Strategy role-playing games — especially ones like Valkyria Chronicles that don't take place on a static grid-based plane — can be a tricky lot. Just like chess, when multiple pieces are on the table that all function differently, it's unclear what the best move is at any given time.
Valkyria Chronicles is built on a rock-paper-scissors foundation, but it goes much farther than that with multiple unit types to consider on a constant basis, as well as a high degree of difficulty for those of you willing to brave some of the more advanced modes.
This guide will help you identify the strengths of each role and the pitfalls involved with the game's environmental conceits, as well as provide some specific tips for several of the toughest missions to help you bring peace to the Europa conflict.
Valkyria Chronicles is sort of a hybrid between a full-on action shooter and a turn-based strategy game. Players have all the time in the world to act because there isn't a hard timer. Instead, characters are governed by Action Points (more on those in below), that grant them specific actions, including movement and combat.
That's all compounded by another resource called Command Points (CP), which activate troops. Think of it like a giant turn-based board game, and at any moment players are allowed a certain allotment of turns for any piece they choose.
As you’ll soon see, many factors can be at play during any given moment, so mastering all of them in tandem will be key to clearing some of the tougher scenarios. You can also always use the tactical overhead view to take a breather and plan your next move.
It's very important to note that much like using the same trick over and over in a Tony Hawk game, triggering CP to take control of the same unit in the same turn will result in diminishing returns during the same turn phase — so it's important to spread your units out in every sense of the word. This is further exacerbated by "Orders," which are basically superpowers that buff an entire army. These are unlocked by simply leveling up individual classes, which, as previously stated, is incredibly important.
Here’s the rub on CP — like vacation time or certain phone plans, they roll over. So it’s not imperative that you always take every possible action on any given turn. For many objectives it’s actually smart to set up a perimeter, and take potshots with ranged units, saving your CP to take successive actions from your close-up troops when the enemy encroaches on your territory.
Unlike many other strategy games, sometimes the best action is none at all (there is a limit however, of 20 stored CP, so don’t go overboard). Once you’ve committed a Command Point for a unit, that’s it, so make it count. If possible, taking out enemies entirely while you can is ideal, as that’s one less unit that the AI gets to use against you on the next turn. Think of using a CP as "starting" the battle again, while time is frozen on the overhead map.
Potentials are a way for troops to get an extra boost, like higher evasion or AP when their health is low. We’ve found that actually writing individual characteristics down on paper or in an app, almost like flashcards, is a great way to remember them.
Action Points (AP), explained
So we've established that by using CP, players can trigger a character to act, but from there, they'll have to rely on their action points. AP is chiefly governed by movement, which expends resources for every step. In other words, traveling longer distances generally means expending more AP. But don't fret: You can move around to your even if you’re already taken an action.
Always try to finagle the most movement for the least amount of AP so you'll have more to spend on actions like shooting. So how about that aforementioned CP drain for consecutive uses? Well, the second use will result in a 33 percent AP decrease, then a 66 percent decrease, then you’ll have to rely on a token amount of 50 AP.
We’ll talk about classes below, but for now it’ll be useful to know that scouts have the most AP with 800 as a base, followed by engineers (600), shocktroopers and lancers (350) and snipers (250). For the latter, getting snipers into position very quickly before anything hits the fan with successive CP use for movement at the start of the fight is a wise tactic.
Knowing the ins and outs of each class is paramount to your success, and being aware of what each playstyle brings to the table will also help tremendously when you reach level 11, which grants you elite bonuses like additional weapons or skills.
Scouts are an odd lot. We wouldn't necessarily call them glass cannons (which are typically categorized with heavy firepower and high vulnerability), as their offensive capabilities aren't as strong as nearly another other class. No, the scout is mainly effective at gaining ground by sheer force of will with their high AP rating. That makes them useful for contesting or claiming objectives before any other troop type can get to them. But with high mobility comes great responsibility, as having a scout off on their own can result in getting picked off very easily by superior troops.
Instead, try to maintain a small lead on your allies, relying on their defensive support while you advance. This strategy has a twofold effect, as scouts can often initiate extra bonuses for friendly troops when in close proximity.
