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Topic: User Impressions/Reviews Thread

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Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

I set up a twitter @Th3solution for uploading screenshots straight from the PS4 with pretty much no faffing about.

Never gonna touch the obnoxious site aside from embedding those piccys in the screenshot thread and review topic! 😅


As for the actual review it was a great read during my lunch break earlier and just re-read it again! 👍

I'll be choosing MediEvil as my budget priced Sony purchase when I get round to it... but Concrete Genie sounds very different from what I usually get and I'll probably bite at some point as it does look quite charming!

Edited on by Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Ralizah

God of War will be my next budget Sony game when it inevitably goes on sale for $10 like HZD did I don't have a good feeling about it, but I'm willing to risk wasting $10 on a critically acclaimed game.

Or maybe Shadow of the Colossus. Or The Last Guardian. I have a lot of PS4 titles to catch up on.

Edited on by Ralizah

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Th3solution I read your reply in my inbox and was coming here to give props to @JohnnyShoulder for the screenshot tip, so nicely caught. I'm glad it worked; a great shot for a great review.

@Ralizah Yeah, it was weird when I wrote about The Simpsons Game and didn't have any screenshots to reference. I'm currently playing a couple other games on PS3 and it's gonna be frustrating not to be able to go "See? Look!" every other paragraph!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

JohnnyShoulder

@RogerRoger Cheers man, glad it helped someone!

We are now in a world of people being offended for other people who they think should be offended, who arent offended.

There is no longer a good time to release a game. There are only less s**t times to release a game

PSN: JohnnyShoulder

RogerRoger

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas
PC, PS3 (version played) and Xbox360 / November 22, 2006

It's the final mission of the campaign. Two terrorists are taking cover at the end of a long corridor. I score a lucky headshot, killing one of them. "God damn it," yells the other, "he owed me money!"

This random bit of detail made me laugh so hard, I had to pause the game and wipe my eyes before continuing; not because it was particularly funny or well-delivered, but because it caught me off-guard. I was so unprepared for such a human, darkly-humourous piece of dialogue because, until that point, everything had been such a very average, such a very monotonous experience. For my highlight to have been this three seconds of NPC reaction tells you everything you need to know about where this review is headed... but hey, at least there was a highlight, right?

Rainbow Six: Vegas doesn't actually open in Las Vegas. In an extended prologue illustrative of 2006 shooter trends, the game instead makes an attempt for the world record in using as many different shades of brown and beige as possible, as you trot awkwardly towards an obvious ambush south of the border. This helps to set up a predictable and paper-thin story that literally goes "Well, we're sorry everything went wrong and you definitely need extensive medical attention, but we're sending you to Vegas on this unrelated mission that's totally unrelated, honest." Sure enough, in classic Clancy style, everything comes full circle as connections are drawn via implausible leaps in logic and picture-in-picture news footage. The tone and atmosphere is authentic to the franchise; as always, people say "tango down" enough to make you think you're attending a soft drinks abstinence programme.

And at roughly eight hours total, the campaign wouldn't appear to overstay its welcome, and yet there are still moments that feel like a drag. Vegas itself is well-rendered, with a beautiful (for the time) 3D model of the Strip for you to gawp at as you chopper about between locations, but then you land and realise that all casinos kinda look the same on the inside. There are very few standout set-pieces in this large middle section of the game; you move from neon room to neon room, setting up your entry and then clearing out terrorists before finding the next transitional corridor to lead you towards the next self-contained shooting gallery. But the developers were at least self-aware enough to realise rows upon rows of slot machines would eventually get boring, with that aforementioned Mexican prologue and then an extended climax at the Nevada Dam forming bookends of location variety.

This dam finale does boast some pretty spectacular moments. It gave me GoldenEye: Rogue Agent flashbacks, proving that authentic recreations of real-world environments can match purpose-built level design any day. Unfortunately it, too, feels a little longer than it needed to be and yet, despite being drawn-out, it also contains 75% of the storyline, rushed through to a cheap cliffhanger that would've infuriated me had I not already downloaded and installed the sequel. This haphazard, mismatched tone throughout the game prevented me from forming any meaningful attachment to the characters and premise, beyond a surface-level "I like tactical military things" feeling.

