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Senin, 28 Januari 2013

Valkyria Chronicles 2

To this day, Valkyria Chronicles remains one of the most under-appreciated PlayStation 3 exclusives out there, regardless of how often the avid fans sing its praises. Some of those same fans were a little disappointed when the sequel came exclusively to the PSP, and it doesn’t help that the third installment also seems to be leaving PS3 owners out in the cold. That being said, strategy/RPG aficionados will most certainly want to dive into this sequel; it’s very much like the original, and although I’m not the biggest fan of the new school sim feature, Valkyria Chronicles 2 manages to retain much of its charm and intricate appeal. The depth is here, the storyline suffers only a bit due to extra emphasis on the aforementioned school feature, and above all else, that unique and oddly addicting gameplay is as good as ever. Honestly, if you were a super huge fan of the first title and you don’t yet own a PSP, VC2 might be enough of a reason to snag Sony’s portable.

As you might expect, we have to make allowances for the graphics, which obviously can’t be as accomplished or polished on the PSP. Even so, the cut-scenes are still super pretty and the in-game visuals are more than competent. I was actually surprised at how well detailed many of the characters were, the effects enhance the experience as always, and there’s only the anticipated lack of clarity and sharpness. If you can handle the latter and accept you’re playing this sequel on a lesser machine, you’ll be good to go. I do think there could’ve been more diversity in the environments, though, as there were three or four battles in a row where I began to get a little tired of my surroundings. I don’t remember this drawback being evident in the original on the PS3, which is why I mention it here. That aside, VC2 looks just fine and really, the story-driven scenes are pretty darn impressive for a handheld.

Concerning the sound, both the voice acting and soundtrack are definite highlights, although I might call the effects into question (due to an occasional lack of balance and intensity). Some of you probably know my favorite game of all time is Final Fantasy Tactics, so maybe I’m unfairly biased towards the musical talents of Hitoshi Sakimoto, but the quality and emotion of the tracks in VC2 is undeniable. I’m most thankful this one particular element of the first PS3 presentation carried over; it really gives the game that extra “oomph.” To me, the voiceovers in this sequel are solid, but a bit more hit-or-miss in comparison to the original. There are also less voices overall – again, to be expected – and like I just said, the effects don’t always do it for me. But man, the music is just so perfect and the complete sound package fits the style, theme, and structure of the game. So we definitely shouldn’t nitpick.

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