Valkyria Chronicles Remastered Review Our Highest Honors
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
ESRB Rating: T
A Review copy was provided by SEGA
Valkyria Chronicles originally debuted on the PS3 and became a cult classic over time. Me, being a person who never got a PS3 until a couple of years ago, never got a chance to actually play the game. A lot of my friends would talk to me about how great the game is, and, I will admit, a game that is basically an anime rendition of World War II intrigued me. So when I heard the game was being remastered for the PS4, I thought I might as well give it a try after all these years. Now, I should mention that even though this is a remastered game, this is my first time ever playing it, so this review will be based on its overall presentation.
The story of Valkyria Chronicles is an interesting tale. You are Welkin Gunther, the son of a famous war hero. You return to your hometown of Bruhl after college to help your sister get ready to move out of the capital due to the looming invasion threats from the Imperial Empire. Your home nation of Galia is home to the precious fuel resource, Ragnite, a resource that powers most machinery in Europa and is running low in the Imperial Empire. Due to a slight mix up, you are brought in for questioning by the town guard, however, before things can be explained away, the Imperial Army begins to launch their attack on Bruhl. One thing leads to another and you decide to help fight back against them. Shortly after leaving Bruhl you are drafted into the army as a Lieutenant and tank commander in charge of the Militia Squad known as Squad 7. Here, you and your squad made of yourself, Alicia, Largo, Rosie, Isara and sixteen other members of your choosing, take up the Gallian Banner to help in the fight to drive the Imperials out of Galia. I am not going to be delving too much into the details of the main story as I want this review to be as spoiler free as possible, however, I can say without a shadow of a doubt this game’s story is easily one of the best I have experienced in a long time. The story walks you through all the struggles and heartaches your squad can go through. The character development of the main squad members is extremely heartwarming. You start out as a rag tag group of people from all walks of life and grow to end the adventure as one tight family known as Squad 7.
While you may only be observing the happenings of the story from an outside perspective, I honestly felt like I was Welkin, and that I was in his shoes. Throughout the story, his struggles became my struggles, when he felt pain or sadness I did too. The game’s story was crafted in a way to make the player feel like they are part of this family as well. This is honestly the best aspect of the game’s story. The level of immersion this game puts you through is unreal. By the end of the game’s story I was exhausted, but exhausted in a good way, like the game had me directly on the Galian frontlines. This is what makes good story telling, in my opinion. The overall story had no dull moments whatsoever. It was really an emotional roller-coaster. Each of the game’s chapters are broken up into story segments and battle segments. The balance of story and battle was done almost perfectly, never once did the story overstay its welcome as it knew when to shut up and get right to the action. The game also has something known as reports that let you get to know the main members of Squad 7 better, while these reports are purely optional, they can add another layer of understanding to the overall story and the motives of certain members on your crew. This helped me connect to my squad mates a lot better, and it also explained a lot of their actions and backstories prior to joining the 7th. I can go on and on about this game’s story, it was perfect and I loved it. It was like being part of a WWII inspired anime. The story of this game, alone, is worth the pickup. However, that’s not only part of what I love so much about this game, let’s talk a bit about the rest of Squad 7 and the gameplay.
The commanders of Squad 7 are Welkin, Alicia, Isara, Largo and Rosie, from there you are able to pick 17 other members to join your team. Unfortunately, none of these squad members get much attention in the main story, but that doesn’t stop them from standing out in their own way. There is a countless number of recruits to choose from and each one has their own unique personality and traits. They also have their own unique backstory which you can read in the games personnel tab, these stories range from your unit member being simple farmhands to being up and coming actors, to being straight out of Skies of Arcadia. I appreciate that the creators took time to give life to each character. Some even had personalities done so well I disliked them based on how they acted. The next best thing about units is that each one has their own potentials and skills that they can use in battle (some positive some negative) making team diversity critical. You always want to have a fair balance of all classes in your reserves. It should also be noted, if your team mates do fall in battle they need to be evacuated by a medic ASAP, if they are left on the field too long they will die permanently. Being in the roll of the leader of this squad, I felt as if it was my duty to make sure no harm ever came to my team mates. I would always treat their safety as top priority. That’s how much I fell in love with the characters in my squad.
