gist of it so far! Iím really enjoying it. Thereís a lot of dialogue, punctuated by big fights. The story (so far) isnít anything to write home about, seeing as itís basically an alternate version of WWII, but I like the characters. They are anime likable. The main character likes bugs. He went to college for ďanimal sociology,Ē according to the game notes, which is a niche field of sociology. Was an animal sociologist writing this game script?
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dkirschner's Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
Current Status: Stopped playing - Got frustrated
GameLog started on: Monday 13 July, 2015
GameLog closed on: Friday 31 July, 2015