Rainbow Six games have always been about your squad, whether centered around a protagonist or giving you freedom to pick and choose from a roster of grizzled-lookin' professional badasses. Since it wants to attempt to tell a more personal story, Vegas opts for the former and you're given control of Logan Keller, who sounds like his voice actor thought he was auditioning for Red Dead Redemption, y'all. Joining him are hollow stereotypes I liked to call 'Cockney Rambo' and 'Asian Computer Whiz'. They had about three good lines of dialogue between them, but mostly existed to "stack up" against doors, glitch out into the scenery, block friendly NPCs and inexplicably yell "Oorah!" whenever I asked them to maintain stealth... so, not the sharpest tools in the box, then. It also didn't help that they were wearing tactical gear near-identical to that of the terrorists, which led to a couple of game over screens after they wandered aimlessly into my line of fire and I panicked.

You can't blame me for panicking either, as the standard Tom Clancy levels of realism made death a very real possibility when faced with even a single enemy, particularly with such sluggish and unresponsive controls. Adding to the confusion is the game's presentation; whilst I'm sure they were passable back in the day, the graphics are blurry and ill-defined throughout. This can make fighting at range a chore (is that a balaclava-covered head popping out from behind cover, or is it a pixel of differently-coloured wall texture?) and gives the impression of playing a PS2 game which somebody has attempted to upscale without knowing what "upscale" actually means. This was indeed very early in the PS3's life cycle, but I can imagine early adopters looking at this and wondering why they shelled out so much for HD televisions and consoles which, frankly, aren't HD by any measurable standard.

In fact, one of the few things I could see clearly was a pair of large billboards, stuck right in the mid-mission helicopter's flightpath, advertising AXE body spray with direct slogans targeted at gamers. This jeopardised my engrossment almost as much as the numerous audio bugs which plagued the entire campaign; weapons often wouldn't make a firing noise, so you could only hear bullet impacts, and the background music would frequently just stop, never to return. Which is a shame because, despite most of it being by-the-numbers techno-tension, some of the soundtrack's more interesting moments sounded like offcuts from Homeland.

But by far and away, the worst glitch came right at the end, and was almost game-breaking. You must leave Asian Computer Whiz behind to hack a console (naturally) and defend him against waves of incoming tangoes. He is programmed to finish his hack once all enemies are down; if you leave his immediate vicinity before doing so, he'll die and the mission fails. Problem is, five seemingly nervous terrorists refused to rappel down from the balcony above us, so now I'm stuck playing chicken with this invisible auto-failure line, shooting unsuppressed automatic weapons at the ceiling, lobbing grenades about, daring the game to send these last couple of black-clad morons my way before it arbitrarily decides that I should start over. Immersive fun, this is not. I'm supposed to be playing a stealth game, not an extended "World's Worst Marine" sketch from Saturday Night Live. Maybe I should've gotten Cockney Rambo to yell "Oorah!" a couple more times.

Now that we've almost put two entire generations between us and Rainbow Six: Vegas, going back to it expecting a smooth, faultless experience was always going to be unrealistic. A victim of early console uncertainty, it might briefly scratch any tactical shooter itch you might have, and is perhaps worth a fiver as a piece of gaming history, but its brief flashbangs of genius potential can't make up for its larger mushroom clouds of issues.

Especially since, even after its cliffhanger ending, my biggest question remains "Just how much money did that terrorist owe his colleague, anyway?"

Edited on by RogerRoger

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

My the forums been quite quiet today hasn't it @RogerRoger?

I like the VAST difference in our reviewing styles. Maybe mine are a touch too factual at times... I need to inject a bit more levity into mine lol

I... probably won't touch this game at all. Ever. But it was presented in such a way that, even if terribly generic, I was engrossed in reading it. Well done!

