The long awaited return of the mainline Valkyria Chronicles franchise on big screens is finally upon us.
While this latest entry isn’t quite as challenging as the original, there’s still a lot to get to grips with if you’re looking to master the series’ unique blend of tactical and real-time combat. Just like XCOM, any soldier deaths in Valkyria Chronicles 4 are permanent. Unlike XCOM, your squadmates in Valkyria all have unique personalities and backstories, making each death sting like a freshly squeezed lemon to the eyeball.
Want to make it through this anime tale of love and war without losing a single potential husbando or waifu? Here’s our selection of solid gold tips to save you from unnecessary heartache.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 tips and tricks:
Remember to Upgrade
Kicking off with a nice simple one here, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget to spend your winnings on fun new murder toys when you’re all swept up in the melodrama. Just unlocked a new skirmish or story battle? Difficulty ramps up significantly between certain missions, so make sure you pop to HQ and polish up your arsenal before diving in.
It’s a good idea to rank up your troop types evenly, too, as they’re all equally useful in different situations. Say what you want about Napoleon, but his favourite saying wasn’t “Don’t bring a Nerf gun to a laser fight’ for nothing.
Don’t skip breakfast
But wait! Completely ignore a large portion of the advice I just gave you, because this is more important. Before you spend your experience on troops, check the ‘Mess Hall’ tab in the HQ options menu.
Regularly, you’ll be treated to a short cutscene followed by the option to learn a special command. These vary in usefulness, but they’re all worth having. In fact, some of them can completely turn the tide of battle, from a bad tide full of crisp packets and hardened dog logs to a crystal clear, majestic wave, which is obviously a lot better.
Snipers and Grenadiers are your best friends
Your personal mileage may vary depending on your playstyle, but I rarely go into battle without at least two Snipers. With three shots a piece, that’s six all-but-guaranteed kills on your first turn, anywhere on the map that you can see.
They’re great for special units, artillery, or just thinning the field before things get a chance to kick off. Also, headshots remain genuinely satisfying throughout. The Sniper’s main weakness is the dastardly sandbag, so combine them with a Grenadier to blast entrenched foes out of their hidey holes, and finish them off with a high velocity round to the dome. Lovely.
Scouts are also very good
Being fairly weak on both defence and offence, Scouts seem like an obvious first candidate for early retirement once missions start regularly requiring more specialised units.
Give these loveable weaklings a chance though, and you’ll soon come to appreciate just how much ground they can cover in a single turn. Great for sprinting across entire maps to capture enemy bases. Even better once you unlock the ‘Command’ option, and can use Scouts to make up for another unit’s low movement range by ferrying them across the battlefield.
Engineers too, actually
Another unit that may seem a bit too specialised to get much use from, but real game changers in the right situation. Pair an Engineer with a tank, and you not only have access to repairs, but a practically limitless supply of shells to bombard the opposition into pancakes. Horrifically disfigured, burnt pancakes. Yum.
Whoa, slow down there mate, don’t forget about Shock Troopers
Inception fire is something you’re going to have to learn to succeed at Valkyria Chronicles, and no unit is deadlier at laying down a big bullety buffett than Shock Troopers. Useful for assaults — especially once you unlock the sandbag-ignoring flamethrower at level 10 — but absolutely deadly at defending positions. Stick a Shock Trooper or two behind cover at key choke points, and watch them chew up anything that tries to get near them.
Fill your APC with Lancers
Aside from the odd mission where they become vital to succeed, Lancers are generally the least useful of your units, since there’s very few situations where your command points aren’t better spent operating a tank.
Here’s the exception though: say you’ve got a heavy tank blocking your path, and you’ll need to spent three or four command points shelling it to death since your own tank is too far away to reach the weak spot at the back. Your APC is much faster, but unfortunately lacks artillery. Getting a Lancer round the back would be perfect, but they’re not only slow, but would likely get chewed up by the enemy tank’s machine guns. See where I’m going with this? An APC full of lancers offers the best of both worlds, and deliciously sneaky to boot.
The AI is fully aware of everything I just told you
Aside from the Lancer/APC combo, which is a Nic Reuben Special™, you can bet the AI knows everything I just told you (and also your bank account details, probably), so being aware of how to counter specific troop types is every bit as vital as knowing how to use them. Snipers work great in combination with tanks, to take out any stray lancers.
Scouts outrange shock troopers, just be careful not to run into enemy fire, since they’re quite squishy. Experiment and find out which combinations work best for you, but remember to combine unit types when advancing, since they often make up for each other’s weaknesses.
It’s not confidential, you’ve got potentials
Potentials are unique character traits that activate under certain circumstances, for good or ill. There’s a lot to learn, but it’s well worth the extra time, as these abilities can make or break certain situations. Bonuses like unmissable shots or extra AP can turn a lowly trooper into an unstoppable machine. Similarly, lowered accuracy or ammo loss can mean wasting valuable command points, so get to know what each unit is capable of.
At various points, you’ll also unlock the ability to play through ‘squad stories’ — optional missions that let you unlock powerful new potentials for your team. Get reading, and plan accordingly. You wouldn’t want to get halfway through a battle before learning that new shocktrooper you’ve deployed is secretly a massive racist. Yep, this can happen.
It wouldn’t be a JRPG without grinding now, would it?
Although just playing through each skirmish and side story as they come up should net you more than enough cash and experience to get through the campaign, remember you can replay skirmishes as much as you want to grind for goodies.
Late game upgrades are extremely powerful, but also expensive, so don’t be afraid to cheese if you feel you need it. Hey, if the game’s going to offer a built in easy mode, who are we to refuse?
Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and defeat some melodramatically evil cackling bad dudes through the power of friendship and big tanks, just like god intended. Enjoy!