Valkyria Chronicles Catch-All

I just didn't think it was funny compared to his other videos, but I do like this game and I have been getting bored with his reviews lately anyway.*

And to be slightly fair, or to better show how consistently weird the AI is, your guys shoot the enemy when they move. It isn't just you getting shot at when you move, but everyone when they move.

*I'd rather he did an email/fan mail show every other week.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

All that said, his review mirrored my overall impressions coming out of the demo. I liked VC, but there were some turnoffs here and there that have kept me from picking it up for rental/purchase to this point.

Is one of those turnoffs the fact that you don't have a soul?

kuddles wrote:
Switchbreak wrote:

Yahtzee hates everything except Valve games. It's in his contract somewhere. I think he's often really insightful about games, but gets hung up on the his schtick as Mr. I Hate Everything.

And who can blame him. As previous videos where he talked about what he liked showed, it's hard to apply his brand of funny and abrasive humour when he's talking about how much he enjoyed something.

Every reviewer prefers negative reviews. They're easier to write, and way easier to make it funny or allow the reviewer to grandstand without getting snobby. If you're going to do Gonzo style reviews I don't see how you could go positive, except maybe by just comparing the great game to awful ones and making fun of them. Seanbaby has made a career out of this insight.

AmazingZoidberg wrote:
OzymandiasAV wrote:

All that said, his review mirrored my overall impressions coming out of the demo. I liked VC, but there were some turnoffs here and there that have kept me from picking it up for rental/purchase to this point.

Is one of those turnoffs the fact that you don't have a soul?

Yahtzee covered most of the dusty old house where my spirit used to live, but I have a couple of reasons beyond his laundry list of gripes:

I wasn't a big fan of the tactical overworld map; instead of occasionally wasting a turn to get the lay of the land, I'd rather have a quick menu down on the battlefield that floats the camera to the different units, with a smaller map that represents all unit placements on the map.

More importantly, though, I tend to prefer a little more RPG in my TRPG. Much like Fire Emblem (another big-name TRPG franchise that I'm not as fond of), there's less meat in character differences and development than I really like; character classes fall a little too easily into a hard Rock-Paper-Scissors dynamic, and individual character development is de-emphasized, if not outright removed. I realize that it's attempting to streamline the overall experience, but I like drilling down to that detail in these kind of games - why not keep that level of detail, but provide shortcuts or other abstractions in your interface for players that aren't as interested in the crunch?

I think VC and Fire Emblem (difficulty notwithstanding) both work very well as "gateway" TRPGs - the fact that Yahtzee himself seemed to recognize that he was having some fun with this, despite all of his complaints, seems to illustrate that - but it just seemed to be missing some of the key appeals that I look for in the genre.

beeporama wrote:
kuddles wrote:
Switchbreak wrote:

Yahtzee hates everything except Valve games. It's in his contract somewhere. I think he's often really insightful about games, but gets hung up on the his schtick as Mr. I Hate Everything.

And who can blame him. As previous videos where he talked about what he liked showed, it's hard to apply his brand of funny and abrasive humour when he's talking about how much he enjoyed something.

Every reviewer prefers negative reviews. They're easier to write, and way easier to make it funny or allow the reviewer to grandstand without getting snobby.

Wouldn't that kind of grandstanding actually seem snobbier than the usual review?

Anyway, the thing about Zero Punctuation is that it doesn't have to play by the same rules as other reviews; since Yahtzee doesn't have to worry about cultivating any kind of long-term relationship with a publisher for inside access, he can sound off with relative impunity. Even if he veers off the deep end a little bit for the sake of entertainment, I'd rather have honesty (even if it's hyper-critical) than a carefully measured dictation of the game's features.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Anyway, the thing about Zero Punctuation is that it doesn't have to play by the same rules as other reviews; since Yahtzee doesn't have to worry about cultivating any kind of long-term relationship with a publisher for inside access, he can sound off with relative impunity. Even if he veers off the deep end a little bit for the sake of entertainment, I'd rather have honesty (even if it's hyper-critical) than a carefully measured dictation of the game's features.

