Game Armor Analysis: Valkyria Chronicles

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Valkyria Chronicles, by Sega

So I started playing Valkyria Chronicles again here recently and thought I’d do a writeup on the armor and uniforms the infantrywomen in the game. Valkyria is a period-fantasy Anime with World War II technology and aesthetics. The story is decent, with smart turn-based combat and lovely graphics and artwork. Along with strong, quirky heroines, I like that the male/female ratio of NPC squad members is 50/50 or close to it. Additionally, the squaddies all have their own personality quirks and backstories for players to learn more about as the story continues.

The story centers around Gallia, a tiny, resource-rich nation, caught in a war between two super-powers. When the Eastern Europan Imperial Alliance invades to gain control of these resources, the Gallian people are forced to rally to defend their homelands. Protagonists Lieutenant Welkin Gunther and Sergeant Alicia Melchiott lead Gallia’s Squad 7 against Imperial forces.

The five character classes are shocktroopers, scouts, lancers, snipers, and engineers. I’ll cover the standard women’s uniform for each class. Uniforms are Gallian blue and made of durable material for combat or traveling. Women wear a durable outer shirt with a dark-grey, long-sleeved turtleneck underneath. Their pants are the unusual but not impractical combination of shorts over leggings. All of our ladies wear gloves to protect their hands during gun-play, knee pads for kneeling behind sandbags, and leather boots with padded gaiters to keep their legs safe and dry during trench combat.

wendy

Shocktrooper Wendy Cheslock. Shocktroopers are heavy, frontline infantry deployed for holding fortifications or storming enemy entrenchments. Armed with an assault carbine, Wendy and the other heavy infantry specialize in close-quarters fighting on the battlefield.

As such, shocktroopers are generally under constant fire, needing the heaviest protection in battle in order to close with the enemy and use their carbines to maximum effect. Metal spaulders allow Wendy to lead with her shoulder when charging Imperial infantry, deflecting shots and cushioning blows. Connected to her spaulders are two small plates on her upper chest. Her lower arms and hips bear similar plating, suggesting an armor design that relies upon the combatant keeping her gun held low and one side facing her enemy at all times. Wendy also wears spare ammo clips on her belt and carries rations, grenades, and Ragnaid healing devices in her backpack.

nancy

Scout Nancy Dufor. Scouts are a quick, medium infantry that sacrifices some of the trooper’s protection for mobility in battle. Though not as fast, our scout’s bolt-action rifle features better range and accuracy than the trooper’s carbine. Though not ideal for storming fortifications, Nancy’s mobility allows her to scout enemy lines and flank their entrenchments quite effectively. As a medium unit, scouts can also hold fortifications better than anyone but the shock trooper.

Nancy’s spaulders are noticeably smaller than Wendy’s, but are flatter across the top to allow our heroine to lift her rifle to her shoulder better. Her leg plates, meanwhile, are positioned more toward the front, offering better protection when running or kneeling. Foregoing the weight of a backpack, Nancy carries her ammo, grenades, healing devices and binoculars on her belt, for quick access on the run.

elysse

Lancer Elysse Moore. Lancers are a heavy, anti-tank infantry who carry a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher, styled after medieval lances. Having to face-off against enemy tanks, the lancer of course needs the heaviest armor available. As such, however, lancers are also the slowest infantry units in Squad 7. Though one blast from a lance will drop most infantry units, their lack of accuracy against smaller targets makes them less than ideal for holding or storming fortifications.

Elysse wears a large shield on her left arm to protect from enemy bullets and shrapnel from tank shells. In the manner of Alexandrian pike soldiers, lancers wear their shields on the upper arm instead of lower to keep the shield from interfering with their aim on enemy tanks. Their hip plates are identical to those the shocktroopers wear, and for the same reasons. As their lances are heavy, they’re unable to carry a secondary weapon, relying entirely on their lances, grenades, and Ragnaid in combat.

catherine

Sniper Catherine O’Hara. Snipers are long-ranged infantry used for dropping enemy infantry at impressive distances. Despite being a light unit, they move about the same rate as the shocktrooper, perhaps sacrificing mobility for accuracy in combat. With minimal armor, however, snipers are the most delicate unit in the game and work poorly for capturing or holding fortifications.

Catherine’s only armor appears to be padded gloves and a single leather shoulder pauldron to prop her rifle against. She also carries an ammo baldric and extra pouches for grenades, Ragnaid healing devices, or even binoculars. Her primary weapon is a long-range, bolt-action sniper-rifle featuring a variable-zoom scope for pinpoint accuracy.

dallas

Engineer Dallas Wyatt. Engineers are a light, support/utility infantry. Like in most games, engineers perform a myriad of duties such as replenishing ammo, building fortifications, repairing vehicles, and holding entrenchments. Their mobility makes them invaluable for distributing ammunition to lancers and snipers and for rescuing wounded comrades. While almost as delicate as the snipers, engineers are almost as mobile as a scout and can perform recon and flanking duties competently when need be.

Lacking in armor, engineers work best when partnered with other squadmates (girls preferably, in Dallas’s case) and can be vulnerable when left on their own or in the open. Engineers carry the same rifles as scouts, with similar accuracy and killing power. Additionally, their hip pouches and backpacks carry spare ammo for their squaddies, grenades, entrenching spades, pliers, spanners, Ragnaid, and various other tools to aid Gallia and Squad 7.

If I were to make one recommendation for all of the squaddies in the game, I would insist that they wear helmets. While Wendy wears that knitted beanie, Nancy wears a tam, and Alicia wears her trademark handkerchief, none of Squad 7 wears a helmet or other head protection in combat. I mean, I get the importance of hair design in Anime, but I kind of feel like they could have kept the hair styles for their training- and profile-pictures and given them proper head protection in battle. Beyond that, decent uniforms, all around.

squad_7

Bonus image of Squad 7 standing ready to roll out (image source, click image for larger). On the whole, I enjoy Valkyria and definitely recommend it to anyone who’s into Anime and/or squad-based combat. As always, thanks so much for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!

Valkyria Chronicles logo is property of Sega. All screen captures taken from gameplay.

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