Out this fall in the West, Valkyria Chronicles 4 does a lot to bring the formula back to what players of the first game may find most familiar. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t changes that really affect how you play the game! We’ve been playing the Japanese release, and here’s what you need to know about the state of each of Valkyria 4‘s classes.
And yeah: it’s really too bad, but you can’t play as the dog.
(Note: We’ll be setting aside the second and third games for these discussions, as they’re very different.)
Valkyria Chronicles 4‘s new class, the Grenadier launches powerful mortar-style attacks. These units suffer from low movement, but they’re invaluable on the field for this reason: they keep launching attacks while the opponent moves, and at a huge range. They make moving around very stressful, and they can take out a lot of units on enemy phase and accelerate your progress.
Enemies with: Snipers. Tanks are almost always a good choice for approaching a unit and absorbing attacks, but many grenadiers you’ll face will lob attacks that reduce AP. The best tactic is to stay out of their range entirely, and that means finding a good perch for your sniper and aiming away.
Friends with: Vehicles. Grenadiers don’t have much of a problem taking out units, but they could use some extra cover to cut off the angles of those snipers.
The big change to vehicles? Well one is that it’s not just tanks, but getting into some of that heads into spoiler territory. Second is that they’re not quite as invulnerable as you may remember. You’ll get chip damage and enemy phase fire a lot more regularly, and everything’s tied into one health meter, rather than having treads hit separately. You’ll also get to move with just one CP, so it’s a no-brainer to get them moving and helping somehow.
Enemies with: Lancers. This is a surprise to precisely no one, but lancers are still very good at taking down tanks.
Friends with: Engineers. Also not a revelation, but increased damage means you’ll need an engineer around way more often. It’ll also help to resupply ammo more often, since the one-CP cost means you’ll likely be using them more times per turn.
Scouts may have seen the fewest tactical changes, but they’re affected by the adjustments to other units and generally limited in what they can do. Grenadiers and turrets will keep you from meandering around, and generally enemies deal a bit more damage, meaning fewer daring darts through enemy fire. They’re still very good at grabbing those camps, though! There’s also an interesting amount of weapon variety, letting you have almost-sniper-like accuracy at range or giving you higher damage output if you run up close. So you’ll have a few different sorts of builds to consider given the situation.
Enemies with: Grenadiers. Scouts love to run around the map and accomplish objectives, but the presence of a Grenadier can make that much harder. You’ll need to find cover and never hesitate to get things done. Or, well, take care of those grenadiers first.
Friends with: Lancers. Scouts have always had a low damage output, and now there are more turret-like units out to get ’em from cliffs and such. Lancers damage armor and take care of units that rip scouts to shreds.
Everyone’s taking more damage, and there are more vehicles! That’s a world in which you deploy engineers a bit more often. Since they’ll be taking up your unit slots, you’ll have to find things for them to do to help along the way, like taking camps and resupplying grenadiers. And they’re, you know, adequate at that! They still use scout weapons, so finding them ones that are more accurate at range help them stay away with their low health and take out foes that have a scrap or two of health left. And hey, don’t feel bad for this crew! It seems that they get to hang out with our good dog friend Ragnarok, so life’s probably fine.
Enemies with: Scouts. “Anything you can do, I can do better?” Scouts move a bit further, survive longer and sometimes even shoot better, so if the two go head-to-head, there’s an obvious winner.
Friends with: Snipers. Since engineers die quickly but have to be within range of units taking damage, they’re best when covered by sniper fire to take out targets that could hit them. Like, say, other snipers! Or really anything.
With cheaper and more numerous vehicles (as well as grenadiers handling most of mortar duty), lancers are needed in less bulk than before. Map design seems to acknowledge this, creating alleys tanks can’t enter to give you more excuses to run them, but still: you’ll probably only need three or so in your active team for contingencies. They do seem to be somewhat more durable now, a sharp contrast to… well, every other unit on the battlefield. Which is good, because their job is to run up on tanks and turrets!
Enemies with: Shocktroopers. Lancers don’t fire back, so troopers can walk straight up and land a few dozen shots on you. Watch out.
Friends with: Scouts. With the largest vision range, scouts are good to pair with lancers to keep them from being easily dispatched in enemy turns.
Shocktroopers suffer from the increased damage range of a lot of enemies, which makes their vision limits a real problem. They’re still effective in corridors and defending bases behind cover (and you’ll need to do at least one of these every mission), but they’re much more situational. Enemies standing in groups are better handled with a grenadier than a flamethrower, but some swift tactics may lead to versatile turns running up to camps and capturing them after taking out the guards.
Enemies with: Vehicles. Even taking a bit more damage now, tanks are still solid shields for all that fire and entirely capable of responding with force. And with running you over so you aren’t behind cover.
Friends with: Shocktroopers. More bullets! A line of troopers firing at the same target is a real obstacle to foes and a great way to guard the camp.
You’re going to want to use a lot of snipers. The map design includes a lot of elevation differences, grenadiers and environmental targets abound and for some reason snipers also got better at aiming and dealing damage. You’ll probably use them as fast as they can regenerate ammo, as long as you’re able to keep them safe.
Enemies with: Engineers. There’s little reason to be scared of an engineer, but they can certainly take out an unsuspecting sniper. Or a suspecting one, for that matter. If your sniper goes down and the enemy didn’t have to use a powerful unit to make it happen, it’s a good development for their side.
Friends with: Grenadiers. Snipers are vulnerable to units running up and hitting them, so grenadiers can keep dropping attacks on them as they approach and hopefully stop them before they make it there. They’re also good for taking care of a lot of moving foes while the snipers get the ones waiting in the back.