Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical RPG franchise created by Sega that is known for its blend of real-time gameplay and turn-based strategy combat along with its unique watercolor visual style. In most entries of the series, the player takes control of a squadron of military soldiers with an occasional tank unit in order to complete various missions. The franchise has spawned the original PlayStation 3 title as well as several spin-offs, sequels and ports.
The franchise is mostly set in the continent of Europa during the Second Europan War (EW2), a fictional analog to World War 2-era Europe. The small country of Gallia finds itself under attack by the great Autocratic East Europan Imperial Alliance (the "Empire") to its east, who seek to attack a confederation of states known as the Atlantic Federation to its west and also to secure its stores of "Ragnite" which powers most of the machinery in the world. However, the country of Gallia calls up its militia and armed forces to stage a counterattack, eventually drawing enough blood to force the Empire back behind its borders. A majority of the Valkyria Chronicles series is either set during this conflict in Gallia or during other theaters in EW2, the only exceptions being Valkyria Chronicles II (which is set after the war( and Valkyria Revolution (which takes place in an alternate universe).
The peaceful town of Bruhl in the country of Gallia finds itself under attack by a massive armed Imperial force, as Alicia Melchott of the local town watch tracks down a strange man who seems to be recording the nearby wildlife. The young man, Welkin Gunther, helps Alicia repel the invaders from the town. Being the son of a legendary general, Welkin then ends up leading Squad 7 with his custom-made tank, the Edelweiss, and proves instrumental in helping Gallia repel the invading Imperial force from its borders.
Valkyria Chronicles 2
With the end of EW2, Gallia only has a short-lived peace. The new leader of Gallia, Archduchess Cordelia Gi Randgriz, has revealed her Darcsen lineage. This new information sparked a rebellion within the country, as the angered citizens and nobles formed the Gallian Revolutionary Army, led by the aristocratic House Gassenarl, with the goal of purging the Darcsens from the country and taking Cordelia off her throne. As the regular army cannot mobilize against an internal threat, the task ends up falling to Avan Hardins and Class G from Gallia's Lanseal Academy.
Valkyria Chronicles 3: Unrecorded Chronicles
During EW2, the history books never mentioned a pivotal force that helped Gallia beat the Empire: The 422nd Nameless, a suicide squad full of traitors, troublemakers, and other criminals who are stripped of their name and rank and are given missions that are near-impossible for the regular army to do, lest they be thrown in front of a firing squad for refusing. Lanseal graduate Kurt Irving, framed for a crime he didn't commit, is forced to take on the role of Captain for the Nameless as "Number 7" while he tries to help his squad survive long enough to clear their names.
Valkyria Chronicles 4
At the beginning of EW2, the Atlantic Federation lost 30% of its territory to the Empire's blitzkrieg tactics. Trying to put a quick end to the war, the Federate's "Edinburgh Army," composed largely of volunteers from around Europa, launches Operation Northern Cross. The Operation would use smaller, faster military units to head north and invade the capital of the Empire to put a quicker end to the fighting before the Empire could dominate the continent. Squad E, led by Claude Wallace, would prove instrumental in this Operation.
A spinoff completely unconnected to the mainline Chronicles universe, though it shares some similar concepts. Revolution tells the story of the "Five Traitors" who secretly pushed the tiny nation of Jutland to war against the massive Ruz Empire. The Traitors hoped to both end Ruz's stranglehold over Jutland and to kill the Ruzi Emperor for kidnapping their foster mother several years ago. The story is told in medias res as a discussion between a Jutish grad-student and his teacher, Richelle, who reveals to the student the secret history of the war not written in his text books.
Common Gameplay Concepts
The mainline Valkyria Chronicles titles all share similar gameplay mechanics, in that the player must command a small squad of allied troops to victory, with the condition usually being to capture the enemy base in the fewest turns possible for the highest ranking. Sometimes, the objective might be different, such as holding out a position for a set number of turns, or killing all enemies in the level.
The player's side begins with a set amount of Command Points (CP) that are spent to move and attack individual units. The selected unit has a set amount of Action Points (AP) that they can use to move around the battlefield, capture enemy bases, and take one of the following actions (actions may not apply to all unit classes):
- Attack with primary weapon
- Attack with secondary weapon
- Attack with grenade
- Heal self or nearby ally
A single unit can be used multiple times in the same turn, provided the player can spend additional CP on them, but their max AP will decrease, limiting the amount of ground they can cover in a single turn. If a commander is alive on the battlefield, the player can also issue a special order that will allow them to buff or heal units at the cost of some CP.
While moving around the map, enemy units or vehicles may perform Interception Fire if the unit enters their line of sight and weapon's firing range. Enemies attacking the controlled character in this manner have infinite ammo, but may be forced to reload depending on their weapon and rate of fire. When the unit switches from movement to combat mode, the enemy will stop firing until the unit's action is complete. An enemy unit might also counterattack if they have any HP left after the chosen unit's attack, depending on their unit type and firing range.
If a character loses all HP, they are downed on the battlefield. Allied units can usually be saved if another allied unit touches them on the battlefield before a set number of turns have passed, being forcibly "retreated" to base. However, if an enemy touches a downed ally, or they are not rescued in time, they are fatally wounded and unable to be used for the rest of the game. If the ally is important to the story, this may result in a Game Over situation.
The turn ends when all CP have been exhausted, or when the player manually selects "End Phase," in which the enemy AI will perform their actions.
The player will balance their squad's strengths and weaknesses, both in terms of the unit's job and each individual unit's quirks (Battle Potentials) that can be useful or harmful, depending on the situation.
Players are encouraged to try experimenting with the various units, sometimes even unlocking special side-stories where the character reveals more about their personal backstory. By completing this sidestory, the character can even have their negative Potential replaced with a positive one, or upgrade an already-positive Potential. Some characters' Potentials may only change as the main story progresses.
Every game has a Headquarters where the player can upgrade multiple units at once by spending accumulated experience points (EXP) on a class, "training" every unit of that class at once. At certain points, increasing the level of a class can unlock new positive Potentials for every member of that class, new Orders for the commander, or upgrade the class itself and allow everyone in the class to use improved equipment.