+Perfectly remastered in 1080p at 60fps bringing the game to life
+Characters, lands, and combat remain vibrant and lively in this remaster
+Combat system blends strategy with third-person turn based RPG action quite well
+Features all content released to date
–Storybook like presentation feels dated, but remains unique in its use.
–Cutscenes are an overkill situation
–Could have used a few new pieces of content such as new missions or content.
Starting back on the PlayStation 3 in 2008, Sega has set forth one of the greatest war Sega’s that could be told through video games. One that quite easily re-tells WarWar 1 through an imaginary land known as Gallia. A place where morals, loyalty, and patriotism sticks to the forefront of the title as well as the main characters within the titles heart as they push on against almost impossible odds. While the adventure starts out slow, it begins to pickup pace within an hour and a half or so. This adventure is quite beautifully told in its story-book manner that equates to a beautifully hand-drawn style that starts from beginning to end within the game itself.
Much as one would expect when approaching the title, the game is very much-so a storybook and takes the approach as so. Starting with this remastered title, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is just that – a remastering of the original title with all its content available for the sake of playing it. This is a concept that shouldn’t be too odd anymore since it has become commonplace on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Even the PC has been getting the treatment for a while now thanks to mod support and its user base that keeps games current and modified for the next gen. Staying true to the tune of being a remaster, Valkyria Chronicles is a 1080p remaster, allowing the game to run at its full 60fps potential, and truly bring the story book approach to life. Doing this isn’t just a justification on what the game should be, it shows that the game has a lot more quality to its distinct art direction as well as story book approach to bring every particle to life as one would want.
Starting out, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered starts us out on a wild adventure that tells us the tale of Squad 7 and the lands of Gallia through a re-imagining of World War 2. This adventure, as stated, is told through a story-book like manner from the cutscenes all the way to combat scenarios. These scenes are depicted through a gradient hand-drawn like manner that allows the game to carry through with its art style, which is quite beautiful all around, and even brings in rather vibrant colors to life without washing out any of them. Let alone are cutscenes this way, combat is this way as well, and the game doesn’t drop this approach through even the menus themselves.
In the beginning of the game we learn our game takes place in 1935 C.E., in the continent of Euorpa. This land has been dominated by two super powers: Eastern Europan Imperial Alliance to the east and the commonwealth of the Atlantic Federation to the west. AS one would imagine the game doesn’t take far from the true settings of World War 2 in Europe. In the imaginary lands of Gallia, the story unfolds when the Empire declares war on the Federation, over a precious mineral that has multiple uses than any other mineral.
The economies of both powers depend on a precious multipurpose mineral called Ragnite. Its growing scarcity results in the Empire declaring war on the Federation, sparking the Second Europan War. With the elements amount of available resources growing scarce, the Empire has set forth to take it all for themselves in order to keep relevant with their needed resources, the empire has broken the neutral Principality of Gallia, which strikes up their aggression as they put the Federation on defense as the Imperial Forces set forth to invade the Gallian border town of Bruhl. Here we get to see the introduction to the country’s hero General Belgen Gunther’s son, Welkin. Here he is forced to fight for the life of his people, his sister, and does so with the assitance of Alicia Melchiott, the town watch’s captain.
Our opening moments introduce us to them, but also the prototype tank Edelweiss that was developed during the first war. With this prototype tank at their command, the squad soon find themselves in the capital cit of Randgriz where they join the Gallian Militia. Though before all this happens the thing that comes to the forefront of the game is the combat when not delving into the story-book like cutscenes that are fully voice acted.
Combat in this game is where the uniqueness comes forth. The game blends familiar styles as both a strategy title with limited actions per turn, but also a third-person RPG that sets players up for the turn-based action. Combat scenarios take place as one would expect. Players have limited actions per turn, which is used by each character selected. This includes players attacking or selecting more powerful units. Each of these action points are revealed as the players turn chances, as players use actions, their points lower down, and this will remain-so till the player ends their turn. During the players turn they can take control of each character, each character is unique in the sense each one has their own story, their own traits, and even personalities that they bring to the story. However, it’s not important as the choices players make as they take their tuns in order to heal, toss a grenade, shoot an enemy, or even move up to a vantage point in order to post up and set up an ambush against enemies.
Once a set of action points are used, players must end their turn and await the enemy to finish their own before refreshing their own action points. Much like players, the computer also has its own action points that can be used up during its turn to attack enemies however needed. This can be tanks, troops and or a combination of both as the mission gets underway. Combat itself is the primary focus when it comes to the game. Blending strategic turn based RPG like mechanics most will be familiar with from games such as Fire Emblem and Project X Zone; Valkyria Chronicles remains unique and blessed in this sense as it continues a tradition many will be familiar with. As stated, each character has a certain cost, for most it is one action point per turn used for that character. If one is in perfect placement, it’s hard to justify moving them while another can be used multiple times. For the sake of purposes, in the starting mission where players are introduced to crawling, hiding against walls, and even flanking; I found myself using Alicia quite a bit since she had the upper-hand. This means I used more than one action point on her per turn and found her quickly moving enemies into oblivion so that my mission may continue on.
Upon certain goals, players will find each mission has a unique go-to point. In one of the starting missions, we find ourselves protecting a wall from an Imperial militia that has moved in with a tank. Here we found ourselves fending off the troops while attempting to disable the enemy tank. The win and lose settings were simple. A main character dies, in this case Alicia, I lose. The gate I’m protecting gets destroyed, I lose. I destroy the enemy assault team? I win. Pretty simple. The mission, as expected, allowed me to take on multiple enemy fronts while protecting the gate. This included dispatching as many troops as possible till the Edelweiss came into play. Once it did, I found myself controlling a tank being commandeered by Welkin himself. In order to use the tank I found my action points became more limited, but in doing so – so did my combat prowess. I was able to annihilate ground troops in one turn of the tank, only to finish off the others with Alicia or Town-watch Troops, who found themselves tactically using grass fields to hide from the tank itself.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Price: $29.99 USD
Released: Available Now
Much as one would expect, larger enemies such as tanks do have critical points in where they will take more damage. For example – shoot the back-end where the motor is? It’ll take “critical” damage due to the weak point. Aim for the treads? You’ll stop it dead in its tracks since it won’t be able to go anywhere, which opens the tanks up for more damage to be taken. While this sounds easier said than done, during some missions, the harder route is actually quite-a-lot easier than the easier one due to enemy combatants.
As players would expect, each locale where combat takes place is unique. Each one has its own layouts that will offer players a way to set up ambush points if defending. For example, the mission I used, had quite a unique approach to it. Since it had grass, sandbag walls, and even buildings, I found myself setting up ambush points in the grass quite a bit. This allowed my characters to have a unique hiding spot for a tactical advantage, but it also offered those characters a chance to toss grenades, heal each other, and even pick-off troops with rifles while waiting on the Edelweiss to make its way into combat. Even then, these tactics are great for the ground troops as it offers them a chance to remain hidden and taking less damage.
While thinking of the game as remastered, there’s always the questions regarding graphics, animation fidelity, and even sound fidelity since it can all get neglected in remastering. The truth is? Nothing here got damage. In truth the team did a solid job in their port from PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4. In truth, a lot better than the PC port, which only saw the original screen size resolution, and 720fps video clips, while the PlayStation 4 version has been completely overhauled to fit the newer version and presents itself quite well for fans and newcomers alike.
Our review is based on a copy provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.