A series as good as Valkyria Chronicles should be more popular and sell much more than it has.
IT’S BASICALLY FIRE EMBLEM WITH GUNS AND REAL TIME ELEMENTS
The thing that struck me about Valkyria Chronicles when I first played was how similar the themes and tropes were to Fire Emblem. It has an abundance of “waifus” and the over the top villain archetypes of the FE series, but distinguishes itself with real-time player controlled movement and guns, tanks and explosives instead of swords, magic and bows.
VERY GOOD PRODUCTION QUALITY
It’s not necessarily Persona 5’s level of polish, but the production value for the Valkyria Chronicles series is some of SEGA’s best. They really nail the watercolor aesthetic they strive for with the CANVAS system, which lends itself well to Raita Honjou’s character designs. SEGA (Atlus?) also has a superb casting director as every voice actor in these games in both English and Japanese really nails their part.
The thing that makes or breaks most RPGs is whether the player cares about the characters involved, and Valkyria Chronicles delivers in that department. Not only are the main cast likable (the exceptions being Darcsen haters, including earlier-game Rosie), they each have quirks that further differentiate them from one another. In VC4, Squad Stories helps in this department as well giving each character a bit more background than usual for such a large cast. I also like that Squad Story completion either adds a new skill, or replaces a detrimental skill for each character.
THE BLiTZ BATTLE SYSTEM IS EXCITING AND SATISFYING
The fact that Valkyria Chronicles has a semi-real-time battle system (called BLiTZ) where you can control individual units in the third person really makes it unique and excites the tactician in me. There’s something really satisfying about picking off enemies a map’s length away with a sniper, or using the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) and a shock trooper to clear a super chaotic map within 1 turn. Finding potential game-breaking strategies and moving your characters around the map is great fun. Given all this, I would urge anyone to give these games a try.