I completed the game a few days ago and instantly felt compelled to play it through again. My gut reaction was to give it a five-star review but I hesitated, read a few of the negative reviews, grudgingly admitted they made a few good points and convinced myself to give it a four. This game certainly deserves the praise it has received.
I don't think it can be said enough. The game is absolutely beautiful to look at!
The story, although a bit slow to start, had me fully engaged and concerned for the characters after 7-8 chapters. Like a well-made movie the villains are given adequate back story and reasons for their behavior...you just have to wait a bit for it.
Game play is fantastic. Valkyria chronicles perfectly blends the classic turn-based RPG style with a third person shooter for what I thought was a unique experience. Each level presents the player with two general options or strategies. There is usually an obvious "brute force" method of clearing the level and a more "strategic" method. The brute force method will often take you more turns, drastically lower your score, but provide you with an enjoyable experience. Blasting away at enemies with your tank is sometimes worth the lower score. The more strategic method isn't often that strategic. It is a matter of figuring out which particular hoop the designers want you to jump through. This is usually accomplished by replaying the level once or twice after an untimely death, by luck, or sometimes by design. "By design" is listed last because it is nearly impossible to predict which hoop the game will ask you to jump through before starting the level. The pre-game map is mostly uninformative and you just have to figure it out after positioning all your troops. I could not overlook this flaw and is my main reason for giving the game four stars.
Overall this game was a lot of fun. The game requires a little patience as you start playing. If you are expecting Modern Warfare you will probably be disappointed, but I expect most people know by now what they are getting into when they purchase a game like this. Thus the overwhelming numbers of positive reviews which I think the game deserves.