Released in November 2008, Valkyria Chronicles was a sleeper hit and, along with Demon's Souls, gave the people who took up a second job to afford a PS3 something to gush over. Set in the fury of an anime World War 2, players take control of Squad 7 and deliver defeat after defeat to the Empire's deadliest superweapons. All of this takes place within a reinvention of the tactical rpg mechanis, with shared experience, no grid, and maps that are actually interesting.
Best time: 2:21:10 by Wesley 'Molotov' Corron on 2013-04-22, done in 23 segments.
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- Nitrodon: As is the case with 99% of my other runs, he's the guy who planned most of this run. He's really good at wrapping his head around long-term number stuff that makes my Hulk brain hurt, so an improvement of this size wouldn't have been possible without his help. I'm extremely grateful for the help. <3
- Tigger77 and M2: The original run on the site was a good effort and it definitely served as solid reference material. While I didn't agree with all of the battle decisions, I did enjoy watching the run and I'm glad I didn't have to work from scratch.
- Forum people: If you expressed any interest in this run, include yourself in this category. Every little bit helps, because it's depressing to work on a run nobody else cares about.
This run originally started out as nothing more than a bit of fun with the first battle. I had a theory that the current run could improve that battle by shooting the enemy scouts from maximum range to save time. It turns out that it worked really well and so I continued on to chapter 1. I saved time there as well, so I started considering transitioning from a mock run to a serious submission. If I had known then what I know now, I probably would've just given up right there and you wouldn't be reading this right now. I knew the run would be heavily luck-based and that brings a lot of headaches (the previous run's comments even say so), but I don't think I quite understood the time investment this run would involve. That part started to sink in after chapter 2 and my utter refusal to drop runs I publicly announce kicked in and I was in for the long haul.
Before I get into the individual chapter section, I should point out that Valkyria Chronicles has awful menus. You don't really notice this problem in casual play, but it's painfully obvious when working on a run. There's an input delay on every menu and the game will completely eat your input for a half second or more between inputs most of the time. You learn very quickly when running this game that you DO NOT speedrun the menus. It will only end in tears and botched attempts.
Another irritating thing about running this game is that the load times are horrendous. The game installs to the hard drive to supposedly make this less of a problem, but you still end up staring at the "Now Loading" prompt for 25+ seconds sometimes. To make this even better, the load times are also random. On one attempt, the briefing will start within 10 seconds. On another, it will take 15+ seconds to appear. I'll just say this right now to get it out of the way: I did not make a habit of optimizing loading screens because that would take forever and also be incredibly stupid.
The last thing I'll note before moving on is about the version numbers. I started this run on the original 1.0 version because I'm too cheap to buy the download content and I live in the middle of nowhere so I usually don't connect to the Playstation Network. That said, I realized that it would be wise to upgrade to version 1.2 when I reached chapter 1. The patch basically just adds support for the download content, but for some reason, it also lowers enemy leader HP to match non-leader HP. Lower enemy HP is a good thing, so I made the switch starting with chapter 1.
Prologue: As mentioned earlier, this battle is all about shooting the last two scouts from maximum range. All of the tutorials make this annoying to retry, but it wasn't actually that hard to get this result. The Town Watchman is just that strong, I guess.
Chapter 1: The version switch made this battle much more consistent. In the original version, you'd need a very well-placed grenade to one-shot the leader. With version 1.2, you can just throw it in his general direction and it works fine. This was helpful because Welkin's move on turn 2 is suicidal and it wouldn't be fun to repeat a perfect grenade toss every time he gets cooked for running in front of a tank.
Chapter 2: This battle involves doing absolutely nothing for long periods of a time, yet it took a while to complete. The previous run had a fantastic attempt at this segment and I was frustrated because I kept coming up with slower attempts no matter how well they seemed to go. I even tried all kinds of crazy alternate methods to reduce the luck and hopefully save time, but everything I tried ended up slower overall. I even tried placing Alicia on top of the watch tower to practically guarantee quick interception fire kills, but it was no good.
The best part of this battle comes at the end when the Edelweiss shows up. For those who don't know, the Edelweiss has 6% accuracy. The Edelweiss has to hit something to finish the map, so this obviously means the situation is completely hopeless. In this case, the shot wasn't THAT bad (there are far worse shots later) but the combination of pure luck and nonstop enemy phases before it didn't mix well.
