We open with a bold statement. If Valkyria Chronicles 3 had been announced for the PS3, it would have featured higher on this list. We’ve nothing against the PSP; in fact, we’ve been quite vocal in our support of Sony’s oft-maligned handheld. A PS3 Valkyria Chronicles 3, however, would have been ambrosia to our godlike hunger for more luscious tactical RPGs.
There are varying definitions of what constitutes a cult classic. If we’re saying the property in question was under-appreciated when it first appeared, it’s hard to defend the first Valkyria Chronicles in that regard. It got good reviews, people calling it one of the best games of the year. In June of this year, in fact, Guinness went even further and proclaimed it the “best RPG on the PlayStation 3,” period. That’s Guinness. As in World Records Guinness. So, people did appreciate it.
If we measure cult status on profitability, sure – Valkyria Chronicles didn’t shift nearly the amount of units Sega hoped it would. Whose fault is that? Sega’s marketing department? Yours for been so bloody obsessed with any number of mega titles we all are guilty of gravitating toward? Whatever the reason, the original Valkyria Chronicles underperformed and caused Sega to rethink their approach for any possible sequels. If idolatry is determined by an esoteric cabal-like sect of people who are fervently in love with an under-appreciated or under-performing ttle, then Valkyria Chronicles is a cult game. And when it comes to anything to do with a cult, you can be sure all bets are off.
Targeting Japan’s flourishing handheld multiplayer market, Valkyria Chronicles II was announced for the PSP back in July of 2009. From this date we here in the West have bemoaned its switch to Sony’s portable device, though the decision did pay dividends for Sega. People liked it in Japan when it launched in January of this year and, more importantly, they actually bought it this time. (As opposed to the first which was the 93rd best selling game in Japan in 2008. Trust us, Sega expected better.)
When the first teasers of the next chapter in the alt-historical Second Europan War surfaced we, just like a lot of other people, thought Sega would alternate back to Valkyria Chronicles’ home platform. Just goes to show what we know, as we were very, very wrong. Part III continues on the PSP, taking place during the same time-scale of the first game as a “side-story” to the original’s events.
The plot entails The Nameless, a penal unit of soldiers who’ve cast off their names in favour of anonymous numbers. Charged with performing the dangerous and morally ambiguous tasks rank and file soldiers would never do, the squad are entrusted with engaging a mysterious enemy outfit known as Calamity Raven.
It’s hard to feel disappointed at the prospect of more Valkyria Chronicles, regardless of the platform it’s presented on. Yes, we would have preferred another PS3 take but we’ll accept any VC we can get. Maybe if we don’t buy this one next time they’ll go back to the PSP’s big brother? Who are we kidding? We’ll be going once more into the colourful breach next year with Squad 442 of the Gallian Army. No questions asked.