By Steve Baltimore / May 23rd, 2016
|Title||Valkyria Chronicles Remastered|
|Release Date||May 17th, 2016|
Valkyria Chronicles was originally released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2008. Though I never got a chance to finish that version of the game, I really loved the graphical look and the story was very interesting. When I got a chance to check out the release of the newly remastered version for the PlayStation 4, I jumped on it. This time around I was able to complete the game, but was it everything I expected it to be?
The tiny nation of Gallia is rich in a mineral known as Ragnite. The entire region’s economy is dependent on this multipurpose mineral. The Empire, seeking to gain control of this precious resource, begins to invade the countries of the Atlantic Federation. They soon arrive at the boarder town Bruhl just inside Gallia. Here Gunther Welkin, son of a famous general, has come home to help his sister leave town. Unfortunately, his efforts are halted as his actions seem suspect by some of the town watch. The local watch captain Alicia Melchiott takes him into custody until his sister clears up who he is. However the town is soon attacked and they must team up to fight for their lives. His father had kept a tank for many years and, thanks to his sister being able to operate it, they are able to escape from the imperial soldiers. They head for the capital city of Randgriz and join the Gallian militia. Thus begins the story of how the tiny nation of Gallia stood up against the powerful Empire.
This is only the beginning of the fantastic story. I would put this in my top five stories ever told in gaming, period. The characters are very fleshed out and the story is epic and very emotional at times. You really get to know these characters well through the dialogue, which is some of the best writing you will find anywhere. In the end it does what great games do. By the time the story ends, you feel like you went on a journey with these characters and connected with them.
Graphically this game looks amazing. You can tell that much care was given when this was being upscaled to 1080p. I thought it looked pretty amazing with its hand drawn art style and beautiful colors on the PS3, so I was really impressed to see it look even better this time around. There is no loss of frame rate nor any screen tearing that I saw. This is one of the best examples of how a remastered game should be.
The music in the game is an experience by itself. This soundtrack is one of the most amazing OSTs I’ve heard in a long time. From the amazing title theme to the epic battle themes, there’s not a bad track to be found here. It adds so much to the overall presentation and mood of this powerful story. The English VA is nicely done as well. All of the main characters sound really great and you can tell the voice actors put a lot of effort into the recording. The sound effects are a pretty standard affair. Lots of explosions, gunfire, and the roar of tanks as they roll into battle. Nothing is out of place here and while there’s nothing fancy, they get the job done nicely.
Valkyria Chronicles has one of the most unique gameplay systems around. While it is a turn-based strategy game, you actually move your characters around on the battlefield in third person view. As you move around the battlefield you also have to aim at your targets and take cover. This makes me feel like I have not only a lot more control over the battle than your average strategy title, but I feel much more immersed in the battle. At the beginning of each round you are given a certain number of CP, or command points. Moving a single unit will consume one point, except when you’re moving your tank, which will consume two points. The more officers you have on the field the more points you have at your disposal, but if these officers are wounded and leave battle, you will lose that point. You can also use these points to issue orders that provide a variety of buffs to help you in combat.
Your units will have two gauges displayed as you move your units around the battlefield. The gauge under their name is basically a distance gauge. This lets you know how far this unit can move. Scouts have the greatest range of movement while heavier units like the lancers have a lot less. Enemy units will fire at you and, if you’re hit, you will take damage while moving until you go into aim mode, so it is best to find cover fast when running into a crowd of enemies. If a unit’s HP reaches zero they will become wounded. If you cannot reach them with another unit within 3 rounds to evacuate them, they will die and be permanently gone from your lineup. Permadeath is alive and well here. Evacuated units can be re-deployed the following round from any of your bases on the map.
At the start of each battle you will be tasked with deploying your squad. This can get kind of tricky the first time you play these maps, since you have no way to know the placement of enemy units. There are four different types of units found here. The scouts have less fire power but can move great distances. These units are great for finding enemy positions. The lancers, which are your anti-tank units, move really slow but they are the only units other than your tank that can really do damage to enemy armor. The engineers can repair your tank or heal nearby units, but lack firepower of any sort. Snipers are great for picking enemies off at a distance but can take very little damage before being wounded. Lastly your shock troopers are machine gun units. They have a moderate movement range and can take down many light units with ease.
Troop types can be upgraded in between missions at headquarters with EXP you gain during battle. You will be graded on how well you complete each battle and higher grades net you more EXP and cash. The tank can also be upgraded with new gear at this time, and you can buy new equipment for your squad as well. You don’t have to buy upgrades for individual units, since these upgrades will apply to that entire type of unit. After some battles you obtain some special weapons as well, which can be equipped at this time, but unlike the weapons you purchase, these will only be for the person you equipped it on.
When units are leveled up with EXP they will gain a bit more health and do a bit more damage. You will also unlock new orders you can use. Since you unlock skirmish matches after completing just a few story missions it is really easy to grind up and overpower your units. This makes the combat easier, but some maps will still be difficult due to some victory conditions.
I had a great time with this title. The amazing story and masterful music create one of the most unique and best experiences I’ve had in gaming in a long time. I will not soon forget any of these characters, as they have left a lasting impression on me. The gameplay is top notch, as is the story itself, and there’s really nothing else like it out there. While it is easy to overpower your units and break the game a bit, I feel this is a must play title for anyone. For the $40 price tag you get around 35 to 40 hours of gameplay here and it is money well spent. If you bought the original on the PS3, you should still pick up this version for the included DLC and trophies. If you didn’t pick up the PS3 version, what are you waiting for?
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
SegaStrategy RPGValkryia Chronicles Remasteredwar