Next let’s talk about the gameplay of Valkyria Chronicles, its rather simple. It is a turn-based tactical RPG in which you have a certain amount of Command Points (CP) to spend each turn to move your units. Your job is to lead your troops on missions that the army can’t do on their own. In combat you will command a various amount of classes ranging from scouts, to powerful shock troopers, to anti-tank lancers, to patient snipers to dedicated engineers. Each action you take uses up at least one command point. This makes each movement you make very important, as any wasted CP could mean the difference between victory or defeat. Thankfully, any unspent CP can be carried over to your next turn. Sometimes it’s best to conserve CP for big battles so you can perform a fast offensive, as many of the more important and powerful moves will require more CP. These moves are known as Orders. Welkin can give Orders to his squad mates that can do a various amount of things from increasing a unit’s defense or attack, to completely awakening all of their potentials while on the battlefield. Speaking of potentials, these are another important gameplay mechanic to account for. Each unit has their own set of potentials and skills that can turn the tide of battle. These can activate at random times on the battlefield, or when certain conditions are met. A lot of potentials are environmental based as well, you may have one unit who has pollen allergies so deploying them on a grassy field level may not be the best, while you could have a unit that is at complete peace when around nature giving them a big boost when charging forward. However it is not wise to completely rely on these potentials, because unless you issue a special order to awaken their potentials they will be triggered mostly at random. That being said, while they are triggered at random they can easily turn the tables of the battle if executed right.
Overall, the battles in this game are really enjoyable. Each unit has their own move speed, with scouts being the fastest class and the snipers being the slowest, allowing each unit to have their own play style for you to choose while advancing. The enemy team also abides by the same rules you do when it comes to their classes and turn orders. As I progressed, I noticed that the enemy would become more and more aggressive in their playstyle and would spend their command points more wisely, and begin to focus more on high priority targets like Welkin’s tank (if at any point Welkin’s tank is destroyed that leads to an instant game over). This made the game’s difficulty flow naturally as I progressed through the game outside of one minor hiccup (I’m looking at you Chapter 7). That being said, all of the battle missions were very unique and they make great use of the different map layouts available. The next best thing is that every map doesn’t have one set way of clearing it. The best part is finding the best strategy that fits your play style as you move up. At the end of each mission the game will also rank you based on your performance. The faster you complete a mission the more bonus experience and money you’ll get. You use this at the headquarters to invest in R&D to help give your squad better equipment, while the experience is used in the training camp to level up your classes. Also don’t worry, you level up everyone as a class, so if you want to switch out units in your party, everyone’s level stays consistent.
In terms of replay value, Valkyria Chronicles has so much to offer. New to this remastering that was missing in the PS3 version are achievements, which, honestly, is a welcomed addition. I have no problem going through this game again to Platinum it. There is also New Game Plus which allows you to replay the game again with all your stats carried over, and allows you to repeat missions to try and get a better rank. Outside of missions there are Skirmishes and other side quests for you to go on as well. The game also keeps track of all your records for every mission you do, so you have an idea of what you want to go for in terms of ranking. The ultimate goal is to get an A rank in every mission possible. So if you enjoyed the battles of this game and you wanted to try your hand at straight A’s, there is no real lacking in things to do in the after game. Even during the main game there is a lot to do outside of the story if you ever wanted to take a break from it.
Visually Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is just a stunning game to look at. The game runs at a solid 60fps and I never truly experienced any frame rate drops at all. The anime art style mixed with the World War II atmosphere could not have been done more perfectly. Each level was awesome to look at, and there were some maps that I wanted to explore every corner to see what the whole map looked like. The game’s charm is perfect, and the story book design in its cut scenes truly adds a whole new layer to the games overall presentation. The soundtrack also adds a nice layer of polish to the game, the games many tracks fit each situation that they are used in perfectly. From songs that play during panic type missions, to epic songs that play during risky missions, sometimes I found the music kept me going on as I marched through to victory no matter how grim things began to look.
Overall, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a phenomenal game. I have no real complaints about this game at all, every minor grievance I had I was able to overlook due to how well this game is strung together. My only regret is that I never played this game sooner. That being said, if you are like me and you have never played this game before I recommend you pick up this game right now. It’s only $29.99, and for a game that’s easily a 40 hour adventure it’s worth every single penny. The games story managed to capture my heart and by the end of the game, I had tears streaming from my eyes. Valkyria Chronicles will go down for me as one of the greatest games I have ever played.
+Rewarding and Fun Gameplay
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