That's true, and it's what I love about Zero Punctuation. A while ago I made the (probably hyperbolic) comparison to the film critic Pauline Kael, because she was similarly utterly honest in a kind of abrasive way on what she liked and didn't like. She would often blast movies by very well respected directors (look up some of the things she wrote about Kubrick or even certain Kurosawa movies, it's brutal) or champion movies that had been dismissed by everyone else. What annoys me about Yahtzee is that he often seems to just go through the motions of finding things to whine about in a game that he actually enjoyed, just for the sake of being funny. Which is fine, he is a comedian after all, but it doesn't really live up to the potential that the series sometimes shows.

A quick bit of thread necromancy:

I just rented this from Lovefilm and played through to chapter 7 and I don't think I'm going to bother with the rest of the game. There are the obvious flaws that Yahtzee covers - terrible UI, bad (and much too long) cutscenes etc.

I could get over those if the basic combat worked, but it's fundamentally broken. The enemy AI is terrible: it will send soldiers running straight into machine guns and certain death and will happily shoot its own units. But the command point system is the worst problem: combined with the bad enemy AI it means the enemy actually gets more powerful if you pick off weaker units because it stops wasting CPs moving them. The way it removes the advantage of concentrating forces or outnumbering the enemy removes a lot of strategy from the game as well.

I mentioned the CP problem here after playing the demo, but I was hoping the full game would work round it somehow. Unfortunately, the larger battles just show up the flaws more.

Zelos wrote:

A quick bit of thread necromancy...

...it's fundamentally broken. The enemy AI is terrible...

Funny timing because I just started this yesterday! (I finished inFamous, my 360 is red ringed, so it seemed like a good time.)

I sure hope I have a better experience. Since I suck at SRPGs, maybe this is good; I probably play like a braindead AI myself.

I think it helps to look at the maps as strategy puzzles to solve than as pitched battles. You never feel like it's a match of wits between two intelligent commanders, it is much more trying to optimize your side to get past a series of increasingly difficult dumb obstacles.

I find most strategy games are like this in singleplayer, though that may just be because I am not smart enough to play the really advanced ones.

Scaphism wrote:

But the problem you describe - killing weak AI units just means the enemy uses stronger units - is not really true. The AI will only use a given unit X number of times on a given turn, no matter how many CP he has saved up. X usually equals 3 times from what I recall.

I just experienced this in the last mission I played. I killed a bunch of enemy scouts, so the AI started using the Valkyrie woman a lot more. The AI was so bad that it wasted CP on scouts instead of wiping me out with the invincible, infinite-ammo carrying Valkyrie, until I killed the scouts.

The AI will only use a given unit X number of times on a given turn, no matter how many CP he has saved up. X usually equals 3 times from what I recall.

So they hacked in artificial limits for the AI? Surely that indicates there is a problem with the system?

I'm not sure what you mean by this:
The way it removes the advantage of concentrating forces or outnumbering the enemy removes a lot of strategy from the game as well.

either. It's definitely an advantage to concentrate your forces, particularly pairs or trios that have strong affinities for each other. A group of scounts who back each other up is brutal - one fires and the other two fire in support.

A simple example:

My tank is facing 2 Lancers. I shoot and kill one of them. In a normal "one action per unit per turn" game that would half the damage the enemy could do to my tank next turn. In VC, it makes no difference because the computer can just move the remaining Lancer twice.

The basic strategy of most combat games is to apply force to the enemy's weakpoints, to split them up and fight them one by one. If the damage output of one soldier is the same as the damage output of two, you lose that.

From what you say, it seems like they removed the basic strategy from the game, then tried to hack some of it back in with strange teaming-up rules and arbitrary limits.

