Reposting my thoughts on the demo since the demo is basically just the start of the game...
Finished the demo.
First off, it's a pretty meaty demo! It has 3 story missions (including the story bits in between them), 2 skirmishes (basically just "destroy all enemies" type things on maps you have already played, used to get XP and such) and 1 demo exclusive (for some reason) bonus mission, not to mention some of the in-between mission stuff where you can buy / upgrade weapons, train troops, etc. All in all it took about 3 hours for me?
I'd say it has definitely left me excited for the full game. Yeah it would have been interesting to see more new units in the game but they did a lot with just the first few missions to mix things up and keep it interesting, so I'm eagerly anticipating more. Feels like a proper sequel to the original game, which is basically one of my favorite games ever.
With that said I always felt like the enemy AI in the original game was not quite as good as it could have been and I was hoping they fixed it, but it feels pretty similar. At times the enemies will just run straight into a situation where they are clearly going to get destroyed before they can do anything, and they often have you in a bind and would easily be able to kill one of your troops but they just... don't press it for some reason.
Still, overall the AI is serviceable, and it's a pretty sweet demo. Try it out!
Oh and progress from the demo carries over, which is good, because I wouldn't want to have to play the first 3 hours of the game again.
So don't get me wrong, loving this game so far, very good follow-up but it feels... very easy? I'm like 7 or 8 missions in and I've never even come close to losing, every one has been a blowout. Is it just because I am a Valkyria Chronicles veteran?!
I feel the same way about the difficulty! I just finished the first level in the snow. The game has stepped up the difficulty a bit from the start, but it's too easy. And strategy games need the friction of difficulty to make them engaging. Especially ones as slow as this. So at times, I just end up bored. I'm having fun and enjoying the game, but it can get boring in the easiest stretches.
Hmm maybe I spoke too soon. The first major assault battle (mission 8 or so?) is pretty intense. While I wouldn't say I ever felt like I was going to lose, definitely a lot of my characters kept dying off and it took some effort to push forward.
Are you talking about the first mission where you get generic tanks? I think it's also the first level with pillboxes? That one and the level with all the fire were probably the hardest I've encountered so far. But they don't top the difficulty of some of the earlier levels from the original game.
If I recall correctly in the original VC there was a mission fairly early on that stopped me harder than most every other mission in the game, so that's probably not a GOOD model to follow, but yeah a bit more difficulty would be nice.
I think I know the one you're talking about. It had that huge ass tank and I think it was the first time Selvaria showed up. Some of the later levels gave me a similar challenge.
I came in expecting a similar level of difficulty, which so far hasn't been met. I don't want this all the time, but a few levels where I have to scrape by would be welcome. They usually stress me out in the moment, but I tend to look back fondly on them after all is said and done. It can help set the tone and raise the stakes, especially sense Valkyria Chronicles 4 is about shit hitting the fan deep in enemy territory. I want to feel that struggle.
Did you get to play this any more? I'm up to chapter 14 (just beat the level involving the blue roses). And the difficulty has definitely picked up. It still hasn't touched the peak of the first game's challenge, but it is certainly rewarding. I like how much more focused this game feels. Throughout the whole thing you're following a band of soldiers with a set mission. Rather than a game like Fire Emblem or the first Valkyria (if memory serves), you're not bouncing around from one objective to the next with a larger goal of winning the war. From very early your goal is clear: take the capital. And the levels consist of their milestones, setbacks, diversions, roadblocks, and backup plans. It's great to have a more focused narrative that still finds room for plenty of variety between levels.
I wish we got to see the map more often so we could get a better sense of progress as they head for the enemy capital. It would really drive home the squad's successes and failures. Also, I wish there was more mechanical emphasis on the team's hardships. They're making a desperate run straight for the enemy capital, with the odds of success ever decreasing as resources dwindle. I wish there was some way I could feel that as the player. Without changing much, a few story-related deaths would go a ways toward driving that feeling home (but that is a pretty iffy idea for a permadeath strategy game). Ideally, there would maybe be some sort of resource system? I don't know how that would work, but given the emphasis on this being a barely sustained suicide mission, that seems necessary to drive the point home.
I had this moment where I THOUGHT this side mission was super tough because it just started me with 3 scouts and none of them could die or you lose the mission and there were all kinds of powerful enemies and tanks and such all over the field and I was like man, this is intense! I got like halfway through it and then realized I could just call all the extra troops I wanted in, lol. I thought I had to do the whole mission with just 3 scouts. Which would have been pretty cool, having to rely on hiding and sneaking through and such instead of direct attacks. Ah well.
Nice to hear it picks up a bit in difficulty, even if it never gets super tough. I would prefer something that really pushes me but mostly I just don't like the feeling of like no decision I make really matters because I'm just going to waltz through this anyway. Which isn't how it feels per se, just some missions have felt a bit like way too easy.
Are you talking about the squad stories? Those are kind of hit or miss, I guess. I tend to try to get through them with the units I'm given. The missions are designed to suit them. But the game isn't great about establishing the best way to play these sort of missions, so do whatever suits you.
As for the main story, I totally get what you're saying. The good news is that chapter 14 (and a few others) definitely took some trying. And I feel that roughly once you reach a major turning point in the story getting on the boat, you can't just carelessly fumble your way through things any more.
Yeah the squad stories. It's sort of weird that they start you with just a few key characters but then you basically can just approach it like any other mission. Would have been more interesting if they limited them to a handful of characters and really made you fully utilize them. Whatever, it's fine.
Oh man that first meeting with the Winter Witch was brutal, had like 5 units laying there about to die until I realized that trying to kill all of the enemies units was NOT a good strategy. Ended up just sneaking Minerva to the base and taking it solo.
Of course, that's less actual difficulty and more just me realizing I was kind of doing it wrong but it was still intense!
Ah, the mission with all of the parachuting bombs that requires getting snipers to high points was cool! And it is pretty tough! You can't just exploit rushing the enemy bases either since you need to survive for a certain amount of turns.
This is what I like seeing, missions that require you to play the game differently than usual, focusing on a different troop set-up than one that is just made to obliterate the enemy.
So it feels like the game has been getting a bit tougher lately but we'll see how long that holds on.
Incidentally I was looking at the DLC page and wow, there is a lot of it! And it seems kind of overpriced! But some of it sounds interesting. I wonder how hard "expert level skirmishes" is?!
Nearing the end of the game I think and like... how are we not just the straight up villains at this point?!
So basically we found out that a little girl was being used to run our ship Snowpiercer style and we are like welp, sucks, what can we do? And then we find out she is actually going to be used as a bomb that will kill her as well as millions more and we're like welp, sucks, but I mean we gotta win the war right so...
And YEAH, I know that is probably not how it will actually play out in the end but STILL. HOW ARE WE OK WITH ANY OF THIS?!
And WOW does a lot of post-game content open up! There is probably another 10-20? or so hours of content after the end!
So being on break and all I crammed all of that in over a few days!
Yeah, overall I loved the game. On a creative level it definitely feels like the best of the series to me, though the first still has that special place in my hear. But pretty much every mission has its own little twist that makes it unique. And whatever complaints I had early on about it not being tough enough didn't really apply later on. Not that it was ever SUPER tough, but once it starts getting tougher it keeps that tension up and makes you really think about what you're doing. And some of the post-game content is pretty legit tough.