Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a tactical RPG that places a lot of importance on your individual soldiers. It's not like Civilization or StarCraft where you can throw units around recklessly and just create more when you run low. But it also does something different than most RPGs, where characters join your group naturally as the story progresses. Valkyria Chronicles 4 has a few secret, unlockable characters, and they're worth going out of your way to recruit.
You can unlock this engineer during Chapter One if you play your cards right. All you have to do is send Curtis Blackwell, a scout you have from the beginning of the game, to his doom. That's right, just let Curtis get shot until he loses all of his HP. Once he's down, get a teammate to his side so they can call the medics to evacuate him. When the battle is over, Eileen, Curtis' sister, will join you. That's a free engineer just for playing badly!
You might miss Gertrude if you're not aware of her. That's because she is locked behind the steep requirement of saving up 1,000,000 DCT! And to be clear, that doesn't mean accumulate 1,000,000 DCT over the course of the game. You actually need to have the full amount in your wallet at one time. To do that, you'll want to do every skirmish and Squad Story you can, and buy equipment upgrades sparsely. Gertrude is a solid lancer with some of the best voice work in the game, so she's definitely worth saving up for.
While the almighty Kai might be a fantastic sniper on her own, it never hurts to double up. Enter Mabel. Mabel will join your squad after you complete three Squad Stories, the side missions where characters get to know one another. To unlock a Squad Story, you simply have to have one of the involved characters reach the rank of Corporal. To do that, you have to spend 40 CP on a character by having them take 40 "turns."
Here's a hack to do that quickly: Go to the first skirmish level. Spend all of your turns selecting the same character, but don't actually move them or attack. Do this until you've selected them 40 times. Since it's the first map, making it basically a tutorial level, enemies won't give you trouble as you continually feed CP to your chosen character. I recommend you use Nico, Jester, and Aulard for this. You can have Mabel by chapter 5 if you turn these three into Corporals.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is now available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Read our review on the Switch version here: