Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

MRL2- Hugs Apologize For Everything

The first step is admitting you have a problem. That might be intended for alcoholics but it seems to work for glowy people that can't remember what they're doing and/or kidnappers. Questionable sanity or not, Joy doesn't seem equipped to handle actual factual problems. She's more into cleaning up supernatural issues rather than emotional distress. And while Labor's playing it coyly, you just know he has a huge candy stash somewhere in their Limbo. They probably make out like bandits every Halloween and just hoard it.


Long, There's no anime UN Review: Valkyria Chronicles 2- The characters from VC1 were pretty much all-around awful, but compared to the generic anime school kids in this one, Welkin's group seemed like a batch of scholars. I don't know how with writing this awful, they manage to get such good voice actors though... If there's a crappy high school anime cliche, it's in this game. Terrible love interests, people falling on top of each other leading to awkward grabbing, girls being measured (do they really do this in Japan, because it's creepy as heck) and the main male character coming up and discussing the results, and the most embarrassing "pool scene" event that just makes you feel dirty for having watched it. This is supposed to be a game about a war. At least in VC1 there were characters like Largo and Rosie that were grown-ups, acted properly, and didn't treat war like happy fun times. Now, it's wall to wall detestable all bad anime up in the joint. A major boon is that the anime pig is gone so there should be much rejoicing. Unfortunately, they felt the need to shoehorn in a bird mascot but it isn't nearly as as annoying.
They've changed the classes around in VC2, most notably, they removed snipers as a stand-alone class. Now, they're considered a subclass of scouts, so if you want a sniper, you have to continuously use a scout to earn "credits" and then cash those in to change into a sniper. Kind of a bummer but they were ludicrously overpowered in VC1 once you trained them and with the new broken up and smaller maps, snipers don't get a chance to shine. That credits system is one of the game's biggest problems and possibly the most idiotic ideas you could implement for upgrading characters. Characters that participate in battle randomly earn credits based on the level you're in. The important part here is "RANDOM". I've spent over two hours trying to get one unit a "certificate" so I can level her up and complete her character specific mission. Assuming you even get a certificate for beating the level, the game always gives it to some other character that didn't do much. I used the girl to kill almost all the enemy units, capture enemy camps, and pretty much do everything in the battle and she gets the worst credits the battle has to offer. In that same battle, I had one unit sit back to defend the base camp, a single enemy engaged him in a fight and was killed, and that unit that did nothing got a certificate and the best credits that mission could give. Just to add extra insult, I had already upgraded him so he doesn't need any certificates, yet that one he earned was his fifth extra and I practically never used him for anything other than leaving him to chill at the base. I initially wrote off the new main class since it's a melee fighter in a war game, but they dominate when you use them properly. They have shields so you can walk through scouts and troopers and then their hammer is a one or two hit kill weapon can destroy barricades like grenades can. Their downside is that they have terrible HP and movement so they ultimately get tossed by the wayside after the game's midpoint.
Battles now take place across multiple maps, which isn't a system that I'm keen on. Certain levels add more maps but they're frequently useless and there's no incentive to enter them and often a disincentive for doing so. Just picking one route of attack and making a sweep to the goal will get you through the vast, vast majority of the game. With more maps, you quickly encounter a big problem: you're only allowed to have six units in the entire level. Some levels have five separate areas, so you can't even put two people on each map, making it a necessity to ignore all but the essential zones. So while you may have 20 units in your squad, 14 of them have to sit back and wait for somebody to die. Kind of seems like rooting for your teammate to die so you can see action and earn credits would be contrary to the whole unit cohesion deal. Just to make this rule completely unfair, enemies aren't bound to the same restrictions. They can have dozens of units on the field and the computer spawns them like crazy. Towards the end of the game, enemy spawns get to ridiculous levels and the computer can even spawn enemies out of thin air while you're always required to call your units at camps you've captured. The game is rarely ever difficult, it's just ludicrously unfair at times. There's also a new completely unnecessary crafting system for ace weapons, tank parts, and now even consumable buffs. You earn materials by beating enemies but it's again battle specific and kind of random, so you have to farm them. Unlocking the extra characters or bonuses is a grind fest due to material and credits collection and ultimately isn't worth it. None of the additions seem to actually make the game any better, just more complex. The first one was nigh-on perfect as far as gameplay went. A few small tweaks is all the series needed, not big additions or changes.
Sadly they kept all the same problems from the first game in addition to the new problems they introduced. You're still judged with that stupid scoring system that rewards being fast over being smart, thorough, strategic, or not killing your entire squad. Then there's the dodging mechanic that's the bane of your existence. How on Earth does dropping to the ground mean you take less damage from a grenade to tank shell? If anything, it just means you put your face closer to the explosion and it should kill you even faster! The story is still wacky nonsense that hurts your brain if you pay too much attention. Whereas VC1 was anime WW2, VC2 is an anime civil war fought by child soldiers. That's somehow even more messed up. Character actions aren't that much better but the game at least has the decency to have a running joke where your squad is known to be a bunch of idiot losers that nobody respects. At one point, a bad guy manages to “hide” a battleship. At the dock. Of the ONLY harbor in the country. There is only a single place in the country that this ship could be and yet it's treated with awe and surprise when your squad of idiots stumble upon it out of dumb luck. Some battles just boil down to that same dumb luck rather than any skill. Several skirmishes put you up against a nigh-invincible boss that can kill any unit (including tanks) in one shot. If the boss comes after you, you're done for. In one such battle, I had to hold out for eight rounds, on the sixth round the boss came straight for my base camp, killed everybody, and then an enemy trooper walked up to our camp, took it, and that was an instant loss. I reloaded the fight, the boss never left his section of the map, and I easily won the stage. That doesn't really seem like good design.
Depending on whether you can put up with the BS final chapter, the game has a darn good value of money spent vs missions and the game's length. I picked it up for less than $20 and it lasted me roughly 40 hours, which is far more than any console game has lasted me for years. I could typically do one or two missions per train ride to work and you can save any time out of battle (but for some reason they removed the ability to save during a fight). Unfortunately, given the sheer number of missions in the game, it does drag towards the end. You've been doing the same couple of objectives over and over and the amount of enemy spawning and every time they dodge is weighing heavily on you by the last third. I'd recommend skipping all the DLC and missions you can buy from the store and saving them until you've beaten the game. They really only give you experience and leveling up your troops pretty much does nothing because of the new upgrade system, so just wait until you have the best armor and guns and then breeze through the missions in the New Game +. The final chapter of the game is a slog of not fun where the computer pumps out the overpowered special troops it has that you can't get in every stage and the objectives get more and more unfair and the computer ratchets up how many units it will spawn every turn. If you lose your tank in any of the final levels, you may as well just quit and restart. The tank is the least fun unit to use but it's practically a requirement for taking out fortified positions and the special units. I got up to the third to last battle and just called it quits from how poorly done it was. If the only way you can make your game a challenge is to ridiculously stack the odds in the enemies' favor, that means you did a bad job. An invincible boss that can dodge any attack that comes from the front and will destroy any unit that spends two seconds in his line of sight isn't a good penultimate fight, it's a sign that you're a bad game designer.
Sins Committed: Bad characters, Bad writing, Fake difficulty, Grinding, Repeated objectives
Virtues Acted: Good gameplay, Good acting, Long, Extended sequences where despite the fact that he saved the country in VC1, nobody likes Welkin because he's a spaz