In the end, I managed to save one second over the previous run's segment time. I consider this a great victory.
Chapter 3: One of the joys in this segment is that the base visit (and visiting most of the areas in it) is required and the recruit list is random. I needed a few specific characters to make this run work: Nancy, Kevin, Mica, Theold, and Yoko. Everybody else is just squad filler, since you can't leave the Command Room until you have a full set of twenty characters. Because you can't leave until then, it's actually faster to quit the game entirely and reload from there than it is to fill out your roster. This got old quickly.
The actual battle part wasn't hard at all. Placing a shocktrooper on the left is faster than sending a scout around the right. The distance is shorter and shocktroopers have 10 base defense compared to a scout's 0, so you don't need to use Defense Boost. Blasting the guy at the end is also pretty easy, since I could just aim in the general direction of his face and odds are that he'd die horribly.
I decided to lump the base visit and battle into the same segment because I was trying to reduce wasted time spent saving. This is the only time you'll see that happen.
Chapter 4: The overall strategy for this battle is the same as the previous run, but the specifics have changed. Instead of using Largo and blasting the wall down, I use Nancy and a grenade. This is important because she also needs to distract the shocktrooper so that Alicia can pass him unharmed. From there, Alicia can step in just the right spot to cause the leader shocktrooper to accidentally shoot the ragna-crates to clear her path. This limits how much damage she takes running past him and frees up her action for an attack on the base scout. She needed to hit him several times from long range so that I could avoid any counterattacks. She ended up hitting all five times, which is insane from that distance.
I did make a mistake by getting stuck on the corner of the tank, but I let it slide because of how lucky I was before that. You need to scrape the front of the tank anyway to survive, so running into it in the first place wasn't a mistake.
Chapter 5: Completing this battle without Defense Boost and with only two rounds against the base scout is unreasonably difficult, but it saves time, so guess what I was forced to do? Moving to the left of the path after the shocktroopers helped Alicia's survival rates a bit since the tree tended to block the guy's view. Getting to the base with too low HP would almost guarantee failure even with the ragnaid, since she still needed to get past a couple scouts. By far the worst part though was that I insisted on a two-round base scout kill, which requires that Alicia hit with all ten shots (with the first five at long range). From there, the rest is fairly easy.
If you're wondering why I switched to the Japanese voices for this segment, that was for variety. It gets very old to listen to the exact same lines during hours of attempts, so this was a fun way to remove some of the monotony. (I kind of prefer Japanese Alicia anyway though, but eh.)
Chapter 6: Same plan as the previous run, but without the ragnaid. That wrecked Alicia's survival rate, but it wasn't really that hard to get this result. In fact, I ended up repeating this segment a few times thanks to planning changes.
Chapter 7: This was the first huge hurdle (let's ignore how bad chapter 5 was) for the run, because it's very long and involves a lot of luck. The initial plan was likely to involve a bunch of double kills on Selvaria's reinforcements and then hiding the shocktrooper so that she wouldn't attack at all. Not only was this complicated, but it also allowed Maximilian to troll really hard with his order spam. It's entirely random whether he issues one and I don't know what the percentage is, but it's high enough that to achieve a result like the previous run did (one order) would be extremely difficult.
After a lot of "ARGH, I don't want to do it that way" and random testing, I discovered that you can actually 4-turn the battle without high level lancers. It turns out that all you really need is the Lancaar M2, Demolition Boost, Increased Payload mortar rounds, Extra Magazine (Edelweiss), Theold, and an extra lancer with Tank Slayer. Tank Slayer and the Lancaar M2 allow you to deal enough damage in two hits to almost destroy a radiator. The M1 doesn't do enough and the M3 does too much, so it must be the M2. Going up and down the ladders gives you a new shot at triggering Tank Slayer, by the way. What you see here was actually somewhat good luck, even though it doesn't seem that way.
Demolition Boost and two mortar rounds from the Edelweiss will then destroy all three of the Batomys radiators simultaneously. From here, Theold had to shoot the thing three times and the Edelweiss had to shoot it twice. The problem is that Theold needed to trigger Tank Slayer on every action as well as activating Anti-armor Boost on at least one of his turns. That last part is why this segment took a long time to get.
