Been a long time coming, this thread. I've tried to play Valkyria Chronicles three times, starting fresh on 2 platforms. My present playthrough is on Nintendo Switch, and I did get further this time (I think around a third of the way through the game).
I remember when VC first came out. I was in Japan at the time and I have a very distinct memory of it being the first game I ever saw for the PS3 I thought looked particularly good.
On the one hand, I absolutely love the game. I love the general idea, like the semi-real-time thing it's got going on, along with the game's anime WW2 aesthetic (some find it problematic, and I can see the issues people have, but that's not specifically what I'm talking about here).
But on the other hand, am I the only one who finds it a frustrating mess, and riddled with design problems?
Firstly, it has to do with how the game's instructions and messaging poorly communicate how it works.
For instance, the way the game has characters provide diminishing returns on movement gives an impression that while you can move characters multiple times per turn, you probably shouldn't – but as anyone who has played the game knows, this doesn't work in practice; if you use your Lancers and Snipers once a turn, you'll practically never hit anything and really dread having to use them. It's also really frustrating that characters miss so much, but that's just a fundamental feature of the game, so I can't offer anything more constructive than "I don't like it".
The enemies have classes the same as your characters, but they don't function in the same way, which makes this messaging flawed. For instance, I just had a mission where enemy snipers killed my snipers from beyond their range, dealing over 90% damage per-hit, hitting every time over consecutive turns – whereas my snipers have a shorter range and miss two-thirds of the time. Ditto for tanks; I can't walk near an enemy tank without it riddling my characters with bullets, but enemies seem to dance around my Edelweiss and it barely gets a shot off.
There are even stranger things; like how the mission briefings usually advise you on a tactical strategy that is simply wrong; if you do what the mission suggests, you'll usually die horribly. The mission in question advised putting snipers on a ridge; but the AI snipers (who, I repeat, seem to have a longer range of fire) just shot them to death right away. And many of the "occupy a base" missions usually just end with you running out a scout deep into enemy territory, and having him touch the flag while surrounded by enemy soldiers, like it's some kind of playground game, and not a war, where the character is going to be eviscerated in the next turn that never happens.
Then there are practical things. Like how the tanks can't decide if pressing down means they want to reverse or turn 180 degrees and drive the opposite way. The number of times I've clipped a friendly unit in a tank because I simply don't know exactly where it's going to move when I hit the stick…
I didn't even want to post this thread, because I don't want to dump on it, as I know it's much beloved and I myself really want to like it – but after my last mission, where I had a grenade miss because their max throw distance is tiny and their AoE is small, only to find I was only carrying one grenade… I guess I'm done. I don't want to boot it up again. It's just too annoying.
Can I ask, is there something to the game that I'm totally missing? I've enjoyed SRPGs in the past, stuff like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, or games like Fire Emblem Awakening. But it's just something about VC…
I would really love for someone to come along and say "you're playing it wrong", almost like I feel I'm missing some really key feature. Am I supposed to grind earlier missions? As I'm not doing that.
Anyway, Valkyria Chronicles… Is there anyone else out there who really, really, really wants to like it… But just doesn't?
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