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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: SEGA
Developed By: SEGA
Genre: Action RPG
Players: 1
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: November 4, 2008
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

There is no mistaking the fact that SEGA has created a masterpiece in the form of an epic JRPG being told through the pages of a book. While the concept isnít original, SEGA has utilized this, as well as several other traditional features within RPG titles to create the ultimate experience, which is exclusive to PlayStation 3 owners.

Set in the an alternate 1930ís, Valkyria Chronicles documents the struggle of Gallia, a neutral providence caught in the middle a conflict between two Europan superpowers who are vying for control over the precious element Ragnite. Through the documenting of the war between the two Europan superpowers, we learn of a gentleman by the name of Welkin Gunther, who is son of General Gunther from the first Europan War. A lover of nature and an eccentric intellectual, Welkin was returning to his home town of Bruhl to help is sister Iscara move, when several transpiring events would change his life and the life of others within the town of Bruhl. The town of Bruhl is invaded and eventually destroyed, which results Gallia utilizing the policy of Universal Conscription, resulting in Welkin, Iscara and Alicia, a fellow Bruhl native, being drafted into the Militia.

The first thing that caught my eye, and probably everyone elseís who have played the game and seen the trailer is the art style. Gone are the very-detailed environments and characters and it its place, a combination of anime and watercolor paintings. While some may argue that SEGA chose the wrong visual presentation to represent this title, however when you experience this title first-hand, you will clearly see that it was the perfect choice to help flesh out the story of the game. While the overall presentation of the game is very vivid and immersive, there are a few environments that seem to be relatively bland, which in actuality help with the presentation because more focus is put onto the character models, which are the driving force of the game. Cutscenes utilize the same visual presentation as the rest of the game, and often times canít tell when the game ends and the cutscene begin.

Another element of Valkyria Chronicles that will help distinguish it from other RPG titles is its overhauled combat system. First and foremost, all action on the battlefield is done in full 3D. With traditional RPG titles, gamers are use to checkerboard tiles that limited your position of movement. In the open-world battlefields of Valkyria Chronicles, you are interacting with nature and man-made objects. You can hide in trenches, behind city walls, trees, giant boulders, sandbags, etc. for protection. And because of these open-world battlefields you will fight within, planning out your battles are very important. If you send a scout into enemy territory, you can see where the enemy troops are positioned and vice versa. However, if you were to be killed or kill the enemy scout, you lose the birds-eye view of your opponents positioning.

Not stopping there, all the combat on the battlefield takes place within real time. You still utilize turn-based features to select which units to advance forward for attack or retreat for protection, but once that particular unit of movement, the game switches to real time, allowing you to control how the character runs, when he/she stops and if they will shoot or hide. While on the battlefield, you will have control of several different types of soldiers ranging from your Scouts, to Shocktroppers, Lancers, Engineers, Snipers and of course Welkin within the tank. The correct positioning of soldiers, both on offense and defense, will determine whether youíre successful within battle or if you need to rescue your fellow man from certain defeat.

For those who donít like to read truckloads of text on-screen, you have lucked out. The entire game of Valkyria Chronicles utilizes voiceovers to help tell the story, for communication between characters and for catch phrases each character may say when on the battlefield. For those who donít mind the on-screen text, you can enable subtitles for the game. There is also some in-depth content, which gives you more information about each character, weapon, vehicle, etc. The sound effects are very well done. You can easily tell when you have struck your opponent with a bullet, or if it just wizzes by. Each weapon has its own distinct sound when firing, regardless if itís a sniper rifle, machine gun, regular rifle, or a tank destroying lancer.

Valkyria Chronicles is the RPG title that gamers, especially American gamers have been waiting for on the Playstation 3. Whether you go out and buy the game outright or simply rent the title, it is definitely well worth your time. With an in-depth combat system, engulfing storyline and seemingly endless possibilities on the battlefield, Valkyria Chronicles is the one title not to be passed upon this holiday season.


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