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  1. #1

    [NSW, PS4] Valkyria Chronicles 4

    The demo is available on the Japanese PSN and consists of three missions from the main campaign (prologue, chapter 1, chapter 2), two skirmish maps, and an exclusive mission that unlocks after completing the story missions. Data from the demo can be carried to the main game with the exception of money and experience you gain in the exclusive mission, as that features a predefined set of characters at a higher level with weapons to match.
    The Switch is getting the game later (at least in Japan), hopefully there will be the same demo available before the game launches on Nintendo's console.

    Seems that Sega went back to the very first VC when developing VC4 and it plays almost exactly like that game. Well, feels exactly like VC1 with slightly rebalanced classes, the same weapon upgrade system, and game order. The two main differences are the new class, mortar infantry, and tanks only taking one CP to move.
    In all the missions this demo has scout abuse was just like the first game, although the whole class is a tad more fragile and has less movement range (but then again I'm basing this comparison to endgame scouts from VC1, so my perspective might be a bit skewed).

    Main characters are Claude, tank commander (not as dreamy and good-looking as Welkin but he'll do); Raz, shocktrooper; Kai, sniper; Reil, mortar. The extra mission features Minerva (normally acting as Claude's commander and drill instructor in the training grounds) as a scout. Having tanks consume only one CP means it's actually feasible to use them to clear infantry behind sandbags (you get mortar shells right from the start) but scouts still feel the most useful units of the whole game thanks to their movement range and relatively long-range and accurate rifles. Grenades have probably received a range nerf, and snipers appear a bit less accurate than before.
    Mortars are fun, and possibly a bit overpowered. First they can move and fire in the same turn (meant as one CP) and can target any enemy within their firing range you've detected, even if none of your units have a direct line of sight to them; this proved particularly devastating in the exclusive mission were one scout was able to circle the map designating enemies, and one mortar unit decimated large groups of enemies, clearing the way for the same scout to ultimately capturing the enemy's camp. It wasn't done in a turn, but I feel that mortars should, at the very least, be allowed to fire only on units you have a line of sight to. I get this is a good representation of this kind of weapon in real life but in a game it feels a bit too much.
    And mortars also get opportunity fire. It's not very accurate against moving units (especially scouts) but they did kill a couple of units this way.
    Of course the enemy has them as well, and getting shot at is actually fun.
    First it forces you to zig-zag (and maybe heading straight into a stray shell), second after an explosion gets you the music goes soft, a "ziiing" tone plays, and the vision gets blurry and slo-mo for a few moments.

    The Canvas engine is absolutely wonderful here and the game runs without a hitch even during the exclusive mission, which is set in a snowy field. All units and explosions leave trails in the snow and while the mission didn't feature any weather effects like storms or similar, it was still a pretty impressive display of technical and artistic prowess. If anything character design seems a bit...a lot more fanservicy than before. I absolutely love Raita but I still dispute that skirts are the best attire to wear on a battlefield. Yes, VC1 had those but it wasn't as open as here. I know there will be so pretty advanced technology as well, on which I still reserve final judgment, but in the same fashion as Valkyria Azure Revolution, it doesn't sit particularly well for me. Again, yes, VC1 had monster tanks, land battleships, and a final boss out of a JRPG (not to mention Valkyries), but...mhmm. OK, I'll comment on that once I get the final game and have a good overall idea. At least characters aren't charging in battles wielding swords rivalling those found in Monster Hunter or God Eater in size.

    The demo lasts for three to five hours (depending on how fast you clear missions and if you want to hit the level cap with all classes) and it's a great showcase for VC4. I've particularly liked the story missions, that at first seem to follow the structure of the first game but then throw in some interesting twists. They also do a good job in getting players used to some of the more "exotic" classes (snipers, engineers, mortars) with their objectives, and the only downside of this demo is that now I'm even more restless about Valkyira Chronicles 4.
    Last edited by briareos_kerensky; 30-03-2018 at 09:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Got the demo, its fab and looks amazing. Amazing how well Canvas tech holds up, SEGA should have made far better use of it.

  3. #3

    Last edited by briareos_kerensky; 03-03-2018 at 08:17 AM.

  4. #4
    Those were some good first impressions to read Briarios. I've played the first mission and am part-way through the second. I will return to it though as I do like the VC games quite a bit and although this one mirrors VC1 in some ways, taking inspiration from potentially the best entry in the series is no bad thing.

    The question I have is, do I pick this up for the PS4 whilst I'm in Japan or do I hang fire when it or the Switch version comes out in the West later this year?

    I'm so spoiled

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy View Post
    The question I have is, do I pick this up for the PS4 whilst I'm in Japan or do I hang fire when it or the Switch version comes out in the West later this year?
    Do like I'm doing: pick up both.

  6. #6
    Just an heads-up: the demo is up on US online stores for Switch, PS4, and XBO. I think Europe as well but I'm not sure.

  7. #7
    Played the demo for a little bit on a docked Switch.

    The game runs very smooth, so far no slowdowns, maybe somewhat slower loading times with portraits in book mode and headquarters. Resolution doesn't look full 1080p, there's FSAA but jaggies aren't as bad as in Ys VIII, shadows are blockier, and backgrounds aren't detailed as on the PS4; tank textures for some reason are worse during cutscenes than during the game, although I've used Squad E's tank once.
    The lower resolution is very evident in certain parts of the GUI, with text on the splash menu and deployment screen particularly guilty of bad scaling. It reminds me of Valkyria Chronicles Remaster, but not as bad or widespread, backgrounds aren't affected. Apparently Sega/the Valkyria Chronicles team don't like applying smoothing whether in Photoshop or directly in game.

    The demo only has English voices and aren't that bad, though Riley, Claud, and Raz (the main characters) are the worst of what I've heard; Riley in particular sounds like a stereotypical valley girl. Sound mixing is 5.1.

    Then again, it's portable Valkyria Chronicles, this kinda trumps everything. I'll see tomorrow how the game runs in handheld mode. I'm most interested to see how ValChro4 on Switch will run on the last mission of the demo, which on the PS4 featured deformeable snow.

  8. #8
    Just booted up the PS4 version, it's looking good. Still surprised the framerate isn't better though, and that horrible white fog that surrounds the edge of the screen is still there like it was in VC1. Pop up at the start said you can import your demo save data to the proper game and unlock a bonus accessory.

  9. #9
    No deformable snow on the Switch, but the game runs exactly the same in docked and handheld mode. The only thing is that in handheld the small screen limits the details you can get at a glance.

  10. #10
    I've been playing the final retail version for a few days now, just finished mission 10 which awarded me my lowest rank so far, a B. The system is almost the same as the first VC, so I was able to get A ranks in every other mission (story, secondary missions, skirmishes) with little trouble.
    I like that VC4 mixes some elements from VC2 and VC3, mainly the APC and the ability to create small squads around leaders (character with an AP badge) to have units like Lancers and Grenadiers move a little faster. However I've used the these two features once since their introduction, I've been using and abusing Scouts in every mission; Scouts are level 14, just promoted Shocktroopers and Engineers to 11, the remaining classes lag behind around level 4 and 5.

    I 'm quite enjoying the game but I would have preferred a bit more variety and new things compared to VC1.


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