Senjo no Valkyria 3 is the third game in Sega's Valkyria Chronicles franchise and the second to be released on the PlayStation Portable. The series is known for its distinctive art style and its blending of strategic role-playing elements and third person action. Unlike the rest of the series, Senjo no Valkyria 3 was co-developed between Sega and Media.Vision, a company who had previously created the Wild Arms series as well as several entries in Sega's Shining franchise. The title was published by Sega in Japan on January 27, 2011 and an enhanced "Extra Edition" was released a few months later in November that contained additional content, including a new epilogue and several DLC missions that were originally sold separately.
Due to the low sales of the previous two Valkyria Chronicles games in the West, and the declining popularity of the PSP, Sega announced that it would not localize Senjo no Valkyria 3. Because of Sega's announcement a group of fans teamed up to start the Valkyria Chronicles 3 Translation Project, whose goal was to create an unofficial English translation patch for the game. The project was never finished but a beta patch was released by the team on Christmas of 2013 that translated a majority of the game's text.
Senjo no Valkyria 3, much like the rest of the series, has a turn-based combat system featuring direct action elements. The system, called BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zones), involves the player commanding a squad of soldiers on the battlefield. Each turn the player is given a number of Command Points which can be either used to issue commands which influence the state of the game world (heal characters, improve accuracy, improve defense, etc.), or used to activate a unit of the field. If the player activates a unit, they enter Action Mode and move the character from a third-person perspective. Their movement is limited by the amount of Action Points they have, represented by a movement bar, that decreases as they move. While in Action Mode, enemy units will fire upon the player and the player can usually undertake one action during this time, such as shooting their gun or healing a nearby unit. This is called Targeting Mode and once in this mode enemies stop shooting at the player and they can take their time performing their action. If firing on an enemy, and the enemy survives the attack, the enemy will then get a chance to counterattack before the player can move again.
In order to successfully complete a mission, the player needs to satisfy certain objectives. These include such things as eliminating all enemies, eliminating certain enemies, capturing enemy bases, collecting objects scattered around the map, escorting units, or defending a base for a given amount of turns. Once a mission is finished, the player is given a rank based on their performance. Unlike other strategy games where speed, the amount of units destroyed and the amount of allies lost are taken into account for the player's rank, Senjo no Valkyria 3 only grades the player on the number of turns used. The fewer turns the higher the grade, which determines the amount of experience points awarded for the mission. Experience points can then be used to upgrade the player's army with higher states and new abilities.
The soldiers that make up the player's army fall into five classes, carrying over from Valkyria Chronicles II:
- Scouts: Highly mobile infantry that carry rifles and grenades. Very good at capturing bases quickly and their combination of grenades and rifles give the unit strong anti-personal abilities and range.
- Shocktroopers: Mainly an anti-personnel infantry unit. Carries a sub-machine gun and grenades.
- Engineers: The unit serves as both a medic and tank repairer. They are less hearty than other classes in general but, although their pistol is weak at a distance, they can do good anti-personnel damage at close range.
- Lancers: An anti-tank unit that carries an anti-tank lance which can do significant damage to infantry but, due to its limited ammunition and difficulty in aiming, its best used for destroying tanks and heavy gun placements.
- Armored Soldiers: Their large shield protects them and surrounding allies from fire. The unit can also remove land mines and their hammers do decent anti-personnel damage without any chance for a counter attack.
Senjo no Valkyria 3 allows all of the characters to change their class at any time by changing weapons, which was something only the main character could do in Valkyria Chronicles II. Although certain characters do perform better as certain classes. Another new change for Senjo no Valkyria 3 is that the leveling system no longer upgrades specific classes but instead the entire squad is strengthened through increasing one of five parameters by using the experience points gained in battles.
Potentials are character specific traits that are activated during Action Mode. They can be beneficial, like giving a unit increased attack, or harmful, like having the character just end their turn. These potentials can be activated by the environment or by what actions the character performs. The are two basic types of potentials: Personal Potentials are innate traits a character has and can only be affected by story events. Battle Potentials are acquired as the character grows and are always beneficial. Senjo no Valkyria 3 also has a master table that allows the player to chart out their character's growth to achieve really powerful Battle Potentials based upon what class the character is assigned.
Kurt Irving, Reila Marcellis, and Imca have special powers that the player can activate by spending SP (special points) that are shared across the squad.
