Valkyria Chronicles is a series of strategic games with quite particular and unique gameplay. In fact, they are not simple strategic because they also have action parts and therefore in real time.
This guide aims to introduce you to this series, without spoilers and in the most hasty and synthetic way possible.
Let’s start by talking about the story that characterizes the series and its games!
Here is a short table with the highlights:
- Main features of the series
- The Valkyria Chronicles lore
- How to retrieve the series and in what order
- Behind the scenes
- Why play Valkyria Chronicles
Main features of the series
Valkyria Chronicles can boast some elements that make it unique or that characterize it quite as a series.
Here’s what it is:
- Proprietary graphics engine on the 2 most important chapters of the series: let’s talk about the CANVAS engine. With a watercolor style, war has never looked so beautiful and fairytale!
- Real-time strategy, we will have to move while paying attention to the range of action of the enemies and the possible traps on the field. To shoot or attack you will need to aim, thus giving greater realism to the game and strategy. This system is called BLiTZ ( B attle of Li ve T actical Z ones).
- Presence oficonic soldier classes . We will have different classes at our disposal for our warfare needs.
- Fidelity to some historical events and continuous references to war events that really happened.
- Quite rich lore and the presence of a mythological race that gives that aura of esotericism to the series.
The title Valkyria Chronicles (in Japanese Senjō no Varukyuria – Gallian Chronicles) highlights the concept that we are talking about war chronicles .
In fact, this series follows a strong historiographical approach and describes in detail many details concerning the surrounding events.
Often it will be necessary to stop for a moment and read carefully the numerous information that will be provided to us to have a clearer view of the whole.
The premises of the story of Valkyria Chronicles (2008)
The games in this series are set in a fictional version of the Europe we know . Unfortunately, even in this alternate reality a conflict will take place, precisely in 1935 CE.
Due to the lack of a rare mineral, Ragnitina, the two superpowers that dominate the continent decide to wage war.
On the one hand, the Empire , an autocratic regime, and on the other, the Atlantic Federation , a set of allied democratic states.
Taking advantage of the evident war superiority, the Empire decides to attack the Principality of Gaul to conquer the rich deposits of Ragnitina.
From these premises begins the series of Valkyria Chronicles, which begins chronologically with the first and homonymous title of the series. Actually, 3 and 4 are also set in the same period as the first, but the outbreak of war is treated with particular care in the latter!
The first title originally came out in 2008 for the PlayStation 3 but following the remarkable success we also had a PC port on Steam in 2014 and a remake for PlayStation 4 in 2016. In particular, we have reviewed the remake !
Valkyria Chronicles II – PSP (2010)
A direct sequel to Valkyria Chronicles, this handheld game can’t boast the same treatment as its predecessor. You feel the weight of limited hardware and the lack of innovative ideas, as everything is set in the usual school setting that is so familiar to fans of oriental games.
However, there is no shortage of references to the first and new mechanics that have great potential. For example, the game map is divided into many sub-maps connected by various enemy camps.
Also introduced the Armored Tech class, a class that fights using a hammer and serves primarily as a support to deflect enemy projectiles.
The most important feature is the presence of a cooperative mode, which will be removed in the next chapter.
Valkyria Chronicles II is not a must play , but we still recommend that you try it, even at the end.
Valkyria Chronicles III – PSP (2011)
Set around the same time as Valkyria Chronicles, we see another peak of the series finally. With a fairly solid storyline and excellent characterization , this title is confirmed as one of the best in the series.
Numerous changes have been made to the mechanics, while keeping the main gameplay skeleton unchanged.
Also in 2011 a re-edition of this title was released containing the DLC and new content.
Unfortunately, it never made it to the West due to the scourge of piracy that plagued PSP at the time.
Valkyria Revolution – PlayStation Vita / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One (2017)
We have reached the breaking point with the main series , as you can see from the absence of Chronicles in the title. The story is set in a different universe than that of the main series, which is why it is not considered strictly canon.