Edited on by Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Th3solution

@RogerRoger Well done review, sir! I had been waiting to read your post until the end of my shift so I could give it the attention it deserved and it did not disappoint. The “World’s Worst Marine” level had me especially chuckling as I could visualize the whole debacle in my head. 😂
Thanks for the enjoyable read.

Or, in the parlance of the Push Square community:
Thank you for playing this so that now we don’t have to.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

RogerRoger

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy Thank you! I love the diversity of review types we get around here. I'm not sure I could ever write anything as factual as you do; my background is fiction, so I can tell a story about how playing a game made me feel, but I falter when it comes to finding interesting ways to present analytical information.

So I think I need to inject a little of your style into my writing, too. I've probably done Rainbow Six: Vegas a slight disservice by not detailing its mechanics (which are, at their core, pretty good) and have ended up painting a negative picture of an actually-not-that-bad game. For example, I never even mentioned that the game had other modes beyond its campaign, including both single player and multiplayer options (the latter of which now have defunct servers for their online elements, but it's worth noting all the same).

@Th3solution Thank you for making the time to read it, and glad you enjoyed doing so! Part of me wished the PS3 had SHAREfactory so that I could capture that glitched-out standoff, so it's nice to know my words conveyed at least some of its ridiculousness.

As for your final thought, well, you know me; always willing to take one for the team.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Ha ha well you know from the creative writing thread I started @RogerRoger (I should probably do something with that...) I'd like to hope I'm somewhat of a dab hand at fiction too.

But with these reviews, something clicks within me and I just go like a robot.

I guess it's probably cus I don't want to miss anything or give the wrong impression to people. By being factual about the mechanics and the likes... it's quite hard to give off the wrong impression that way

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

RogerRoger

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy If I may, I think it's more that you recognise the difference between writing an emotional story designed to entertain, and writing a factual, in-depth analysis of a product.

That's where my lines blur because I'll be honest, I'm less concerned with "Would people have fun playing this game?" and more with "Are people having fun reading this review?" but that's dangerous territory. As you say, I'd hate to mislead somebody, especially since games can be an expensive pastime. Since being on PushSquare, I live in fear of the day somebody tags me in a post saying "I got this game after you said it was great and it was actually rubbish, so thanks for wasting my time and money."

That's why I reckon the diversity of style around here is so great and helpful, to me at least. Always gotta be open to a fresh approach, and it never hurts to be reminded that certain things should and need to serve specific functions. It's why I'm always nervous writing about Star Wars games, because my emotions are always gonna be screaming "It was awesome!!" over any rational analysis.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

The important thing is to just embrace the approach that speaks most naturally to you, I think. There are drawbacks and benefits to every approach: Rog's style might be light on facts, but the emotional and subjective aspects of playing a game are just as important as analyses of the framerate, gameplay modes, etc. Particularly since he acknowledges and accounts for his own biases going in. He's also quite funny, which is its own virtue.

Foxy's approach has the benefit of often deep-diving into the design of these games. I gained a great deal of actual knowledge about how Jade Cocoon 2 operates, for example, just from reading her post on it. I also like the background information she incorporated into the Crash Bandicoot remastered review, since it gave me some grounding historical context for the product itself.

I expect people, myself included, will change things up and try different approaches if it seems fun or suits certain types of games better (my next two "reviews" will actually be radically different than usual, because I don't see a lot of point in going at them with my usual style). But I also expect they'll do what works out for them. And, @RogerRoger @Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy you're both fabulous at doing what you've done, and continue to do. The only thing that matters is that you continue to authentically pour yourselves into your posts.

Edited on by Ralizah

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

PSN: Ralizah

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

I'm not blushing @Ralizah... You're blushing! 😁

In all seriousness it was quite lovely to hear, thank you

The only reason Crash honestly got such a nice historical context about it is thanks to the game being a huge hit franchise and in turn the events leading up to it were well documented with some genuinely interesting facts coming out about it.

Jade Cocoon 1for example hasn't got a whole lot of info about it at all without sifting through a lot of stuff, probably even having to google translate some japanese and I'm a bit too lazy for that much effort.