Kurt Irving: Direct Command
Allows Kurt to move without using any Action Points and nearby allies will follow him and be protected from enemy fire as well as assist Kurt in his attacks.
Reila Marcellis: Valkyria
This transforms Reila into a her Valkyrur form and allows her to use of her lance and shield. While in this form, Rila will be protected from all enemy fire and can use a powerful beam attack that can damage any type of unit.
Imca: Open Fire
Imca uses her unique weapon, Var, to fire upon every enemy unit currently on screen.
The Valkyria Chronicles series takes place on a continent known as Europa which resembles real-world Europe to a large degree. An important resource in this universe is the mineral Ragnite. Ragnite serves as the unobtanium in the game, a power source as well as an ore that has natural healing abilities. The mineral is used in grenades, artillery shells, armor plating, and fuel for vehicles. On the other hand, it can be refined into Ragnaid, an all purpose healing balm. Control of Ragnite mines is a huge point of contention in the world of Valkyria Chronicles and is the cause of many conflicts. The name Ragnite likely comes from the word Rageno, a proto-Germanic word for gods or powers and is the base for the word Ragnarok.
The first civilizations present on Europa were founded by the Darcsens. Darcsens share many characteristics with shunned groups in European history, most notably Ashkenazim Jews and the Romani. The Darcsens feature dark blue-black hair and often carry around gingham kerchief as a symbol of their ethnicity. They are tied to what is known as the Darcsen Calamity. Supposedly the Darcsens had achieved a highly advanced civilization that was able to refine ragnite to power many advanced technologies and weapons. They were rumored to have ravaged Europa during a large period of war known as the Darcsen Calamity. This supposedly ruined the land and set Europa back centuries. The Darcsens are persecuted for, this attributed calamity, are forbidden from having last names and are often forced into menial jobs such as working in ragnite mines or refineries.
The idea of the Darcsen Calamity comes from those who claimed to have stopped it, the Valkyrur. They arrived from the north of Europa and in the War of the Valkyrur there are said to have put a stop to the fighting amongst the Darcsens and brought peace to Europa. In truth they were an invading army who brought about the destruction attributed to the Darcsen Calamity. As the name suggests the Valkyrur seem to hold much in common with Norse mythology and the Vikings, in fact modern Europans who worship Valkyrurs as some type of gods are known as part of the Yggd sect.
Little is known about the ancient Valkyrurs except that they seem to feature spirals in their artwork and that they had the power to wield the energy of refined ragnite to give themselves superhuman strength and superhuman healing abilities. The Valkyrurs faded through intermarriage with local Europan tribes. Occasionally some are born with innate Valkyrur abilities and this as can be imagined plays an important role in the game.
Europa underwent a Industrial Revolution in the 19 century when the ability to refine ragnite was rediscovered. This led to fast growth as well as political changes. When all is said and done, two rival super powers arose in Europa at the beginning of the 20 century, the Autocratic Eastern Imperial Alliance in the east and the Atlantic Federation in the west.
The Autocratic Eastern Imperial Alliance
The eastern nations of Europa were the first to put refined ragnite into machinery and prospered. Connected by a series of ancient marriages since medieval times, a number of small countries formed into one cohesive unit known commonly as “The Empire.” The Emperor enjoys near limitless power and has the person fealty of those below him. The Alliance maintains many medieval customs and holds very conservative views. This includes very harsh treatment of any Darcsens located in its borders, usually involving forced labor camps.
The Atlantic Federation
The Industrial Revolution caused a great deal of political turmoil in the west of Europa leading to the establishment of many small independent democracies. However as the Alliance in the east became more powerful these democracies felt threatened and in response established the Atlantic Federation. While they tend to be wealthier than the Alliance, the Federation isn't as strong militarily and political strife among the member nations can cause the Federation to be slow to act.
While the two superpowers are the main drivers of events in the games, the action takes place in the independent nation know as the Principality of Gallia.. It is located directly between the two superpowers, with the Alliance on its eastern border
and the Federation on its western border. Its a monarchy ruled by the House Randgriz. They are held to be direct descendants of the Valkyrur and built castle Randgriz after defeating the Darcsens in the 3 century. Gallia was invaded by the Empire in the 19 century and the King was forced to give up his crown but was allowed to still serve as the Archduke of Gallia. In time the Archduke was able to take advantage of the democracy moments and small rebellions happening across Europa to declare independence from the Empire. With many more important provinces needing their attention the Empire couldn't afford to hold onto Gallia and Gallia won what became known as the War for Gallian Independence. Gallia then claimed neutrality with the hope to avoid further Imperial entanglements. While geography provides Gallia with natural defense in the form of the seas to the north and west and dense forest to the south, Gallia practice a vigilant form of neutrality. This means that all citizens of Gallia undergo military training staring in elementary school and continuing through university. If not part of the standing military, Gallian citizens are expected to serve some time in local militias. Trained in defensive warfare, such preparations are meant to convince the outside powers that it is too costly to try to conquer and hold Gallia.
