America - Front
America - Back
By Karl Koebke 25th Apr 2009 | 4,481 views
Since this is a review of a downloadable episode (hereafter referred to as DLC), I am going to quickly define exactly what each score pertains to. Presentation will be mostly dependent on story, voice acting, and use of already established visual presentation. Gameplay is dependent on the amount of strategy used in the missions provided. Value is based on the episode’s average playtime, price of the DLC, and variety of gameplay in the episode.
Enter the Edy Detachment is a single mission episode that follows a small group of people from the famous Squad 7 that have been separated from the Squad. Amongst this group you have the limelight addicted Edy, the pacifist Susie, Lynn, Marina, Homer the masochist, and the man who needs no introduction: Jann. After they find themselves cut off from the group due to a stray kitty (nope, that isn’t a joke), Edy’s Detachment soon hear bombs going off in the distance and find a town that is in danger of being overrun by the Imperials. They decide to defend the townspeople as they make their escape and are on a two front defensive mission with imperials and tanks moving in on their position. You are tasked with defending a small square with several sandbag barriers set up within it. If any imperials make it into the square or Edy dies then you lose.
The best part about this DLC episode is that the funnier characters are performing to their strengths. Jann was hilarious, just as I expected he would be, and I was surprised by how funny the interaction between Edy and Homer turned out to be. Unfortunately these are balanced out by some overly sombre and cringe-worthy moments from the other three members of the team. I know some may like listening to why these soldiers decided to pick up a gun and fight for their country, but in a one mission episode (which is also the first instance of these characters acting as the main plot point) it feels very forced. I think Edy’s Detachment would have been better served if they had kept more to the light hearted banter instead of expositions about character motivations. The entire story is told through the “talking heads” motif that was one of the main game’s few faults, which is unfortunate, but forgivable considering the minimal amount of story involved in the episode.
The strategy within the Edy mission starts out fairly straight forward, with your entire force being used to defend a small area. This is made slightly more difficult by the lack of medical support, which means that any characters whose HP goes down to zero will have to retreat immediately, and the mortars that come in each turn give purpose to Homer’s existence. After the requisite mid-mission twist you will find yourself being forced to split your forces, and this will require a bit more strategy to get through. All in all though, Edy’s mission is not really difficult at all because all of your characters are of fairly high level compared to your enemies. This is pretty much required because of the impossibility of medical support and reinforcements, but it takes away a bit of the challenge that seemed present in the main game (assuming you didn’t overlevel yourself there as well). Most of the characters were great in battle, but the inclusion of Susie really makes you appreciate the ability to choose from a large roster in the main game. I can’t tell you how much it annoys me when she decides to totally ignore my orders because she is a pacifist.
It took only one hour to play through the entire Edy episode. This is not great value for $5, especially when you consider the norms for the RPG genre as a whole. There are multiple endings to the mission’s story depending on your rating, so there is a decent amount of replay value for episodic content, but I personally didn’t feel that this was enough for me to play through the mission again. Considering that I’m a pretty big fan of Valkyria Chronicles in general I imagine that for many this certainly won’t be enough to make them give the episode an immediate replay, but it may be enough for a revisit at a later time. The variety of gameplay is pretty good for a single mission, but it’s still just a single mission with a single goal, so you don’t get a large amount of variety like you do with the main game.
Enter the Edy Detachment is definitely the weaker of the two DLC episodes that were recently released for Valkyria Chronicles. If you are as much of a fan of Valkyria Chronicles as I am, then you have already bought the episode and are simply reading this to see what I thought about it, and really you are the only ones I think I would recommend this episode to. It is simply too short, the story is cringe-worthy at points, and it is in general of lower quality than the main game.