Another particular element is the totally different gameplay, since we are not facing a strategic one but an action JRPG .
Unfortunately, Revolution is not a very solid and fascinating title, since it really has a lot of flaws and is quite slow in terms of plot.
This title can be conveniently skipped .
Valkyria Chronicles 4 – PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch (2018)
After many years, SEGA has understood that it is necessary to follow in the footsteps of the glorious first chapter, and finally manages to create another qualitatively superior product.
Set in the same period as the first and third, that is, in the middle of the war, Valkyria Chronicles 4 describes the horrors of war in an even more precise way, while introducing mechanics that perfect what has already been seen.
The return to the CANVAS engine is the glorification of this process that winks at the old times and at the same time brings pleasant news.
For more information, we refer you to our review on the subject, which really explains everything you need to convince you of the purchase!
An animated series for fans
There is also a 26-episode animated adaptation of the first installment of the series, by A-1.
We recommend watching it only for true fans of the series, since it does not remotely replace the experience of Valkyria Chronicles and it is not even such an excellent production.
Spinoffs that probably won’t interest you
In addition to Valkyria Revolution, there are also two other spinoffs in the series, which you will probably do without, but which we talk about to inform you of their existence.
Project X Zone is a Nintendo 3DS game also landed in Europe that describes several parallel dimensions of the games it represents within it. We are talking about a crossover with more series, including the inevitable Valkyria Chronicles.
More interesting project is Valkyria Chronicles Duel , an online card game playable on both PC and mobile devices. The online service ended in 2015, so it is no longer playable.
A little lore about the series
The mineral that caused the terrible Second European War. It has a wide range of uses, being used in both medical and military fields.
Its most frequent use in games is to power tanks or in the form of Ragnaid to heal wounds.
Put simply, it is a truly powerful mineral that heavily affects the economy of the entire continent.
The Valkyrur dynasty
An extinct race of warriors from somewhere in Northern Europe. It is assumed that they came from the lands beyond the ocean and that they landed from the northern sea.
Although there are no more traces of them, they are still revered by some religions or cults.
However, there are still descendants today , which are called Valkyrie. Oddly enough, the descendants are female only, and there is no evidence within the series of male individuals with such powers.
In ancient times there was probably some male exponent, even if there is no historical certainty.
We omit further details as they may constitute spoilers!
The fearsome Empire
The Empire is a conglomerate of nations united under the rule of the emperor . Although it was never legally an autocratic state, it is in essence, thanks to the emperor’s erratic practices.
The populations of this conglomerate are highly conservative and tend to despise the Darcsen race, which finds itself employed in forced labor and in the extraction of Ragnitina from underground.
The capital is Schwartzgrad.
There are truly numerous historical references to different regimes that have established themselves over the course of history. We immediately notice references to the Nazi and Imperial, Soviet and Austro-Hungarian empires.
In fact, some missions of the game or some war operations are inspired by real events.
The Atlantic Federation is the other great superpower on the continent, for which we will be fighting in the fourth installment of the series. We always talk about a conglomerate but this time about democratic republics .
There are clear references to the “Allies” of World War II, both in geographical and political terms. In the games, various ethical issues are also highlighted that also make us reflect on the moral correctness of some actions performed by our faction.
By the way, many city names are real, for example the well-known French city of Sedan.
The Principality of Gaul
The Principality of Gaul is an independent and completely neutral state , not aligned with either of the two superpowers. It is a constitutional monarchy governed by inheritance from the Randgriz family, who are said to be descendants of the Valkyrur.
Here too there are remakes to different European states during the two world wars, which were found to be totally neutral.
Despite this, some of their young men deliberately enlisted in one of the two factions before their own state officially entered the war.
Tanks and more!
Always featured in the series, tanks represent one of the main elements of Valkyria Chronicles . Their weak point lies in the back, that is, in the blue radiator which acts as a power supply.
During the various games we will also have to face fearsome enemy tanks, which will give us many problems.
