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Valkyria Chronicles Demo Impressions

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I didn’t mind it when Sony packaged the SOCOM: Confrontation beta with Qore. I didn’t even mind when they bundled that MotorStorm: Pacific Rift demo with it. However, when I found out that they bundled Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles demo with the latest issue of Qore, I shook my head in disbelief. The bloody demo is freely available for European and Japanese PSN users. Bundling it with Qore is just silly, SCEA.

As fun as it is to make fun of SCEA for their peculiar strategy, let’s get down to business. I’m here to talk about my time with the Valkyria Chronicles demo. Thanks to SCEE, I was able to try this 581 MB demo and you know what? It’s surprisingly good! I came for the art the style, but I stayed for the game’s unique blend of real-time turn based strategy gameplay.

I have never seen Valkyria Chronicle’s art style done in a videogame before. It’s safe to say it’s like watching a hand drawn painting come to life. It’s also safe to say that the game’s presentation lends itself well to the old 1930’s war theme of the game. It also runs extremely well with no framerate drops to speak of.

So the game looked impressive, but I wasn’t going to stick around just because it was a looker. No, I was here to try this new fangled real time turn based strategy thing they had going on. Picture your typical strategy RPG, but remove the typical grid and tile style of play and replace it with real time third person navigation and action.

I definitely enjoyed this take on the strategy RPG genre – it’s so refreshing. Those of you who’re worried about the lack of strategy will be glad to know that there are, of course, different units with varying degrees of mobility and accuracy. You even have destructible cover and terrain to consider. And even though I could take aim manually, stat calculations were still happening in the background. You see, the reticle consisted of a crosshair and a circle. Thus, even though I had the enemy’s head on my reticle, the unit’s shots could land anywhere within that circle.

The demo consisted of a tutorial and a small skirmish where I could try a handful of classes in a very simple scenario. By the end of the skirmish, I wanted more. I took a real liking to Valkyria Chronicles simply because of how well it was made and how different everything was. I’m not the biggest fan of strategy RPG’s, but Sega’s take on the genre is something everyone should try. Now if only I could somehow squeeze this into my holiday gaming list…

For more information on Valkyria Chronicles, visit the official website. The game debuts on November 11th, 2008 exclusively for the PlayStation 3.

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