Anyone who reads VGChartz often knows that our staff loves Valkyria Chronicles (Nick Simberg being an exception who should be stoned for his blasphemy) as we gave it the RPG of the year title for 2008 and I personally gave it a review of 9.4 one of our highest scores for an RPG to date. Vakyria Chronicles 2 was announced to a mix of elation and confusion as the series changed platforms from PS3 to PSP. I’ve been trying my best to not let this force me to buy a PSP since I don’t want to spend the money, but after getting my hands on the game at E3 it is becoming quite difficult.
The demo I played was very similar to the first game in gameplay so I will just focus on the differences I came across. One boring part of the previous game was that you could have a pretty long wait during the enemy phase as you watched them do every move and reinforcements were followed by a significant pause. This has been streamlined and now the enemy phase was instantly over unless they actually got to shoot someone.
Tanks can now be retreated and redeployed just like any other character, and redeployment in general was faster since there was no wait between retreating and redeploying. You also get to take a turn with a character immediately after redeploying them so you don’t have to use two command points on redeploying and moving.
The level I played made use of this since it was composed of two maps and after you got to the end of the first map it opened up redeployment on the second one. This would have been a slow and annoying process in the first game, but was quick and easy here. One disappointment is that the visuals couldn’t really keep the signature hand drawn look that they has on the PS3 and went for a more cell shaded anime style visual.
After my demo I spoke to the representative for Sega about some other parts of the game I couldn’t learn from a demo. According to him (and he’s 40 hours in Valkyria Chronicles 2 so he should know) there isn’t a dual language option this time around, but the English voices live up to the standards of the first game and this isn’t a big problem. Downloadable Content is being planned again and will bring back some side character favorites from the first game such as fan favorite Jann. The story starts off with the Queen of Gallia *spoiler* revealing that she herself is in fact a Darcsen */end spoiler* which sparks a civil war amongst the Gallian people. He said that the story had a slightly darker tone than the first that delved deeper into the racial prejudices between the Darcsen and everyone else.
Other new features are a class customization system which allows you to differentiate single characters based on what attributes you want them to focus on. It’s similar to the jump from regular shocktrooper to elite shocktrooper in the first game except this time you’ll get a choice between two different types of shocktrooper to upgrade to with different titles like “elite” and “commando”. Examples of how they differ would be like one having more mobility while the other carried more ammo.
Specialization in equipment is also being increased with every mission giving you resources that can then be used to make your own weapons similar to the rewards for completing missions with a certain ranking from the Queen in the first game. There is also a new class that focuses on melee combat. The rep told me that they were difficult to get into position but once they were close enough to the enemy it was basically a one hit kill most of the time.
Although I still wish that Valkyria Chronicles 2 had been announced for the PS3 I am finding it harder and harder to stop myself from buying a PSP just for this game. We’ll just have to wait and see if I have the willpower when the game releases later this Summer.