Their power shouldn't be understated though, as their reliance on a long-range rifle allows them to fulfill a jack-of-all-trades role. Other than head-to-head battles with shock troopers (which they can easily escape from with two CP uses, maximum), they’re great at clearing out just about any foe while in cover.
Shocktroopers, as their name implies, are the bruisers of the game. With the lowest mobility and the worst range, they need to get up close and personal to do damage. As such, using cover as they make their advance is ideal. But once they actually get there, it's important to ensure that they have backup — whether that's from scouts or snipers on higher ground ready to pick off the opposition or another shocktrooper is up to you.
Either way, they're extremely valuable for relieving a scout after taking a chokepoint, as their resilience will ensure that any errant fire (like lancer rockets) won't take them out. They’ll also draw fire like a sponge from the AI, which is exactly what you want.
This class excels at maps that have multiple areas to take cover in, so don’t double-down on shocktroopers in open-ended zones. If a map has a city setting of some kind, having at least one on your side is a good idea.
Think of lancers like artillery specialists. Lances (read: rocket launchers) are great for taking out vehicles and fortifications, but not so much other troops. This is mostly because, unlike other classes, lancers lack the ability to counter-attack when fired upon due to the bulk of their weaponry. Because of this limitation, they're the most situational unit in the game, so take care not to overcommit with them like shocktroopers.
Their biggest weakness is their lack of movement, so putting them into key positions early by expending multiple units of CP can be a good way to get a leg up on incoming tanks, especially with the lance weapon’s immense range. They can also share duties with an engineer to clear mines by simply blowing them up with their rockets.
Think of engineers like the wild card. They wield rifles like scouts, but aren't as effective at movement. They have grenades and healing items at their disposal, but aren't as resilient as lancers, which can also fulfill that function. So where does the Engineer slot into a team? In several different, more eccentric ways.
For one, they can dismantle mines by using their toolkit, as well as repair vehicles and fortifications.
The frail nature of the engineer ensures that they shouldn't ever be on the front lines or anywhere near an area that can take collateral damage. Instead, keep them at a distance. If necessary, use two units of CP to get them where they need to be while the coast is clear.
Snipers are arguably the lynchpin of a unit, even more than scouts with the game's troop-heavy story mode. Snipers don't rely on lots of AP to get the job done — instead, players will need to be efficient, moving around the map (most notably to high ground) to secure reliable shots that don't expend wasted AP. This is especially a problem early on in the game, when players haven’t secured superior equipment or potentials that enhance accuracy.
There is a really effective means of ensuring that a sniper does get a good shot in however, by turning an enemy unit. Best handled by a sturdy class like a shocktrooper or lancer, attack enemies at a closer range by outflanking them up close, ensuring that the sniper has a clear shot to their side or behind, which grants lower evasion potential for your foe.
Steady your aim
Unlike many other strategy RPGs that merely rely on luck and percentages to calculate damage, aiming actually matters in Valkyria Chronicles.
Each individual weapon has a maximum range, and as long as players stay within those limitations, they're able to target specific parts of the body — most notably the head — for a higher damage potential. But going for a headshot is often a gamble, as center of mass shots generally have a higher percentage of success for a more reliable source of damage. That's not to say that luck doesn't exist, however.
Yes, luck does play a factor even though players have control of their character’s weaponry. It’s a risk-reward system, as a choice between a head or body shot could spell the difference between eliminating that unit or risking reprisal. As a result, make a note of the range of each weapon before firing it (a sniper rifle is the longest, followed by lances, rifles, machine guns and then flamethrowers). When in doubt, aim true and go for the headset with any rifle variant.
You don’t always have to kill everyone
Objectives in Valkyria Chronicles aren’t always based on elimination techniques. Sometimes, players must protect a VIP or merely survive for a certain amount of turns. But just because a certain parameter must be met, it doesn’t mean you can’t think outside of the box.
For example, during survival missions, using your entire troop to outflank a specific zone that an enemy is holed up in, and then using that area to hole up on your own is an ideal way to clear that mission. If an objective involves escaping, don’t do it one at a time — move as a group.
That said, killing every enemy can often result in a win (like base defense objectives), so keep that in your back pocket while you’re going for the primary goal.
Use these tips to your advantage to complete more complicated side missions as soon as possible, as the loot gained from said quests is almost always worth it, and can be used in subsequent core story chapters.