Valkyria Duel ReviewBy: Zanpakutou posted at Aug 01, 2012 9:38 pm
Valkyria Duel is a browser game based on the Valkyria Chronicles games on PS3 and PSP. Sadly, parts 2 and 3 are only on the PSP and that practically killed the franchise in the US. However, they have now moved it onto the PC as a browser game with Valkyria Duel that features all of the characters from the other games. It is a unique take on the card game. For simplicity sake, I will refer to the team's overall strength as power level.
EDIT: As of this first edit, there is a new tier of cards that are marked with L. They have higher stats and 5 levels over the SR types.
N/A - It simply takes the faction system of Blue vs Red where each game has 2 different factions fighting each other and puts it into a browser game. Each player has the option to pick either Red (east) or Blue (west) and their goal is to take the enemy capital. Each character has a unique biography, but it has no effect on the game. The most it does is give you a hint to the background of a character's hidden potential.
The game uses a system called a plugin called "Unity" in order to try to recreate the PSP style graphics on a browser game and it does a good job of it. The character models seem to be slightly higher quality than the average PSP game and the character card art work is nice as well. It features all of the character artwork from the games representing different rarity levels of each character and adds in a few guest featured artwork as well. Overall, it does a good job of recreating the graphical feel of the PSP versions of Valkyria Chronicles outside of the camp area. The camp area features a simple interface that reminds you of pretty much every other army building browser game out there.
The game is rather simple and easy to pick up. You only have to give yourself a name and select a faction. There are two factions, Red and Blue, each representing one of the major factions in the Valkryia Chronicles games. There is a fairly detailed tutorial that teaches you how to do almost everything in the game. Your goal is to collectively invade the enemy faction's area until you reach the designated area. Although the game seems simple, it can become quite complex once you start building your deck. Every 10 minutes, you obtain 3 energy, enough to play a fight. Battles that take place in an HQ area (marked by the buildings on the map) only cost 1 energy. Every hour, you get 3 boss energy, energy that you can spend on challenges against special enemies for high rewards.
Each deck consists of a designated Leader card with a limit of 2 Tank types per deck. Some card leaders have a special ability that activates only when they are the leader (marked with a special icon on the upper left) and potentials (text at the bottom of the card) that only activates when they are an Officer. If you have certain combinations of people in your team, their potentials get a boost in the form of a combination. You get 4 Officer cards that support your Leader and 8 other cards that you can place into your squad. The other 8 cards do not activate their potentials or orders. The game encourages a standardized build that consists of different class types. Each card has a class type, designated cost and power level. The higher the cost, the more powerful the card generally is due to the higher level cap. Many of the more powerful cards also have a special ability that can be activated to increase your power level. The Leader and Officers contribute all of their value to your team's power level while the 8 others only contribute a fraction. However, this fraction can be increased by upgrading your base (more on that later) so that they actually contribute a much higher amount in the very long run. The class type also determines how much of their stats are contributed to the power level. If you put a card that does not match its class, it suffers a penalty because their stat in that category is much lower.
Cards can be upgraded by sacrificing other cards to it. You can only do this a limited number of times because it costs in game money. However, in game money is easy to come by so you will probably not have a problem with this for a long time. If the cards are an exact match, then you will gain the most from it. For the most part, cards are quite easy to level up to be powerful though assembling the most powerful team will take a very long time. So far, Tank type cards seem to be the most difficult to come by. New cards cost 100 TP each, but you only have limited slots and will have to get rid of some if you are at the max if you want to buy more. If you earn points from killing bosses, you can save them up for a higher chance for rarer cards with 200 points guaranteeing a Super Rare, but that takes a long time to save up for.
Once you max out a card's level, you can try to promote it. You have to fuse the exact identical card to the max level card and then it will have a chance to be promoted. The sacrificed card can be a level 0, but it has to be the exact same character, class type, and rarity. A card can have up to 2 promotions that is shown by the number of stars under the class type. Each star represents 1 promotion. Each promotion increases the max level of the card by 5 and gives the card a higher stat growth making it stronger in the long run.