Jade Cocoon 2 however had next to no info about it's development whatsoever!

Whilst most games now are quite well documented they don't usually have any interesting developmemt stories behind them unless they're more mid to low tier or maybe an exclusive.

Before settling on my current style the "little background info" bit was mostly just the game's plot before going into the pros and cons list like review.

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

KratosMD

@RogerRoger Great review mate and just in case you might be wondering, yes that audio bug where you don't hear any bullets coming out of the gun is still very much present in Vegas 2! Lol. That's just how it is with these kinds of games since Ubisoft didn't bother to patch them back in the day.

Also, if you thought Vegas 1 had funny lines, just you wait and see what Vegas 2 has to offer, such as terrorists crying like babies, and using the NATO phonetic alphabet in order to spell out internet-based acronyms: "Lima. Oscar. Lima. Over!". The lines are seriously what make Vegas 2 so freaking memorable. My brother and I still use them with each other whenever we meet, haha. We've heard them so many times by now.

KratosMD

RogerRoger

@Ralizah Thank you, genuinely. I reckon saying anything more would be overkill, so... yeah, just thank you.

@KratosMD It's good to know that the missing audio glitch is a known issue! My various PS3s have been my buggiest consoles over the years, so I always think "Is it me?" even moreso when playing games on there (thankfully, my current one is the most stable, he says with fingers crossed). Thanks, for confirming that and for the praise. I'll listen out for that dialogue when I come to the sequel soon!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

mookysam

@RogerRoger Brilliant review dude. I would say "thank you for playing this jank so I don't have to" but I've already played it in split screen on the 360, which was an interesting experience to say the least! 😂

Anyhoo, I have to agree with @Ralizah how great all the different styles of reviews we get here are. I like writing in the more emotive, descriptive style, focusing on elements that give me an emotional response. @Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy's Crash review was excellent, too and very informative.

Thank you NHS

PSN: mookysam

RogerRoger

@mookysam Belated thanks for the review praise; I can't imagine how splitscreen would run, given some of the moments I encountered... wait, no, I actually can. Yikes!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

crimsontadpoles

ZombiU on Wii U.
It is a survival horror game. Originally it was a Wii U exclusive, but disappointing sales figures meant that it was eventually ported to PC, Xbox One and PS4 as Zombi.

The game involves playing as a random survivor of the zombie apocalypse in the centre of London. You'll be guided by a mysterious character known as The Prepper, who'll watch you from the CCTV cameras as he'll offer guidance on survival. The story is fairly basic, mainly involving gathering supplies and investigating what's going on (instead of doing the obvious thing and trying to escape a densely populated city overrun with zombies).

The gameplay is first person, and involves exploring various areas while killing or evading any zombies in your way. There's plenty of back and forth between the different areas, but shortcuts and fast travel points can be unlocked to prevent the traversal from becoming tedious. The cricket bat is the primary weapon in this game, but there's a variety of weapons that can be used if you have enough ammo, such as pistols, shotguns, and crossbows. There's health packs and ammo to be found, but they are usually in short supply. The slow and careful approach is generally best in this game, taking your time to advance and gradually taking out zombies one at a time.

There are some cool London landmarks that will be visited during the course of the game, but mostly the game takes place in dark and gloomy streets, buildings and underground passageways. The flashlight will help you to see in the dark areas, but even that's risky. Zombies will be attracted by the light, so it's harder to stay hidden with the flashlight on.

There's a sort of permadeath in this, as if your character dies, then you'll start back at the safehouse again with a brand new random character, armed with only a cricket bat and a pistol with 6 bullets. It's likely the previous character will now be wandering around as a zombie near where they died, if you can defeat them then you can reclaim your items. Annoyingly, your past characters don't always show up (especially if you die multiple times), so you could lose any items they had. If any weapons are lost by this, then the weapons will generally respawn somewhere in the world, and your computer in the hideout can help find them. The permadeath system isn't as bad as it sounds, as unlocked shortcuts and fast travel can make it much quicker to get back to your previous location. Also, zombies don't usually respawn in areas that are directly related to your current objective, making it easier to get back to where you last died and continue with the story.

