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Previously thought to be a one-off treat for Playstation 3 owners that fused the genres of third-person shooting and strategy into a unique blend of a game, Valkyria Chronicles brought to the medium a highly original, valuable and memorable gameplay experience for many. That the series' subsequent outings changed their format from the PS3 to its' portable brother, the PSP, caused many of the title's fans to be disheartened as they saw their beloved franchise become downsized.

The main trio in Valkyria Chronicles 3

Thankfully, little was lost in the transition as VC2 retained the quality gameplay of its predecessor whilst adding interesting tweaks and changes to the formula. Now we find ourselves with the demo of the 3rd in the franchise, proving that the Valkyria Chronicles series hasn't died a death on the PSP after all and that there is plenty more still to be offered in the world of Gallia with Valkyria Chronicles 3.

The demo sees players take control of a variety of squad members in the unit referred to in the game as Nameless and includes the main protagonist who was exiled from his previous squad, Kurt Irving. Joining him is a young woman with valkyria powers flowing through her body courtesy of her bloodline and carrying the nickname of shinigami (meaning Death in Japanese) on the battlefield due to her being the last surviving member of her former squad, Riela Marcellis. Finishing the main trio in VC3 is a Darcsen who is out for revenge due to her parents being murdered by a member of the Valkyrie race, Imuka.

These three take the lead in the squad that is made up of various other castaways who joined Nameless' ranks along the way as they face off against an opposing Imperial Army faction named Calamity Raven in the fictional continent of Europa (the game's take on Europe).
Nameless Squad member #7, Kurt Irving

Nameless Squad member #13, Riela Marcellis

Nameless Squad member #1, Imuka

Players will get to experience two missions which will firstly see them fight off a huge tank attacking a floral village reminiscent of those found in The Netherlands. The second mission has players guide their own squad members and tank through a battlefield littered with bunkers armed with cannons, enemy soldiers and lancers to reach and seize the enemy's main outpost.

The game's control method carries over from that of its predecessors with characters given a set amount of movement to manouver into a suitable position, take aim on the enemy and either attempt to get a good head shot or two in, strike the opponent's body, throw a grenade their way or use some ragnaid for healing purposes. Ambitious players may choose the lancer class out of those available (this time around there are seven classes to choose from) and attempt to take an enemy tank or gun turret out in one fell swoop.

Nameless squad's Imuka in action

So far, so familiar ground. Where the battles in VC3 spice up, however, is in the character-specific potentials that are included this time around, referred to in the game as the SP system. These take one turn each from the player's existing stock when they are in their Action Phase (your turn in the game) and provide individual characters with bonuses such as Kurt's Direct Command which allows him to pick up two allies and bring them along with him to provide extra firepower in an assault.

Riela's Valkyria mode provides her with temporary invincibility together with the ability to use the trademark sword and shield of the titular Valkerie race to inflict a killer blow on the enemy whilst Imuka's Open Fire sees her laser sword target several enemies at once to inflict a multi-hitting blast on the opposition. They help spice the battle up and allow players to turn the tide in the event the current fight is not going according to plan.

Riela using her SP move, Valkyria

The game's story so far appears to focus on the conflict between the Nameless squad and Calamity Raven although if the previous games are anything to go by then another force will come into play later in the game that will assist in mixing things up even more (cameos of popular characters from VC1 & VC2 are reported to appear in this latest instalment in the franchise).

Going by the content of the demo, it looks like the VC series is due to experience a promising future with the release of Valkyria Chronicles 3in Japan in January 2011 and a Western release hopefully not too far behind.

The demo comes highly recommended for ardent Valkyria Chronicles fans or those who like a strategy game on their PSP with charm and energy in abundance. I can say with certainty that VC3 could be the proudest ride of the valkyries yet.

1 comment:

Clarke O'Gara said...

I love the way you're integrating clips into the blog now. Looks very slick indeed.