If there is one issue with Valkyria Chronicles 4, it's that the main story missions are a double-edged sword. To keep things exciting and unpredictable, the vast majority of the story missions are more complicated than “take the point” or “kill all the enemies.” Sometimes the game gives you interesting objectives from the start, like doing a mission without being seen or having you make a running retreat from an overwhelming force.
Other times, the missions have a twist mid-battle that's just impossible to plan for. As the game rewards exp on how fast you complete a mission rather than anything else, you are forced to balance speed with attempting to prepare for the unknown twist objective. While it does work out as intended for the most part in the early game, it feels ridiculously unfair in the late game missions.
No matter how conservatively you play, there are missions you will likely be unable to complete the first time you try—especially if you want to keep all your characters alive. (As in previous games in the series, if one of your non-main-character soldiers dies in battle, they are no longer usable for the remainder of the game.)
And since you can be an hour into a mission before hitting the twist, it can feel like a complete waste of time the first time you play. Without literally knowing the future, you may be doomed to failure from the start. As I neared the end of the game, I found myself fighting the urge to spoil each mission's twist beforehand, just for my own morale.
But while the game could be frustrating at times, overall I found Valkyria Chronicles 4 to be an excellent return to the battlefields of Europa. It's got complex characters, a captivating story, poignant themes, and well-tuned gameplay—all tied together with the unique art style and powerful score you'd expect from a game in this series. Whether you're a longtime fan of the series or a newcomer, Valkyria Chronicles 4 doesn't disappoint.
It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!