Impossible to not notice, this game looks awesome. However eye candy alone isn't worth a purchase, and luckly here both gameplay and story are really well done. Also, the music is pretty epic.
At the beginning i though the particular looks of this game was making my eyes hurt just after a quick game, but when i noticed what a "quick game" meant in this case, everything got explained: it dosen't feel more than 5-10 minutes per battle, but it might actually be more like 20-40 minutes! So you go all "just another skirmish to level up my scouts" and then another one to buy that tank upgrade, and another one because last one didn't go as smooth as you'd hoped, and there we go, a whole afternoon is past without you noticing it. Wow. Several other games can do that, but you'll know a lot of time has passed. With Valkyria Chronicles, time just seems to slip past you.
Anyway, on the matter of the story it's a slightly unusual one, placing you (a young guy that loves nature and wants to be a science teacher) fighting for the freedom of your tiny country that is being invaded by a powerful military nation, looking for the land's abundant ragnite resources. In all of this you get with a weeeeird squad, seeing you as the squad leader, giving orders from a tank to a baker, a singer and a vegetable lover. That's the very basis of squad 7, however you can recruit more people, up to 9, from a very wide list that grows with the game progress, leading to some interesting mix. Now, given the whole recruiting bit the experience your team members gain in battle could seem to be lost if you only dare to change somebody, however the experience is given not to the single person, but to everybody with a certain specialization. Say you suddenly want to get new snipers, your old snipers experience gets passed onto the new ones. Easy, and you won't be stuck with the same people forever!
The actual battles are an interesting mix of strategy and real time, meaning that every unit requires some "Command Points" to act, but once you selected the unit from a nice old map looking screen, the game zooms in and you control directly that unit. For every turn an unit can use it's equipment once, and can move until the action points are over. The shooting bit changes the game pace, as all action stops while you aim at your target. The charachter will then shoot by itself, basing it's aim on where you aimed, and the gun/charachter precision. All in all, the thing works great, and it's a lot simpler to do than to explain.
Now, for the thing that really amazed me: since it's presented like a book telling the story of squad 7 durng the second Europan war, you'll go through chapters and so on. Also, there is an hystorical background in that book, meaning that you might want to read a lot of details about the war, the weapons, the people... seriously, a LOT of reading material. Optional so that if you don't feel like digging that deep into the plot, you are free to do so.
On the sound side, dubbing is great, and guns sounds as realistic as they could.
What weak points this game has? I'd say that id dosen't have an auto save function, but that's all.
So, i really suggest everybody to download the demo from the PSN and see for yourself what the gameplay feels, but this is really a great game, probably a "mandatory purchase" for any PS3 owner.