The real stars of the show though are the title characters, the zombies (or should that be zombis?). The zombies in this game look like actual people who have turned in zombies. They'll be wearing either standard civilian clothing or other uniform. Zombies move at a fairly slow pace, but they're still frightening and a deadly threat to the player character. The zombies in this game have a secret weapon that's common in zombie movies, but is rarely seen in other zombie games, and that is their bite. Zombies will do the standard swinging arms around thing and other attacks to reduce your health, but they'll also bite the player character if they get the opportunity to. If they bite you, then you've lost. Your character will turn into a zombie, and you'll start off in the safehouse again with a brand new character. Later on in the game, you'll get a syringe that'll offer some protection against the bite, but even then zombies will still be deadly.

Combat is alright, but can quickly get repetitive. There's a few different types of zombies to battle, but most of the enemies feel very similar. There's plenty of weapon types, but scarce ammo means that a lot of the combat will involve repeatedly hitting the zombies on the head with a cricket bat. Zombies don't work as a group, so often it'll be easy to lure zombies towards you one by one (they're attracted by your flashlight), and take them down individually. Battling a single zombie with your cricket bat is easy enough, it's only with multiple enemies attacking at once when things get tense. One annoying thing is explosive zombies, who have a canister on their back that explodes when hit. In the game's dark and gloomy environments, there's been a few times where I've swung the cricket bat at them, only realising that they're explosive zombies when it's too late. Losing in those situations feels cheap and frustrating. Occasionally zombies can seem to come out of nowhere when you're making progress on your current objective, while that is frightening but also feels a bit cheap.

Gameplay makes extensive use of the Wii U touchpad. If you've found and hacked the CCTV control panel in the current area, then its map will be shown on the touchpad. The touchpad also has a scanner mode, which let's the player use the gyroscopic controls to look around and analyse nearby objects or creatures. The gamepad is also used for inventory management, and allowing you to quickly switch between equipped items and weapons. It's also used for some tedious tasks, such as tapping on the screen a few times to remove a barricade from the door.

The gamepad also has a radar, which shows a red blip for any moving nearby creatures. That's very useful for detecting nearby zombies, but it's not foolproof. The red blip could just be a harmless bird or rat moving, and the radar won't detect any stationary zombies. So while it's helpful, there's still a lot of tension because you can't be sure of what the radar is showing or not showing.

The game carries on while you're looking at the gamepad, so it can be easy to miss a zombie moving towards you on the big screen while you're looking down and browsing your items. This does a good job at adding tension, as your character is exposed while the player is looking down and using the gamepad features.

There are some social elements to this game. Messages can be left on the walls (consisting of a few symbols from a selection of symbols), which can be used to warn other players of zombies and tell them of any useful items. Messages can be marked as "Don't Trust" if they're misleading, which helps reduce the potential for misuse. Other player characters who have died and turned into zombies will occasionally appear in your game, and you can kill those zombies and take whatever items they had. Similarly your dead characters can occasionally appear as zombies in other player's games, and a message will pop in the corner of the screen when another player kills your zombie.

One other issue with this game is the loading times (I'm playing the disk version if that makes a difference). They're long enough and frequent enough to be annoying. It's especially noticeable when you're try to open a door to another area, where you'll have to wait around for a while before it opens.

So overall, it's a decent enough survival horror game. It has a good amount of tension due to the zombies, dark environments, permadeath, and from having to occasionally look down at the Wii U gamepad while looking away from the main screen. However, the combat can get repetitive, and a lot of the dark and gloomy locations can be dull.

Overall score: 7/10

Edited on by crimsontadpoles

Switch friend code: SW-5487-8712-2210

My Anime List
You don't even know you are already dead

PSN: crimsontadpoles | Twitter:

Ralizah

@crimsontadpoles Nice.

I liked how disempowered the player was. Combat was slow and clunky, but, considering you're playing as ordinary citizens, it makes sense that you'd not be a killing machine. They also added tension to situations where I'd not even really feel threatened in other games.

