Parents' Guide to

Valkyria Chronicles

By Erin Bell, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Sophisticated and emotionally charged war strategy game.

Game PlayStation 3 2008
Valkyria Chronicles Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Game handles some very adult themes, but still feels a little childish at times.

Valkyria Chronicles is a unique game, being set in a World-War-2 era fantasy world. The story borrows some themes from this turbulent time period, but is not a one-to-one allegory for the actual conflict. However, many of the negative effects of the war, such as the killing of civilians, and even racial discrimination and genocide are depicted. That being said, the oversimplified dialogue and generally campy tone at times can detract from the serious atmosphere. Violence: During combat, soldiers use guns, tanks, and explosives to annihilate each other. bullet impacts are highlighted by small splashes of orange, which could potentially be blood, but it's unclear. Most deaths are nothing more than a character getting shot and falling over, but the game makes many attempts to humanize every soldier who is felled. If a player controlled unit is fatally wounded, the game will focus on the dying troop, giving them a few last words before they pass on. The player can no longer use characters who are killed, and while they are largely expendable from a strategic perspective, they still are people. The story portrays some of the cold realities of war, with a few scenes showing unarmed, scared civilians being gunned down by Nazi-esque invaders. A few children even die, albeit not in graphic detail. There is an entire subplot about racism/bigotry, as a fictional race of people known as "Darcsens" who are Caucasian in appearance, but all have navy blue hair, face discrimination and persecution from both sides of the war. The Darcsens seem to be a stand in for the European Jewish population, as they are made into scapegoats and oppressed by the evil "Empire" (Nazis) and are even shown being forced into concentration camps at one point. Positive messages/ Role models: The game depicts war as a tragedy, but emphasizes that good things can happen in even the most dire circumstances. Ultimately arguing that all people can do during times of hardship (the war) is try to make the best of things, and help each other. Unlike the war the game was inspired by, women are allowed to participate in the army in this world, and are generally portrayed as being equally capable to men. The cast seems to be primarily white, but the story tackles the concept of bigotry through the aforementioned fictional Darcsens. Over the course of the story, we see examples of even the "good guys" treating this minority group poorly, and making assumptions based on stereotypes. These assumptions are played up as inaccurate and baseless, and ultimately most characters do learn to be more tolerant. Sexuality: Some female characters wear short skirts. One scene depicts both men and women in revealing swim suits. Tobacco Use: One character occasionally smokes a cigar.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 12+

Great strategy game

This game has a very mature view on war and death. The violence is bloodless and non-graphic but very frequent, and each of the player's soldiers are treated as unique people, so to lose a soldier can be truly heart-wrenching. This might upset some children. The game has several very positive role models, and throughout the course of the game your squad members overcome differences and grow both as a team and as individuals.

This title has:

Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (3):

While a few minor issues (including questionable hit detection and strange enemy AI) hold Valkyria Chronicles back slightly, this challenging and emotionally-charged title should be at the top of any strategy game fan's list. Not only is the gameplay extremely creative, but the story is rewarding and the characters nuanced. Each squad member is not just a faceless soldier, but has a personality with likes, dislikes, strengths, and foibles that will affect how they act in certain situations and with each other.

If a character is lost on the battlefield, it's permanent, so as their commander, players are conditioned to really feel responsible for them. The game's message is neither pro-war nor anti-war, and treats the subject in a very human and mature way seldom seen before in a video game. With 19 chapters, Valkyria Chronicles offers 25 – 30 hours of gameplay at a minimum. If players are prepared for the mature theme and steep learning curve, it's well worth the experience.

Game Details

  • Platform: PlayStation 3
  • Available online?: Not available online
  • Release date: November 4, 2008
  • Genre: Strategy
  • ESRB rating: T for Animated Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence
  • Last updated: November 4, 2015

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