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Valkyria Chronicles 2

So when I got my PS3 originally, I got it to play Disgaea 3. The reason I’ve kept it hooked up and keep playing on it is Valkyria Chronicles. Just recently the sequel came out on the PSP.

Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 was one of those games where the actual concept of the game play is pretty simple (turn-based tactics game with some FPS mechanics) and it is well developed and very fun. Where it really hooked you though was in the story and the characters.

It was one of those rare games in recent years where it is clear that the developers really wanted to make a “good game”. I find that I have to put that in quotes because far too often of late it seems that game makers seem to mistake “good graphics” with a “good game” (thank you Squenix…). However Valkyria Chronicles (hereafter referred to just as VC1) really nailed it.

The game play was fun, the story was interesting, and the characters were ones that you actually found yourself interested in and really wanting to see what happens with them.

It should come as no surprise then that VC1 did amazingly well in Japan where it spawned two manga series, an anime, and two sequels. One of the sequels is this game, Valkyria Chronicles 2 on the PSP. The other sequel Valkyria Chronicles 3 is still in development right now.

Valkyria Chronicles 2 (hereafter VC2) on the PSP actually fares pretty well in comparison to VC1. The game mechanics are basically the same with the biggest change being the large maps being divided up into multiple smaller ones that you move between. They re-worked the class system to try to add some more variety to your squad and tactics. And the graphics aren’t quite as good because of the PSP hardware (but if graphics are all you care about then you can fuck off and die and go back to masturbating to FF13 cut scenes).

The downfall of VC2 in my opinion is actually in the story. The story is still good, the cast of characters is still interesting, but it seems like when games go from consoles to portables that for some reason the developers often feel the need to kid’ify the games. So while VC1 was the story of a nation at war and all hate and violence around that, VC2 is much more focused on the school antics and life of a group of military cadets in training two years after the war.

While there is a war on in VC2, a civil war this time that is actually racially motivated, the delivery and feel of the game feels far far too light-hearted at times with a cast of main character that are all somewhat of a cliche versus the rather refreshingly original main characters in VC1 (well, at least the VC1 characters felt less generic / cliche’d if not entirely unique creations ).

That said, being able to play VC2 anywhere that I take my PSP with me really does in my mind cancel out any of the games other negatives. It isn’t perfect, and I think I still do like VC1 far better (because of the story more than anything else) I do think that VC2 is one of the better PSP games that I have played and it is going to be spending a lot more time in the months to come in my PSP.

If you like tactical games, a good story, and fun gameplay then the Valkyria Chronicles series on the PSP (and PS3) are definately worth checking out.

As an aside, while Valkyria Chronicles 3 doens’t have a release date yet it has been confirmed as being on the PSP and being set during the same time period as VC1 and with a plot and storytelling that are more similar to VC1 than VC2. Just a long wait now for it to get localized in the US.

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