Your base consists of numerous buildings. The main one is your Headquarters, which determines the maximum size of your deck and level of the other buildings. As you upgrade your Headquarters, you will also unlock new quests that give excellent rewards and will help you to grow faster as long as you follow them. The other main ones are the ones that produce resources, increases resource limit, allow you to buy consumable items and upgrade your cards. The three main resources are food, metal, and ragnite (oil). You quickly unlock buildings that will increase the stat multiplier of various cards and eventually, buildings that improve your max energy and allow you to train your character's potential (boosts your team's stats when activated) to give a higher boost. Consumable items are limited in number, but boost your resources. Item mall is primarily focused around the boosts and increasing the chances of rare cards though everything is obtainable by just playing the game normally. It is however, very hard to get some of the L type cards.
There are several types of battles in the game. The main one is where you and your faction attempt to invade the enemy faction's territory. Your goal is to capture the designated area. Whenever the contest for an area ends, some people end up with special rewards, often rare cards or consumable items. When you choose the area to fight, you are given a choice between 4 enemies and the option to refresh the choices. You will usually be matched with people at the same overall rank as you. When you complete a fight, you get ranking points if you win, but you will always get TP, points you can spend on new cards. New cards are only 100 TP a pop, but are random so it takes a bit of luck to get powerful cards though the rates for standard rares are not too bad. The Super Rare cards though are a pain to get. The only ones I have obtained are the ones used for fusion from winning territories.
The other type of battle is a boss battle. Boss battles have a chance to appear any time after you win a normal battle against another player. You only get 3 points to start with, but you only need 1 point to challenge a boss. Each additional point you spend adds 200% to your stat multiplier resulting in a maximum of 500% if you use all 3 points. Early on, this is an excellent way to defeat bosses, but in the future, you will need the help of your friends to do it. If a boss is defeated, it gives you excellent rewards. The weakest boss has 55,000 power level, but you only have 30 minutes to beat it. A strong team can probably do it with 1 point of energy. Stronger bosses give you more time to beat them. If you beat the weakest, you get enough TP to buy around 5 or 6 cards and the in game currency enough to use them all in a fusion. The stronger bosses in the games give consumable items and over a thousand TP if you can beat them along with a special ticket. Stronger bosses also give you more time to fight them and it is very viable to take them out in the given amount of time once you build a strong enough deck. The strongest boss I have seen is the event boss for new year with a whopping 20,120,000 HP.
Battles in the game play out automatically. The general idea is the person with the higher power level wins. However, player boosts can affect the outcome and so can individual potentials. Potentials are essentially skills that activate for each card in your team and can increase your team's power level. A strong order and potential combination can add more than of a third of your team's power level and allow you to beat someone who might be a lot stronger than you. Utilizing a efficient team that works together is more important than the most powerful cards. The only thing is that the most powerful cards tend to also have the best skills, making them the best leader types to use anyways. SR types and above have the most powerful orders and potentials. Common cards are by no means worthless as their low cost can be used to your advantage by upgrading them significantly enough to maximize their damage output during the beginning of each round.
After either a period of 4 months or if a specially marked flag zone is captured by the opposing side, the "war" comes to an end. The winning side will receive 5 Royal Tickets and the losing side will receive 3. Players will also receive additional special tickets based on their overall performance during that round in the following categories; overall ranking, finding the most bosses, MVPing the most bosses, killing the most bosses, and being part of the strongest coalition. By collecting 3 Royal Tickets, you have a chance to draw any SR or L card in the game. If you use the 6 tickets per draw, you are guaranteed an L card.
Guilds exist in the form of coalitions. They are alliances made between players to help each other primarily with boss battles and organize control of areas. Coalition fights might as well just be flat out fights between entire armies. Your points from winning battles are pooled together and if your coalition can make it to the top 100, you get a bonus prize at the end of the fight, but you have to learn to manage your bonus energy items in order to decide when you want to go for the big prize for everyone.
Valkyria Duel is a nice twist on the standard army based browser games. The item mall stuff is far less significant as all cards have a corresponding cost (this is not counting people who item mall to get sacrificial cards to power up their main cards to insane levels). You can have a powerful Leader, but you will have to rely on weaker Officers and common soldiers due to the high cost of the leader. With the right methods, you can still utilize a powerful team. Bosses provide a challenge, but also great rewards for those who can succeed. Collecting cards can be a hassle, but everything can be obtained with time and the rarity of cards for a free to play game is not that bad compared to other games. You can easily get a rare in less than every 50 cards.
8/10 - Excellent system, but the distribution of East vs West players makes many servers one sided. the SR (super rare) card tier is absurdly powerful, but also near impossible to get.
EDIT: added information about card promotions
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