In each edition of So I Tried… we jump into a game that we have never tried and see what we find. Will it be something new to love? Something new to despise? Giving the title just under an hour to see if it is the game for me no matter how bad it may be. Just having bought a Nintendo Switch as a hearty self-Christmas gift, I’ve been on the prowl for the best that the little hybrid console has to offer. It is on that quest, scrolling through the Nintendo eShop, that I found this cool looking anime version of XCOM set in an alternate WWII. With a first impression like that, how could I refuse?
What I thought it was.
Much like the hybrid console that combines handheld gaming with the home console experience, going into Valkyria Chronicles 4 I was expecting a hybrid of XCOM and Persona 5. I was also looking out for a little bit of the Gears of War franchise sprinkled in for good measure with the third person sections where you control your soldiers.
What it actually is.
My presumptions going in were pretty spot on to be honest. This is the anime equivalent to XCOM that I never knew I needed, but simply now cannot put down. Battles are intense and if you don’t properly plan ahead you will easily find your whole squad surrounded and on the fast track to becoming the latest soldiers to fall in this brutal war. The gimmick that makes this franchise stand out from other turn based strategy games, the third person shooting sections of the battles, really do make this game feel unique in its genre and fully immerses you into the intense firefights. Controls are basic and the shooting isn’t anything on the level of Gears of War, but actually getting to control your faithful squad really connects you to each character and makes those impossible to make shots even more satisfying to accomplish. Outside of the many grand battles you embark on you also spend your time back at base camp. Here you maintain and customise every soldier’s gear, really making you feel like their commander and that this is your squad. Helping to build this unbreakable connection between you and your comrades is just how fun and lovable each and every member of your army is. Whether it be through their quips on the battlefield or how they act through the many static but interesting cutscenes, you can’t help but fall for your gang and want to do everything in your power to keep them alive.
Will I keep playing?
Absolutely I will keep playing. Every battle feels like a completely new challenge to overcome and getting to see your favourite sniper or shock trooper grow and accomplish even more heroic feats is a pleasure I can only assume is the same as seeing your child walk for the first time. Plus on top of all this you can pretty much save at any point in the game, making this possibly the best example of a Switch game that we have: A grand and epic strategy game fit for the widescreen cinematic experience, but flexible enough for the rushed commuter to play for 30 minutes or so without the fear of not being able to finish a mission and having to restart the whole campaign over again.