Chapter 8-1: The plan here is completely straightforward except for the place Alicia ends her second action. I don't know why they made the trigger area for using the plant so large, but I'm glad they did. Killing the scout near the end point saved time because he likes to run around in circles and waste a lot of time.
Chapter 8-2: Blocking the tank and shocktrooper with the Edelweiss' second move allows Nancy to survive her trip to the base without Defense Boost. She also needed Power Scout to activate so that she could kill the guy in the base. Moving any closer to him is suicide and you'll notice that I screwed up when aiming at him. She somehow still killed him anyway, so hurray for that. I was also hoping to trigger Meadow Bred to hear the best line in the game ("Yay! Happy grass!"), but unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.
Chapter 9: Instead of using Rosie and hoping to trigger Strong-Willed (the APC will cut you to shreds otherwise), I decided to send out more people and use Kevin instead. I had bad luck with trying to trigger that potential and he also fires faster than Rosie, so it made sense to me. It might not actually be faster to do it this way, but it was certainly easier.
Chapter 10-1: This is perhaps the one time the mixture of sheer laziness and general dislike of serious speedrunning actually paid off. In the time I spent doing everything but working on the run, I bought a bunch of parts and assembled a computer meant for recording in HD. This resparked my interest in getting this run out of my queue so that I could maybe enjoy playing games again. (I have this weird tendency to either play everything else but the game I'm running, or play only that game. The new computer caused the latter to happen.)
The only major things to note in this segment are the blind radiator shot and the weird moves on turn 3. The radiator shot was the main source of resets, but you might be surprised to learn that it isn't actually that hard to do. I used one of the bridge rails as a marker for the general area, so it was mostly just up to the Edelweiss to shoot straight. The moves on turn 3 were strange because I had to remove the tank's sight line on the Edelweiss. Basically, firing at the tank was necessary to do enough damage so that I could reach the exit in three more moves. After hitting the tank though, you reveal yourself and bad things happen on the enemy phase. By backing up behind that rock and then going forward again, I reset the sight lines and everything is ok.
Chapter 10-2: Edelweiss Chronicles II: Master of Tankery continues in this battle because it's possible to hit the reinforcement bridge from the starting point. It's an absolutely ridiculous shot, but thankfully it gets easier on turn 2 because the tank moves out of the way. Alicia also tried to block a tank shell with her body several times (spoiler: she failed), so that was pretty annoying too. I think it wasn't technically necessary to issue Defense Boost on turn 2, but her survival rate would be pitiful without it and that would've made this segment a total nightmare.
Chapter 11: Directly lifted from the previous run, so if you've seen that, you might as well skip this. The only differences are that I needed more friendly fire damage on the base scout and that I ran around the sandbags at the end. Seriously, those are it. Even the segment time is the same. It's not that I didn't try to come up with something new, but it's just the map's fault for being so cruel to alternate methods.
Chapter 12: I use another Edelweiss trick shot to skip Demolition Boost and I use a smoke round to skip Defense Boost/Caution. I look down when entering the smoke because the game lags there if you don't. Everything else is straightforward. The Theimer M03 was necessary for an easier one-shot possibility in chapter 14 and the Gatling gun was for Zaka to use in 15-2. (It actually became useful in 18-2 as well, but that was a last-minute change.)
Chapter 13: This chapter had a lot of planning time invested into it (even compared to some others). For a long time it didn't look like there was any good alternative to just doing what the previous run did (run in and pray you get two preemptive strikes). I finally stumbled onto something that was consistent, but it was much slower than the old method. After more hours of tweaking this new method, I finally found something that was both faster and easier than anything else. You should check the forum topic if you want a full explanation of the exact steps involved, but basically, I had to blind fire a grenade into a precise spot to blast both shocktroopers out of the base.
After removing them from the base, Alicia had to run in, seize the base, and get to safety before a particularly grumpy shocktrooper filled her with too many holes. Not only does this save time from killing them, but apparently sparing their lives also keeps the main base from spawning all the enemies it should. So instead of needing to blast a scout out of the main base, I only had to destroy the heavy tank and seize. (Hurray for semi-pacifist runs?)
Also, you probably noticed that I run across the left side at the start. That's because the survival rate is 100% that way and I needed to kill the shocktrooper to hide Alicia anyway.
