I continued with Valkyria Chronicles today, completing another mission, albeit not as you’re supposed to. Read on for details.
The cutscene to end the chapter has Welkin and Alicia reunited with Squad 7, with everybody saying how relieved they are that they’re all okay. Alicia tells Welkin that she liked what he said before about Squad 7 being family, and then the view shifts to Largo, Rosie and Isara together, with Largo playfully ruffling Isara’s hair. It’s a nice visual reinforcement of the family idea.
On the next chapter, leading up to the next battle are another five cutscenes (two of which are optional rather than story ones). The first has Welkin and Faldio called into Captain Varrot’s office, who informs them that they have all been invited to a banquet with “Princess Cordelia”, who must be the leader of Gallia. Faldio is excited because the royal family are descended from the Valkyrur, while Welkin is less enthusiastic because he feels out of place at formal functions.
The next cutscene (the first optional) has the three of them meeting up before the banquet, all in dress uniform. Ellet, the reporter, arrives and says that an ambassador of the Federation should be there and is probably there to discuss an alliance against the Imperials. Gallia has a history of independence and neutrality, but apparently the meeting was arranged by Gallia’s Prime Minister, a man named Borg. I wonder if that name is indicative of anything? That suspicion is immediately reinforced when Ellet adds that because the princess is young she’s essentially controlled by Borg. End cutscene.
In the next cutscene the princess announces the alliance between the two powers, but comes across as rather lifeless and with a fairly empty expression on her face. A man, who I guess is Borg, does a lot of the talking and is clearly leading her to say all she is. He looks clearly evil, with narrow eyes, a long, thin face and a thin moustache and pointy goatee. Borg talks about forging an alliance to control the whole of Europa, invading and controlling the Empire instead of just driving them back to their territory.
The fourth cutscene takes place after the banquet, with Welkin and Varrot heading out of the castle but taking a wrong turn, running into the princess. Welkin, speaking incredibly out of turn, asks the princess if she really supports the alliance, pointing out that she wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it. Emptily, the princess replies that she just has to preserve the bloodline, and that Borg is older and in charge of things.
Things then switch to the Federation’s ambassador, making plans to capture “the mark”. As Welkin and Varrot part ways, General Damon (leader of the non-militia part of the military and voiced by voicework veteran John DiMaggio) arrives with “terrible news”, announcing that the princess has been kidnapped by the Federation ambassador. With the princess under their “protection” they would essentially be able to control Gallia and further accelerate its assimilation into the Federation. Varrot tells Welkin to mobilise his squad and go after them.
In the final pre-battle cutscene (the other optional one), the two mechanics, Leon and Kreis, are drooling over a plane (which aren’t yet common in the game’s world). It turns out to be a project of Isara’s, who has been building it off of documents belonging to her late father, in the hopes that she could take Welkin up in it so he could feel what it’s like to fly like a bird. The mechanics both offer to help out when the sirens sound, and it’s off to battle.
As you may have noticed, that’s a lot of cutscenes. Valkyria Chronicles is never one to shy away from dialogue, and while they’re often enjoyable there are definitely far too many of them, and in the above instance that whole sequence could really have been edited down into one or two much shorter cutscenes, losing very little.
It’s something that extends to the battles too, where you are first briefed on all the pertinent information by Varrot, on a screen that shows the layout of the area and indicates enemy camps, and then when you enter the battle the characters will then say the same things as they notice them for themselves. Generally it’s just the briefing again, but told to you by several characters in informal discussions instead of the formal briefing.
The next mission sets itself up to be an interesting one. The car containing the princess is heading out of the city and to the harbour, after which it will be out of reach. You position your troops throughout the entire area, with the victory condition being to destroy the car’s engine before it escapes, but without using explosives because they would destroy the entire vehicle. Varrot informs you that Federation troops will be there to try and stop Squad 7, but will be wearing Gallian uniforms.
A side note: If Bolt really is involved with this as much as his appearance and the general dialogue has suggested, then he clearly wouldn’t be happy with Squad 7. This would be an excellent opportunity to frame them as villains, attacking both their new allies, their own princess, and killing ‘Gallian’ soldiers. I don’t know if that’s the direction they plan to take the game, but I suspect it won’t be long until I find out. The use of Gallian uniforms may just be because it saves them having to come up with Federation uniforms for a single mission.
In deployment, I fill out the squad with shocktroopers (who would seem to be the most useful here), taking one scout (Alicia) and one lancer (Largo), both for the extra command points they bring (being leader units) and in case the enemy turns out to be more than just soldiers.
As I mentioned above, the dialogue once the mission begins usually reiterates everything you were just told in the briefing, which is true again this time (Varrot says to disable – not destroy – the car and rescue the princess before it escapes, which is everything the briefing just said). This time though they also mention something I was wondering about, which is that the Edelweiss can be used to block the car’s movement along the narrow streets, forcing it to take new, longer routes.
The mission was actually very simple, almost disappointingly so. After blocking the APC’s route a while and wearing down its health with shocktroopers, I attacked it using the tank, meaning to use the machine gun on the weak point (the glowing radiator on its rear). Instead though I accidentally used the missile, which destroyed it in a big explosion. I figured that was a fail condition but it actually resulted in victory, with the vehicle destroyed and the princess unharmed. 4 turns, A rank, 38,580 EXP and 67,500 DCT.
In fact, it was so easy that it made a lot of my strategy (positioning troops, blocking the route etc.) entirely worthless, and all I ended up doing was stretching it out longer than needed, so I decided to try again (after saving, of course). On a second attempt I just let the APC move forward so that my tank could get behind it as quickly as possible (the third turn), fired at the radiator and… it exploded in exactly the same way but I failed the mission, killing the princess. A third attempt did the same, so I don’t know exactly why it worked the first time.
On my only successful attempt I had already weakened the APC with shocktrooper fire, so I thought maybe you could succeed with explosives if the final hit is enough to kill it outright. However, trying that also failed, with the APC at least as weakened as before, but still failing me when using an explosive. A fifth, sixth and seventh attempt (just reloading in that final shot) didn’t produce any different results, so I guess I’ll just stick with the accidental A rank and push on.
Anyway, with the princess rescued, Squad 7 take the time to confront her over her attitude, with Welkin saying, “If you label the status quo fate, you can run from the responsibility of changing it”. Bringing in his nature obsession, he points out that the fury and power of the struggle for survival of the bloodline is a big part of the animal kingdom, but that she shouldn’t throw her life away just to preserve the Valkyrur blood that runs through her veins. That seems to get through to her, and the cutscene ends.
That’s where I stopped for the day.
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