IMO, the GamePad integration really made this game. It's what tied the experience together, which is probably why it was so poorly received on other platforms.

I never finished my copy, though. Thanks for reviewing this. I might return to it soon and see if I can finish it.

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

PSN: Ralizah

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

I played the PS4 version @crimsontadpoles... must've been three years or so ago as it was with PS Plus.

It was alright. The gamepad probably did add a nice layer of tension to the Wii U version. The PS4 version was quite servicable.

Don't think I died (I was on the normal difficulty I think) til I got to the boss before the tower of london? Wherever it was in the small arena it was a pain in the butt and I remember it took a few tries.

Don't think the PS4 version had any loading problems either.

Good review by the way!

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Th3solution

Two months after starting it and nearly 50 hours of gametime later, I’ve finally completed Valkyria Chronicles 4

🔚 I realize this is a long post and probably not of interest to most people, so I did a one paragraph summary at the bottom which you can jump to if you don’t want to get into the details of this niche title and are just curious about the big picture.

Untitled

Small Disclaimer
{Also, although I played the entire story mode and all the Skirmishes, I didn’t do most of the Squad Stories — only opening up about 7 of the 14 total. They take some effort to unlock and I don’t know if I will go back to do the remainder. And I have not dabbled in post game content which is pretty fleshed out with some extra content.}

Intro
I’m going to find Valkyria Chronicles 4 a hard game to review because there aren’t other similar games that I can easily compare it too. It’s a pretty unique game and unlike any other games I usually play. I guess it’s categorized as a strategy game (actually ranked #1 on Push Square’s “Best Strategy Games on PS4”) and the fact is that I don’t play strategy games. So I really don’t know how Valkyria Chronicles compares to others in that genre but I get the feeling that it’s not really a typical strategy game either. Nevertheless, it’s all semantics I guess — I may not be able to break down it’s virtues as a typical strategy game, but I can certainly tell you what I liked and what I didn’t. I just won’t be able to say, “this such-and-such mechanic is not as good as game X’s version...”

Gameplay
Speaking of its gameplay, if you’ve played the first game, then you’ll be right at home with this one. So we do have that comparison to the predecessor game (I’m ignoring the PSP exclusive VC2 and the Japan exclusive VC3 for purposes of comparisons). Outside of a few additions like the new grenadier class and an all new cast of characters, the game looks, feels, and plays just like the original.
And that’s a good thing. The first game had a charm to it that this entry has definitely built upon and it really is an overall improvement over the already excellent original game.

The gameplay is indeed very strategy oriented — each battle is a large chess match of sorts as you move and position your troops around on the battle field, each class has its own limitations and advantages and so it requires tactical breakdown of the landscape, the enemy positioning, and the kind of troops on the field between you and your objective. However, added to the turn-based strategy, there is also an aspect of role playing, relationship building, equipment management, and a very heavy emphasis on story. A huge chunk of the experience is sitting through story sections of static images with voice acted text windows, a la a visual novel.

I guess all I’ll say is that the core gameplay is an additive mixture of different elements. And it’s fairly simple and easy to pick up, but each battle has an endless amount of variations you could take towards it. The last third of the game got a little challenging, with one mission in particular making me quite frustrated. But as a whole the game is not difficult. I was able to “A” rank all the missions I played.

And I never got sick of the gameplay parts. Each battle introduces varied terrain, new enemy types, and occasionally slightly different objectives. I do wish they had more variation in the end objectives, rather than “Get from point A to point B”, as the few missions where you have to do different things like send a message or find a hidden spot were too few.
Also, there is a mechanic in the game where squad member have others in the group that they like and so if you deploy them together they get a little boost in performance, but I found this not very helpful. And I want to use the characters I like, so I would prefer a system where relationships build over time and leaves it open to form your own likes amongst squad members. Just a thought. ...Maybe in Valkyria Chronicles 5.