Zelos wrote:

My tank is facing 2 Lancers. I shoot and kill one of them. In a normal "one action per unit per turn" game that would half the damage the enemy could do to my tank next turn. In VC, it makes no difference because the computer can just move the remaining Lancer twice.

There is a limit on how many times a unit can fire per turn. For lancers I think it's 2 shots. Each turn they regain only one shot, so if they fire twice in one turn, they will only be able to fire once next turn. Also, the AP degrades each time you use the same unit in a single turn.

Switchbreak wrote:
Zelos wrote:

My tank is facing 2 Lancers. I shoot and kill one of them. In a normal "one action per unit per turn" game that would half the damage the enemy could do to my tank next turn. In VC, it makes no difference because the computer can just move the remaining Lancer twice.

There is a limit on how many times a unit can fire per turn. For lancers I think it's 2 shots. Each turn they regain only one shot, so if they fire twice in one turn, they will only be able to fire once next turn. Also, the AP degrades each time you use the same unit in a single turn.

I'm pretty sure the limit is just the available ammo, which is 3 for a Lancer, and they regenerate one ammo per turn. It is for Lancers on your side, anyway. Snipers have infinite ammo, IIRC, so they don't even have that limit. I know I've had units killed by one sniper firing more than once. Reduced AP doesn't make any difference to damage output, either.

Again, the limited/regenerating ammo and reduced AP things seem to prove my point that they removed a lot of strategy by allowing units to move more than once, then tried to hack some of it back in again afterwards.

Zelos wrote:

Snipers have infinite ammo, IIRC, so they don't even have that limit.

Nope, snipers are also limited. I don't know the exact numbers offhand, but they will run out of shots if you try to use them more than a few times per turn.

Zelos wrote:

Again, the limited/regenerating ammo and reduced AP things seem to prove my point that they removed a lot of strategy by allowing units to move more than once, then tried to hack some of it back in again afterwards.

I don't understand your point here. The troops having limited ammo means that if you have multiple units available, they can put out more total firepower per turn than if you have just one. The strategy isn't removed and then hacked back in, it is still there. There's more strategy to it this way, in terms of decisions you have to make: If you have two lancers, they can both fire all the lances available to them for the maximum amount of damage, but you have to consider that if you do that you will only have one shot next turn. If you have just one lancer, the maximum you can do is halved, and you still have to consider whether you'll need multiple shots more on the current turn or in the future.

The game is designed to prefer small squads of effective units over numbers, which I think is your objection here. All of the missions are built around overcoming overwhelming force by outmaneuvering them - but I think what you're looking for is a grand strategy type game where the on-ground tactics matter less than overall troop strength. That is more realistic, to a degree, but it's not what this game is designed to be.

I don't think snipers have unlimited ammo. I think that the enemy plays by the same rules that you do, so snipers have 5 shots, regenerating 1 per turn, and soldiers can move once per turn but at reduced efficiency.

To your point about this destroying the strategy, I disagree. I think it changes the strategies that you can use, but it doesn't remove strategy entirely. Take your tank example. If you know there are two lancers in an area then you might want to hold your tank back until scouts/machine gunners/snipers can clear a path (for the two CP that tank costs you could knock them both out with a good sniper). Or you might want to push your tank forward with an engeneer directly behind it to povide supporting fire and repair the tank at the beginning of the next turn.

It's true the game has a different set of rules than other SRPGs but that doesn't mean it doesn't have strategy. It just means that new set of strategies need to be implemented that take the new rules into account.

Switchbreak wrote:

The game is designed to prefer small squads of effective units over numbers, which I think is your objection here. All of the missions are built around overcoming overwhelming force by outmaneuvering them - but I think what you're looking for is a grand strategy type game where the on-ground tactics matter less than overall troop strength. That is more realistic, to a degree, but it's not what this game is designed to be.

I guess what I really wanted is something like XCom, where each unit has a fixed number of action points per turn. That kind of system, combined with the realtime controls and the watercolour-like art style would have been perfect for me.

