Also on: PS4, PC, Xbox One
If you’ve mainly stuck with Nintendo the last few console generations then you’ve probably only heard of Valkyria Chronicles, which is Sega’s unique-looking strategy RPG set in an alternate WWII universe. You’ve also probably drooled over the graphics and the prospect of having another great SRPG on a Nintendo platform which finally your prayers have been answered!
Except it’s also possible you played Valkyria Chronicles 4 first, since the port of Valkyria Chronicles for Switch is actually the second game of the series to land on Nintendo’s turf. Regardless of where you started, it’s no surprise that another one of gaming’s beloved franchises is moving onto the Switch and with it brings along the draw of a truly portable way to dig into a deep and rewarding strategy game.
It’s also no surprise that it turned out to be a very solid port, and one that was very pleasing to discover. While both this game and Valkyria Chronicles 4 are using the same engine, we’re playing a game that was originally a Playstation 3 exclusive before it was ported to other platforms, so the task of moving it onto a less powerful machine with the Switch means the risk of technical issues is a possibility.
So the issues that I found were some frame rate drops at strange points. This wasn’t enough to affect the gameplay, but if anyone is expecting a completely flawless experience then they might want to be aware that on occasion you could see some dips. Otherwise audio and visuals are here in all their glory and it’s definitely a sight to behold in docked or portable mode which look and play the same from what I could tell.
In terms of gameplay you’ll be doing the usual as you command a group of units ranging from typical fare like Scouts, Shocktroopers, Snipers, Engineers, Anti-tank and so on in a turn-based game of war. The map is presented in a top-down 2D view that resembles a drawn sketch of what the battlefield looks like, where you can select a character to move. Doing so will use CP points of which you have a limited allotment, but depending on how you spend them the game gives a lot of flexibility since unused CP points will carry over between turns and can be spent however you want. If you want to use 7 on one unit to get them across the map then go for it! The choice is yours.
Controlling units takes place in a third-person over the shoulder view that feels familiar. Each unit has limited range and can only move a certain distance before having to stop. They can also use these turns to fire or perform an action. The difference between Valkyria Chronicles and most SRPGs is that your units aren’t locked to a map and have free roam of the game map. This is where things get interesting as combined with the way CP points are used and the freedom of movement means that battles can be played out in a variety of ways.
This is what I really like about the series as it makes every mission feel dynamic and unpredictable. It also helps that the story and characters feel very grounded and like something is actually at stake here. Stopping back in at your base between missions to level up unit types and outfit your squad helps complete a nice mix of combat and management in the core game that makes the whole experience very satisfactory.
At $20 it’s also dirt cheap in terms of what you’re getting, being a deep game with lots of extra content in side skirmishes and the DLC which the game saw after release. In terms of a great bargain it’s hard to get better than a game like Valkyria Chronicles and the quality of this port on the Switch means it’s a must-buy for anyone curious about the series or considering adding it to their Switch library. And the only thing that makes an SRPG better is the portability of having it around to make dull moments like bus rides and family events breeze on by.
Sega provided us with a Valkyria Chronicles Switch code for review purposes.