Story
The game is fun, but there are times when it dragged for me during the story telling segments between battles. Nevertheless, if you stick with it, the story is actually better than expected and had a nice build up of tension, conflict, and moral dilemma. Despite it having plenty of fun juvenile goofy moments, the narrative does have some subtle depth and worthwhile messaging.

Unfortunately the dialogue has too much filler content with meaningless conversation, while the narrative will also make drastic jumps to conclusions without explanation or logic.
The topic and themes are an interesting mix, and a fine line to walk for the writers. On the one hand they are tackling a fantasy style retelling of WWII and its atrocities. Some of the subject matter is pretty heavy. Then on the other hand it’s a animated, funny, light-hearted coming of age tale about a bunch of childhood friends. I’ll also give the story some leeway because it’s a Japanese game and as such does a few things like this that Japanese writers do. Heck, even the now topical Kojima, the most Westernized of Japanese game developers, has a penchant for mixing into his games a bunch of silly out of place moments that have little to do with the plot. The Yakuza games come to mind also - where as fantastic and tragic as the core narrative is, there is a lot of stereotypical frivolous fodder scattered throughout to detract from the heavy drama and to add comedy relief. Persona does this too.

So as a Western gamer, you’ve got to be expecting a little of that Japanese fluff into the narrative. But the writers did well to keep one foot planted in each side of serious and playful, but for me the story just meanders a little too much. It is enjoyable to get to know all the different squad members, but the main characters drone on about nothing entirely too often and we run into some anime tropes and humor. The localization is quite well done though, most of the jokes translate over well, even if there is a few that just miss the mark.

Again, even though it overstays it’s welcome and meanders a bit too much in the delivery, the tale of Squad E and the Second Europa War was an interesting one. I was invested in the plight of the characters and the world and was satisfied with the climactic points and conclusion.

Voice Acting
The voice acting was on point for the most part. The main characters emote well and deliver lines with passion. There were a few misses on occasion, especially amongst the side characters and I thought Raz was a wee-bit annoying with his over exuberance.

I was impressed with the diversity among the cast, as there were regional American, British, French, and Asian style characters with accompanying voice accents.
>> [small side note] I’ve always wondered how a foreign accent translates into the Japanese language voice acting. For example, when done in Japanese, is there a distinction between how a character is voiced who is British vs one who is American? How does a French accent sound in Japanese? Or, for example, the character Stanley has a heavy American Southern drawl in the game like he’s from Texas or Georgia which fits his character personality and how do they convey that nuance in Japanese? Anyways.... I digress.

The voice acting is mostly good and at times exceptional. ...Except for the dogs Fenrir and Rags, whose growls are clearly voiced by a human actor. That was a little cringe-inducing, to be honest.

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Graphics and Art
A word about the graphical presentation. With the anime-ish roots of the game the visuals are not particularly advanced or ground breaking. I played the first Valkyria Chronicles on PS3 which looked fantastic and I’m not sure how much better the remastered version looks on PS4, but VC4 looks pretty much like the first game graphically. The animation is relatively basic and limited, the vast majority of story scenes are isolated picture frames of the characters faces only as they talk back and forth with a handful of stock gestures. It’s a stylistic choice I suppose that is more in line with the storybook presentation, but it is graphically simplistic by today’s standards. There are full motion cutscenes also at the most important story points, and these are quite lovely, I just wish there were more of them or, better yet, that the whole story was full cutscenes rather than the text box depiction.

Despite not pushing the PS4’s graphical abilities, the art design is quite beautiful and I love the painted appearance of the game, the wonderful use of the color palette, and the interesting variation in each of the character designs. It’s lovely to look at. The storybook presentation is also nice to navigate and it works thematically.

Quick Summary
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a fun and addictive game, mostly for its unique take on strategy gameplay. Although the visuals and core concept have not strayed very far from the first game, it improves upon it in nearly every way. The story might drag a little and be off-putting at times due to its lack of cohesiveness and penchant for hit and miss humor, in the end it tells a pretty potent tale of love, loss, war and morality. Definitely recommended for fans of almost any genre, even for those who don’t usually like strategy games or visual novels.
I’ll go with roughly a 7.5 out of 10.

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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