I found that the use-multiple-times-with-diminishing-returns aspect was the best thing about the game. It removed the annoyance of "this whole turn is set up around my anti-tank guy killing the tank with this shot." If your Lancer misses, you haven't blown your whole strategy, you just need to spend another CP or two. After too many misses, you become ammo limited. I think it's brilliant.

My biggest problem with the Command Points was that I was forced to bring Rosie and Largo to every mission, regardless of whether I wanted to use them or not. I wish CP's hadn't been tied to specific characters, or they were characters I liked more.
There was still enough room to customize the roster for each mission pretty well, but it would have been nice to have 2-4 more slots to work with.

But the problem you describe - killing weak AI units just means the enemy uses stronger units - is not really true. The AI will only use a given unit X number of times on a given turn, no matter how many CP he has saved up. X usually equals 3 times from what I recall.

I'm not sure what you mean by this:

The way it removes the advantage of concentrating forces or outnumbering the enemy removes a lot of strategy from the game as well.

either. It's definitely an advantage to concentrate your forces, particularly pairs or trios that have strong affinities for each other. A group of scounts who back each other up is brutal - one fires and the other two fire in support.

As for suicidal AI running right at your machine gun nests, that just doesn't happen often, in my experience. There are a large variety of missions, but most of the time you're on the move, assaulting an enemy somewhere and it's hard to set up an ambush. The shock trooper (machine gun) units are strong, but have very limited movement, so it's difficult to get them into a position where they can mow down incoming enemies repeatedly. It's great when they can, but it it didn't happen often.

As for the whole "Interception Fire" mechanic, I really liked it. I thought it was one of the best "innovations" to combat in the game. It really rewarded you for carefully choosing where your troops ended up, as it allowed you to "take actions" on the enemy turns. It also made running around a blind corner with your scout a risky - and exciting - move. Or you could play it cautiously and stealthily, and creep up to a spot and lean around a corner to look. You were free to choose, so long as you have point in your action meter left.

The complaints about cutscenes are right on point though.
I enjoyed the combat and didn't have the problems you brought up, but I did grow a bit tired of how powerful the tank was, and how you could ride the tank to victory in most maps. I had more fun once I adhered to a self-imposed rule to limit how often I used the tank.

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it more, but it's still a game I'd strongly recommend to SRPG fans.

Zelos wrote:
Switchbreak wrote:

The game is designed to prefer small squads of effective units over numbers, which I think is your objection here. All of the missions are built around overcoming overwhelming force by outmaneuvering them - but I think what you're looking for is a grand strategy type game where the on-ground tactics matter less than overall troop strength. That is more realistic, to a degree, but it's not what this game is designed to be.

I guess what I really wanted is something like XCom, where each unit has a fixed number of action points per turn. That kind of system, combined with the realtime controls and the watercolour-like art style would have been perfect for me.

Yeah, it has some similarities with X-Com, enough to draw the comparison but they are quite different in execution.

I think the game loses out a bit with how it handles character development/advancement. Or rather, it doesn't really handle it. It's kind of important who you put together, but what you can affect is very limited, and your hands are kind of tied having to bring along characters that give CP (Rosie and Largo, notably). You don't really develop any individual characters, which ultimately isn't that big a deal, but the game implies that it's more important that it actually is. There are no meaningful choices along the development arc, so you're just moving along the curve so you don't fall behind to upgraded enemies.

Sure, you can choose to level your shock troopers at the expense of every other troop, but you don't actually customize your characters in a meaningful way.

Still a fun game, but more for tactical choices (trying to figure out what's important based on the map you see, then modifying it based on the actual landscape you see when controlling a character). It's not much of an RPG in the character or party-management sense.

I just wanted to say, I called it!

AmazingZoidberg Feb 11th, 2009 wrote:

Oh, I've been meaning to say this for a while. This game, or one like it, NEEDS to be developed for the PSP. Just think about it:

+The art style should be scalable to some degree, perhaps with a more cell shaded look to suit the less powerful system.