Chapter 14: This was the hardest segment to complete and it was almost entirely luck-based. Yoko needed to activate Super Anti-armor three times and actually hit the tank from really far away. Theold just needed to get blasted up the hill and not troll me with Poison Tolerance. I chose Theold for the second tank because triggering either Anti-armor Boost or Tank Slayer would allow him to one-shot the Dromedarius and save a bunch of time. What you see here is the closest I could get to an optimal result without driving myself insane.
To give you an idea of how long this took, I eventually broke out various reading material while waiting for Alicia to move and the enemy phase to finish. It was so bad that I finished reading 2 textbook chapters for homework, 3+ manga volumes, 10+ (?) chapters in a novel I was working on, and I completed most of an exam that was due that week. I even started to try playing two games at once using Pokemon Black Version 2, but it didn't work out because it took slightly too much effort to make it a good idea. But seriously, all of this happened while waiting for the RNG to finally stop hating me so much. (If I didn't have stuff to read in that time, I'm not sure how I would've tolerated so many attempts. And at least I was being mostly productive!)
Chapter 15-1: The previous run uses level 17 scouts and Double Movement. It's faster to stay at level 12 and just take an extra turn, because the mortars are distance triggers. Alicia can safely stop in the grass patch to avoid attention on the enemy phase and she isn't far enough to trigger the mortar warnings. From there, she has enough AP to finish the rest of the map in two moves. The smoke round is so that she can actually survive the trip to the first switch. Even if she could do it without the smoke round, she'd die in the second turn without wasting time with ragnaid.
Chapter 15-2: I fire a smoke round and have Zaka shoot Selvaria in the face. That's it. No, really. (The menu error at the end was sheer laziness on my part. I couldn't care less about fixing it.)
Chapter 16: Instead of sending out Alicia, it seemed faster to just Edelweiss solo and hide in smoke rounds every turn. Enemies like to do dumb things and waste a lot of time if you don't hide, and I think that even includes the group at the far end. This is a really easy map to complete, but the first two ragna-crate shots were way more difficult than they should've been. That's why I used the mortars at the end and guaranteed the hits.
Chapter 17: Kevin's target was Jaeger's bank (it's more fun that way!) and I'd say he succeeded. I initially thought you had to blow up the base wall with a grenade and cut through it to reach the firing point, but Nitrodon told me I could just run around the darn thing. Sure enough, it works fine and I feel kind of dumb for not trying that first. But hey, it works and I like this battle because it's incredibly easy and yay and stuff.
Chapter 18-1: The initial plan was to double kill the heatsinks with an (un)lucky shot aimed at the space between the two (see the forum topic for a video demonstration) and then trigger Metal Head twice to take out the Valkof. This would require an unhealthy amount of luck, so I would've used a battle save after the first Metal Head.
By the time I finally reached the chapter 17 segment and tested some more stuff with this battle, Captain Obvious paid me a visit and clubbed me in the face with a brick. By that, I mean I realized that you can just go toward the front of the Marmota and do everything there. The only catch is that you have three CP to take out the Valkof and Kevin needs to hit 90 times while triggering Metal Head twice. In other words, extremely unlikely without the use of a battle save. So after the first Metal Head where all 30 bullets hit, I saved. The next segment came in fairly short order because of the much kinder luck requirement, but just to troll me further, Kevin activated Metal Head twice that time. Even when I get good luck, the game mocks me.
Chapter 18-2: Everything here is straightforward, but I should note that Mica could technically kill Maximilian with only Kevin (using a T-MAG11) as support. However, this is extremely unlikely to happen and so for sanity reasons, I added the Shamrock to the team attack. This was a better solution than either Dorothy or Rosie due to trolling potential triggers, survival issues, and much slower firing speed. Mica needed to trigger Damage Boost, Mid-Range Skills, and Fearless Will to make this work. Damage Boost is a one-shot deal, but I could manipulate the other two if I wanted to. It would waste time to do that, but it was nice to know I had the option if I was desperate.
The timing ends at final save just like the previous run, because the game apparently doesn't give you a clear time if you save after the credits. Oops?
Again, I should repeat that if you want more details on the run and the planning that went into it, you should check out the forum topic instead. I tried to cover most of the important stuff in great detail for people to use as a future reference and as a way to feel like my posts weren't spam, so check it out if you want to see a lot of what went into making this run happen. Or you could just ask Nitrodon or me about it instead as long as our memory holds up, but generally, the topic should cover any questions.
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