Title: Valkyria Chronicles

Platform: PS3, PS4, Windows, Steam

Reviewed on: PS4

Genre: RPG, stategy

Players: Single player



Written by Whistler 2nd June 2016



















As we draw ever closer to the next gen console’s third year in running the argument for or against remastering, whilst calmed down, is still an ongoing debate. Despite the occasional ‘reasonable’ ones like Resident Evil REmake (a title exclusive to the Nintendo Gamecube) I’ve found myself leaning towards the disgruntled side of the fence. But can SEGA’s eight year old remastering of the alternative world war jrpg Valkyria Chronicles change my mind for the better?


Now while I’ll admit my memory of the original is a little clouded I can confirm that Valkyria Chronicles is certainly ‘remastered’, running at a smooth sixty fps and sporting a 1080p resolution along with both English and Japanese voice casts. Thankfully all the PS3’s DLC is also included so for the most part it is superior to its predecessor and on par with the 2014 PC release.

However unless you’re particularly set about getting more trophies to add to your collection of platinum attempts, the core of Valkyria Chronicles remains very much as it did eight years ago.

























Our story takes place in an alternate Europe called Europa, where the growing scarcity of the precious resource Ragnite (equivalent to that of petroleum) sparks war on a global scale very much like our World War 2, between the Atlantic Federation and the East European Imperial Alliance. You are placed in the boots of one Welkin Gunther, son of a war hero who when returning to his hometown of Bruhl within the neutral nation Gallia is forced to take a stand for his countrymen. Gallia as it turns out is abundant in Ragnite thus neutrality be damned as the Eastern forces initiate an invasion to take them by force. Despite all odds and being overwhelmingly outgunned Welkin must take command of a ragtag militia and repel the invading forces.


Valkyria Chronicles employs a pseudo turn based combat system giving a real sense of urgency to each individual decision. Movement is in real time where the distance a character can travel is dictated by their action meter as each step will slowly consume it. Should an enemy troop have line of sight you’ll need to be wary of oncoming fire as you carefully dart from cover to cover and line up your shots third person shooter style. Surprisingly this merger of turn based and real time strategy is still as fresh as ever and offers a nice balance between tension and adrenaline. While the gameplay is solid you will occasionally feel entirely at the mercy of the dice roll even after you wrestle with the left thumbstick to line up a headshot.

























Classes are limited to Scout, Shock Trooper, Lancer, Engineer and Sniper, thusly you’ll need utilise each character effectively to assert dominance on the battlefield and reap bonus rewards for quick victories. Each map allows for a diverse amount of different tactics so while there are certainly optimal options there’s enough variety to allow you to tackle missions using your preferred methods. Granted after a while repetition does start to settle into Valkyria Chronicles 20-40 hour campaign but it does it’s best to change the aspects on the battlefield to keep it somewhat fresh.


Where Valkyria Chronicles shines is its narrative; aspects of romance, atonement, loyalty, discrimination, betrayal and sacrifice are just some of the aspects that are woven together in VC’s multifaceted tale. The main theme is of course an anti-war message and while it tends to overly portray a one sided perspective but is justified given it’s through the eyes of the invaded Gallians. Alongside and equally as focused on as the main theme, Valkyria Chronicles revels in the inter-personal relationships that go on between the cast and each character’s individual arcs.

While it manages to not paint the themes overly gruesome the narrative doesn’t flinch from showing the impact the war has and in spite of all the supernatural powers that show up through the game the events are deeply human in tone.


While visually you wouldn’t be putting VC on par with bigger budget titles, it’s watercolour filtered through cel shading art style is a unique wonder to behold. Somewhat akin to that of the cinematics found in Final Fantasy Tactics - War of the Lions, Valkyria Chronicles’ muted colour pallet and pencil drawn aesthetics are incredibly appealing and lend themselves to the overall tones and themes of the game.

























Eight years and Valkyria Chronicles is still a strong title that has stood the test of time that can safely find a home amongst the Playstation 4 crowd (though partly thanks to the lack of backwards compatibility). While it’s disappointing that those who already own VC on PS3 aren’t really going to find anything new, it certainly proves as an advocate for remastering and maybe this time it can get the recognition it deserves.



Pros:              

Refreshing pseudo turn based combat,

Challenging strategic gameplay,

Heartfelt story,

Interesting cast of characters.


Cons:             

Aiming controls can be a bit finicky,

Dice rolls abundant at times,

Lacking in any additional features.

                     

Final verdict,

Valkyria Chronicles rides out with a solid remastered 8/10.

 

Written by,

Whistler

 

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