+The 3D battle system would actually do justice to the PSP hardware, unlike a traditional sRPG.

+The active combat punctuated with frequent pauses almost screams "Portable gaming!"

+The story telling is conveniently broken into bite sized pieces, like the gameplay, lending itself to portable gaming as well.

I think that the DS could run a game like this (if substantially scaled down graphically) but I think the PSP could do it justice, striking the right balance of graphical power and portability.

SEGA, please feel free to contact me about my consulting fee.

Ugh, for the PSP. Damn. But good call.

YAY!: I actually OWN a PSP!
Awww...: I'll probably own a PS3 by the time it comes out.

Would rather a console game, but better than nothing at all.

Great news! It is a perfect fit for the system. It is the only thing I really missed when I sold my PS3 so I am happy!

Proud PSP owner here who is also exited about a portable release. Of course the $20,000 dollar question is, will it be published outside of Japan?

Bah...I wish they'd just release the original on 360.

Considering that VC has had steady, consistent sales since its release, I'm thinking we'll probably get it.

However, if it's download only, I will personally behead the person behind the decision.

It'll probably be download only. That's where Sony's going with this.

No - they deliberately and specifically said at E3 that discs were not going away.

I am going to hold them to that.

Or there will be blood on the streets.

Lard wrote:

No - they deliberately and specifically said at E3 that discs were not going away.

I am going to hold them to that.

Or there will be blood on the streets.

Yeah, but they also said they took rumble out of the PS3 controller as a service to the customer, then a year later said they put the rumble back in the PS3 controller as a service to the customer.

Sony says a lot of things, baby.

Well, I shouldn't get worked up until I actually know the status of the release I guess.

Some people are wondering whether it will even come to NA, but considering the steady, climbing sales of VC since its release, I think it's pretty much a given.

There's a catch-all thread for the sequel.

doomcryer wrote:

I got it. I enjoy it quite a bit.

Well, or I did, up until the point where they introduced flying blue woman of invincible death...
I hadn't lost a single man until she charged through five intersecting lines of fire and killed several.

JohnnyBarnstorm wrote:

That freaking mission where the big tank shows up at the base... not... fun. I must have redone that one 10 times. And the GIANT tank one... 8 times? Maybe I'm not very good.

I just finished this map, luckily the first time, and it was incredibly frustrating. For a game where the other team "plays fairly" and then all of a sudden they have a fast, super accurate, invincible character that comes in without warning and kills 7 of the 9 people within the next two turn single handedly is ridiculous. I managed to take out 2 of the 3 radiators on the tank before she arrived and had the last at 1/4 health. She decided to position herself right next to the ladder to access the last radiator.

What makes it so frustrating is that the game was getting really good. They had introduced most of the mechanics by this point and the sniper was actually effective with the help of better accuracy and a sniper rifle I had found. I enjoying grouping units, combined fire, using re-enforcements, etc. A similar situation almost happened with what you're calling the "big tank" that is in the woods. Out of nowhere he shows up and takes my tank to 1/10 health. If he hadn't turned around and exposed his radiator the next turn it would have been very frustrating.

I think this game would have enjoyed much more success if they had removed everything Japanese from it for the western audience. I watched only a few minutes of a cut scene before deciding to skip all of them. Many of the characters are also annoying. If they used more realistic character models, used actual history, and removed some of the magic, I think this game would work very well as a tactical WWII era fighting game. I don't think the western audience enjoys stories that are so clearly based on something historical, yet slightly change all the names and add in teen drama. Half of the cover is an anime shot of a blue haired woman with what looks like an umbrella.

I think both Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway and Valkyria Chronicles do a lot to make the tactical shooter / war game interesting in a modern setting, but both are held up by sticking to conventions; Valkyria Chronicles to the JSRPG genre, and Hell's Highway to the FPS genre.