Valkyria Chronicles III: Unrecorded Chronicles Extra Edition

While the first and second installments of Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles franchise received North American localizations, the third would remain in Japan, given lackluster sales for the series’ first sequel on the PlayStation Portable, although the recent announcement of a PC port for the first entry gives the pantheon a glimmer of hope outside Japan, sparking hopes that perhaps its successors will receive similar treatment. As most roleplaying game developers have accomplished, Sega would release an updated version of the third game entitled Valkyria Chronicles III: Unrecorded Chronicles Extra Edition, which provides an experience on par with its predecessors.

The structure of the third game’s tactical battle system largely resembles that of the first sequel, with pretty much all fights having multiple maps where, when the player selects one of their characters on the battlefield, the game goes to where that ally is on the map, the player able to move them around, aim their weapon at an enemy, and attack. Victory requires the fulfillment of certain objectives such as occupying one or more of the enemy’s camps from which they can draw supplemental antagonists or the death of all enemy units. Winning a fight nets the player experience they can invest into various attributes such as accuracy and defense, and money they can use to purchase upgrades for units.

One primary difference from the second game is that base classes no longer branch out into superior classes, although units the player uses in battles can increase in rank, gamers able to change a unit’s class outside fights. It’s possible to spam specific units during the player’s turn, although doing repeatedly will each time reduce the character’s movement capabilities. The adjustable difficulty, as in the second game, makes the third accessible to newcomers and veterans alike, although fights can occasionally be long and without reward if the player loses, enemy A.I. can be somewhat incompetent, and investment of experience into accuracy doesn’t guarantee a complete chance of an attack hitting the enemy. Even so, the gameplay helps the latest Valkyria Chronicles game more than hurts.

Interaction is close to perfect, with unit management, shopping, and advancing the game in the right direction, given a linear structure, hardly being problematic, alongside the PlayStation Portable’s built-in sleep mode, the only real flaw being the difficulty of viewing playing time, which the player can only see on saved files.

The events of the third game take place parallel to those of the first during the Second Europan War, focusing on a penal unit known as the Nameless whose members seek to redeem themselves by performing dangerous missions for Gallia. The narrative is fairly enjoyable for the most part, the only real shortcoming being that antagonists whom the player defeats repeatedly in various missions don’t necessarily stay dead.

Hitoshi Sakimoto returns to compose the third game’s soundtrack, which is enjoyable as well in spite of some recycled tracks, and the Japanese voice acting is functional in spite of the actors, as usual, not saying English words and terms the way Anglophones normally would.

The third entry utilizes a visual style similar to that of its predecessor, mainly using static art to narrate the storyline, with the actual battle graphics still being good in spite of some occasional bland textures on the scenery.

Finally, the third game is fairly lengthy, taking more than fifty hours to complete, a New Game+ very well enhancing lasting appeal. In the end, Valkyria Chronicles III is for the most part an excellent sequel that hits most of the right notes and doesn’t leave too much room for improvement. The battle system is still as solid as it was in its predecessors in spite of some negligible flaws, the game interfaces very well with the player, the narrative is enjoyable, the soundtrack fits the game well, the visuals show plentiful polish, and there’s plenty reason to come back for more after completing the game. Although Anglophone players missed out on an official English version of the third game, a fan translation is luckily available for them to experience the title.

The Good:
+Solid tactical battle system with adjustable difficulty.
+Excellent control.
+Superb parallel narrative to the first game.
+Great soundtrack.
+Nice visuals.
+Good replay value.

The Bad:
-Long battles.
-Enemy A.I. can be bad.
-High accuracy can still miss often.

The Bottom Line:
Another good Valkyria Chronicles games North American gamers missed out on.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation Portable
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 9/10
Story: 9/10
Music/Sound: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: 50+ Hours

Overall: 9/10

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