'Valkyria Chronicles II' features a turn-based combat system.

'Valkyria Chronicles II' features a turn-based combat system. (Games Press)

'Valkyria Chronicles II' features a turn-based combat system.

'Valkyria Chronicles II' features a turn-based combat system. (Games Press)

Seeking to capitalize on the cult success of the original “Valkyria Chronicles” for PlayStation 3, Sega has followed up with “Valkyria Chronicles II,” an action role-playing game made exclusively for the PlayStation Portable.

The T-rated game takes place two years after the fictitious second European War of the first game. Instead of being on the edges of the battlefield, however, this sequel places you on the training field of a military academy in the Gallian Empire.

“Valkyria Chronicles II” follows the adventures of Avan Hardins, a 17-year-old slacker who joins Lanseal Military Academy after his brother is mysteriously killed in a covert Lanseal military operation. Avan vows to use his new access to the academy to uncover the mystery behind his brother’s death. When Avan arrives at the academy he’s dumped in Class G, a group filled with outcasts and misfits. It’s up to Avan to lead this merry group of rejects out of the dregs of the academy toward a more prominent standing.

Initially, there is a lot of story and exposition thrown at you, which slows the game a bit but is particularly helpful if you haven’t played the first game. The story is very light-hearted in contrast to the first game, which boasts a more serious and intense story line.

The strategic/third-person system from the first game has been carried over to this sequel. A great deal of time is spent building up your characters’ abilities, unlocking new missions, combos and other bonuses. During missions, Avan and the other cadets in his team switch between an overhead command mode and a third-person action mode. During the later mode, each player can move and perform actions until their allotted action points for each turn run out. Once their points run out, opponents are given a chance to move and perform their own actions. Every mission feels like there’s an action-packed chess match crammed into it.

The early missions aren’t particularly challenging, but it’s a good thing as it took me a while to get the hang of the game’s complex battle system. It’s difficult to master but it adds to the overall challenge of the game.

Although the PSP won’t match the PS3 on graphics, the game’s watercolor art style along with its animated cut scenes make this game look more than adequate on the PSP. However, “Valkyria Chronicles II” tends to rely too heavily on still-portrait animated scenes, failing to adequately make use its great cut scenes and voice talent.

The game features a multiplayer mode that allows you to team up with friends or go up against them.

“Valkyria Chronicles II” is certainly worth the time as you build up Avan and his team and take them on various missions. Although the battle system is immensely complex, once you figure it out, it always you to explore all facets of the game. It’s quite a challenge, one that I recommend gamers to take.

Platform: PlayStation Portable


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