There are also other forms of vehicles , for example armored vehicles, which instead act as a transport for the troops, or real giant tanks that we will have to obstruct!
Behind the scenes
The Valkyria Chronicles development team, led by producer Ryutaro Nonaka and director Shuntaro Tanaka , is mostly made up of people who worked on the Sakura Wars series.
In fact, both Nonaka and Tanaka intended to create a game that could combine the strategic aspect of Sakura Wars with the role-playing aspect of Skies of Arcadia, not to mention the third-person side of Nightshade.
The series we are talking about was born from this vision, but the inspiration for historical events or war-based films also played a very important role.
Raita Hounjou took care of the character design, tracing both a World War I style and a more second one, as visible from the differences in the designs of some characters.
Hitoshi Sakimoto took care of the soundtrack, trying to emphasize the war side of the title.
In this first phase, realism is not the main purpose of the series which, thanks to the CANVAS engine, manages to represent the game world in a more fairy-tale way.
The PlayStation Portable era
Following these lines, the second title in the series follows a more fantasy and school setting approach , while also leveraging the enormous success of PSP to target an even greater audience.
The staff is pretty much the same as at Valkyria Chronicles, with the exception of Shinji Motoyama as producer, who had previously worked on the Bleach games.
Valkyria Chronicles II director Takeshi Ozawa has returned to work on the third installment of the series . The idea behind this project is to refine the mechanics developed by the second chapter , which was an experiment.
It is often regarded as the true sequel to Valkyria Chronicles and has made numerous improvements over its predecessor, starting with the removal of the co-op mode.
The death of the strategist
We come to the breaking point with the series , namely Valkyria Revolution. The game was developed by Media.Vision, also directed by Takeshi Ozawa and co-produced by Youichi Shimosato and Kei Mikami.
This time the graphic engine used is Gouache Drawing Engine , which partly has the same purpose as CANVAS, that is to reproduce a watercolor and fairy-tale style. Unfortunately, the title was a complete failure and is one of the lowest points in the series to date.
The rebirth of the phoenix
Thanks to the previous failure, Kei Mitami has figured out how to resume the series, starting work on Valkyria Chronicles 4 , which follows in the footsteps of the historic first chapter of the series.
To make the brand more attractive to the West, Mitami drew heavily on audiovisual material from the Second World War , creating a more realistic style than usual.
How can I recover them and in what order?
Ideally, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch or a good PC are enough for you to play Valkyria Chronicles and Valkyria Chronicles 4.
The second and third chapters are only available on PSP , also considering that the last one mentioned is not easily recoverable in a fully legal way. However, we do not recommend recovering the second one because it has premises that make it quite superfluous compared to the others.
Valkyria Revolution is instead playable on PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4, even if it leaves the time it finds since it is disconnected from the others.
We recommend absolutely starting from the first one because it is recoverable on many platforms and lays the foundation for the entire series.
You are free to start with 4 as well, but you would lose many references and would have to deal with a gameplay equal to that of the first but improved. In doing so, it would become really difficult to get used to similar but slightly more raw gameplay.
Why play Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles is one of the best series of strategy based on the plot , being able to boast a quite particular gameplay combined with the historical proprietary graphics engine that makes everything even more magical.
If the two reasons mentioned above are not enough, we remind you that this series will not fail to make you feel strong emotions and also make you reflect on the horrors of war.
The characters are nice enough even if you may not like the use of classic Japanese animated series stereotypes. Despite this, you can’t help but sympathize with a good part of the cast, and not necessarily the main one!
The secondary characters are rich in backstory and uniqueness , so losing an ally in battle will weigh on your conscience!
The great music and lore of the series are the last two points we want to pay attention to, as they really deserve a lot and give more gravity to the war setting.
The only drawback of the series is some unfortunate localization for language purists and a technical sector that now feels the weight of the years. We do not consider them serious defects, but we report them to you anyway for correctness.
Are you ready to turn the tide of war? Gallia is waiting for you too!