However Gallia has both been blessed and cursed by large amounts of ragnite ore among its hilly terrain. The ragnite has quickly enriched the nation making it comparable to the wealthiest Europan nations. But the ragnite also makes Gallia a target for invasion, especially by the Alliance as they start to deplete their own internal supply of ragnite.
The First Europan War
Tensions rose between the Federation and the Alliance as the Alliance begins to expand to find new sources of ragnite to power its increasing military might. Things hit a flash point when the crown prince of the Empire is assassinated (c1915). The Alliance and Federation soon find themselves at war. Things soon devolve into a series of trench battles and while the Empire does develop tanks near the end of the conflict, they were not immediately able to turn the tide and a truce was signed between the Federation and the Alliance. During the war Imperial forces did try to invade Gallia but were turn aside by General Belgen Gunther, father of Valkyria Chronicles main character Welkin Gunther, and his division of tanks.
The Second Europan War
In 1935 war again broke out between Alliance and the Federation over ragnite control. The superior Imperial military forces soon gain the upper hand and used that initial push to stage an invasion of Gallia. The first Valkyria Chronicles gamedeals with how Welkin Gunther repelled the Imperial invasion. Senjo no Valkyria 3 takes place at the same time as the first game but features different areas and characters. Valkyria Chronicles 2 takes pace in 1937 after the war and deals with an internal Gallian rebellion.
The player takes on the role of members of squad 422, a penal squad made up of deserters and offenders given one last chance to make amends for their crimes. Their names are scrubbed when put in the squad and are instead referred to by numbers, hence the nickname of "The Nameless". The team is used as a suicide squad to carry out missions that are too dangerous for other units or controversial covert-ops that the Regular Army does not want to be associated with. They have no say in the matter and must accept every mission assigned to them under penitently of death, hence their ironic motto “Altaha Abilia” (in Latin, "always ready").
No. 7: Kurt Irving
The game's main character. Kurt is a military genius who graduated top of his class at Lanseal Royal Military Academy. He was an officer in the Regular Army but something occurred that caused him to be sent to the Squad 422.
No. 13: Riela Marcellis
As the illustration makes clear, Riela is a descendant of the Valkyrur. However at the start of the game she and those around her are unaware of her powers. All of the squads Riela's had previously been a member of were wiped out during combat at one point but, due to her Valkyrur powers, she remained the sole survivor every time. Because of this, she was considered a jinx by the rest of the army and labeled a “Goddess of Death.” With nowhere else to go she ended up in Squad 422.
No. 1: Imca
A Darcsen whose village was destroyed by the Imperial Valkyrur. Ignoring her people's teachings of non-violence, Imca spent much of her life on a journey of vengeance with her custom heavy weapon, Var, to kill the Valkyrur that attacked her home. She was eventually found by the army and became the first member of The Nameless. Headstrong with an aggressive personality, she often disobeys orders if she disagrees with them.
No. 6: Gursurg
Squad 422's tank driver and the member most respected by The Nameless that was expected to become the team's next captain before Kurt arrived. He serves as Kurt's right-hand man and was the first person in the squad to accept Kurt as part of the unit. He is also a Darcsen that hopes to be an example of how his people can fight back against the injustices of the Empire.
The commanding officer of The Nameless who, despite his responsibilities and assignments, feels very little loyalty to his superiors. He indulges heavily in drink and women but is said to be a very able commander.
The main antagonists the player faces are a squad of Imperial special forces made up entirely of Darcsens that are known as Calamity Raven.
The leader of the group and the main antagonist of the game.
An aide to Dahu that doesn't seem to be subservient to him. Lydia shows no loyalty to Calamity Raven but is instead observing the group on behalf of the Empire.
A young Darcsen boy who admires Dahau. Trying to impress the older Darcsen, he is willing to rush in and fight on the front lines.