SEGA released Valkyria Chronicles on PC two years ago and now they have another port of their 2008 SRPG, this time on the PlayStation 4. So how does the game hold up and is it worth your time again? Let’s get started and find out!
If you haven’t played Valkyria Chronicles before (shame on you!), then let me explain a bit of the setting and story. The game takes place in a fictional country called Europa, if you guessed it was loosely based on Europe, you would be correct. The game is an alternative and more anime take on events that occurred in the early years of World War II. In this title your from Gallia, a neutral country but since you guys seem to have a abundance of Ragnite ore you soon come under attack by the East Europan Atlantic Federation. In this game you take control of a young squad of soldiers, which are all part of Squad 7. Guess who is in charge of everything that has to do with Squad 7? You!
The game even lets you build your own squad of soldiers, each one having their own weaknesses and positives. Each one of these can be seen in the character’s notes and each character has their own distinct personality. Don’t expect groundbreaking character work here, since most of them are very anime cliche, but I don’t consider this a bad thing at all. Did I mention that the game has Vyse, Aika and Fina from the awesome SEGA Dreamcast JRPG Skies of Arcadia? Yep, people that worked on Skies of Arcadia also worked on Valkyria Chronicles [Learn more about Overworks in our developer retrospective].
The game is a 3D strategy role playing game (SRPG). So if you played games like Fire Emblem, X-COM and/or Shining Force then you should be well acquainted with this gameplay style. You move your characters in position, do your action and then the enemy has a turn. One of the big issues with these games is that battles take a long time and this game is no different. You have battles ranging from 15 minutes all the way up to almost 45 minutes. The fact that you can’t fast forward enemy turns is a real bummer, as the PC version has this available via the modding community at least.
Unlike most SRPGs, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered allows the user to directly control units, for example you move your sniper character into position and then you set the shot like you would a regular action game. Most SRPGs, especially those form Japan are more turn based in nature so this approach really does make a difference in the feel of the game.
Each character also has their own classes that you can level up to unlock new abilities. The five classes in this game include:
- Scouts: Lower health, but can move more per turn and decent range of fire.
- Shocktroopers: Decent health, low mobility and high fire rate.
- Lancers: Decent health, decent mobility and used against tanks with their rockets.
- Engineers: low health, decent offense and can repair tanks.
- Snipers: While limited in use, have decent mobility and accurate long range fire (especially after you level them up).
You will also have a tank that you can control but honestly always felt like the game never really got the controls down for it so I try not to use it as much. Yep, they didn’t fix up the controls for this version nor the PC re-release.
All these upgrades are part of the games Headquarters, a menu based town that allows you to visit various locations and interact with characters while you spend exp to upgrade squad members. If one of your characters dies during combat you can always visit their graves in the Cemetery as well.
Graphics and Music
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered boasts the same graphics found in the PlayStation 3 original, which has a great watercolor look to it. SEGA called this graphics engine the ‘Canvas’ engine due to how it looked on screen. When I first saw Valkyria Chronicles, I thought it was a gorgeous game and now it looks better than ever on the PlayStation 4 thanks to it outputting the picture at 1080p. If you want a game with a really great art direction, look no further.
Valkyria Chronicles has a fantastic soundtrack composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto who is best known for composing games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story and many more. I think his soundtrack totally compliments the game’s world. Some of my favorite tracks include War-Torn Nature, The Unstoppable 7’s and The Emptiness of Solitude. Overall a really enjoyable soundtrack that becomes great background music during long battles.
While the game does sport higher resolution graphics than its PlayStation 3 counterpart and increased framerate, which makes a big difference in my eyes, there isn’t much else. The game does come with all the DLC extras that you had to buy separately on PlayStation 3 and has trophies (since the PlayStation 3 version didn’t support it). But outside of this, it is pretty bare. Not saying that the game you are getting here isn’t worth the $29.99 price of entry because it really is if you have never played the original back in 2008 or a few years ago when it was released to PC. But if you have already played the game, there isn’t much new about Valkyria Chronicles Remastered to probably keep your interest.
Another negative is that since it’s a PlayStation 4 game, it doesn’t support mods. That means crucial mods that make the base game better just aren’t going to happen for this version. For example, Gallian Crossfire which added so much like speeding up enemy turns, rebalances, and higher difficulty. Can’t really fault SEGA on the mods situation, as that is a rule created by Sony, but you’d think that if they were going to get a separate team (yes, SEGA had two different developers do the PC and PlayStation 4 versions) they would see these mods and develop the features into the base game. I guess they didn’t find it all that interesting.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a bargain for all newcomers, especially at its $29.99 dollar price point. You will spend dozens of hours fiddling in huge SRPG battles. Thanks to the PlayStation 4 hardware, the game runs a lot smoother than the PlayStation 3 original. SEGA’s Canvas graphical engine also gets a even better picture due to it running at 1080p. Its also nice to see SEGA include all the DLC that was sold separately when the game originally released.
Series veterans hoping to get something new out of this package will probably be disappointed. The game is pretty much a slightly enhanced port of the PlayStation 3 version and aimed mostly at people itching for a SRPG to play. I will admit though, I have played through this game multiple times already and I never regret it. Well, except for when I lose, of course.
- Still a Great game
- Great art style
- Past DLC included
- Bare bones release
- PC version still better bang for your buck
“Valkyria Chronicles is still a fantastic experience and definitely worth plaything through again.”