Valkyria Chronicles Remastered Review
The Guinness Book Of World Record’s “Best Strategy RPG for the PS3” has returned with an HD remake for the PS4. It’s got the entirety of the original game, plus all of its DLC, and to this day it remains one of the most unique gaming experiences on the market. If you already have the original, there’s not a whole lot of reason to get this remake, but if you haven’t experienced it before, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered for the PS4 is the most complete version, of a last-gen classic.
If you haven’t played the original before, the game’s story takes place in a fictional continent called Europa, where the Atlantic Federation (allied democracies of Western Europa), are invaded by the East Europan Imperial Alliance, because of a depleting mineral called Ragnite in the East. The game’s main characters escape from a border town during an invasion, and eventually begin to lead a successful militia against the Empire’s forces.
That first chunk of the story is a little ho-hum, but eventually it’s revealed that a descendant of the Valkyrians, a magic using race which saved the ancient world, joins the Empire, and that’s where things got really interesting for me. The campaign is long, and the story has depth! If you’re at all a fan of story-driven JRPGs, then Valkyria Chronicles should please.
“I didn’t really notice much of a difference between the PS3 and PS4 versions, but all in all, Valkyria Chronicles looks stunning 8 years after its original release.”
The BLiTZ combat engine is the main draw of this unique game. The player’s turn starts with Command Mode, which is an overhead map typical of tactical RPGs, where the player uses Command Points to control units. Once a unit is selected, the games switches to Action Mode, which is a third person perspective, where players move characters through the battlefield, according to the amount Action Points they have, which limits their movement. Then the turn shifts into Target Mode, where the player aims shots at their opponents. Combat is kept fresh because characters have different roles, like Tank Commander or Scout, which play very differently from each other. And each mission has different objectives, that aren’t necessarily “Kill ‘Em All!”. The battlefield environment also plays a fun role, where, for example, snipers should position themselves on rooftops, but tanks could also smash through those same buildings. It’s a unique combat experience that provides a lot of variety, and a lot of depth as the game progresses.
The game was built on SEGA’s CANVAS engine, which was “designed to make games look like water color paintings”. The core of the graphics is a cell-shaded anime-style, kind of like a cross between Street Fighter IV and Ni No Kuni (just without the Studio Ghibli pizazz). The colors are very watercolor toned, but what really makes the visuals unique is an effect that looks like pencil shading on an artist’s sketchpad. The graphics, along with the excellent music, create a beautiful tone and setting for the game’s story. I didn’t really notice much of a difference between the PS3 and PS4 versions, but all in all, Valkyria Chronicles looks stunning 8 years after its original release. And even though there’s an option to switch between English and Japanese voice acting, both are excellent.
The problem with reviewing a remake that’s so close to the original version, is that there’s not always a lot more to say to those who have played the original. As long as it’s not a messed up port (*cough Konami), the HD remake is likely going to be the best version. If you still have a PS3, the original can be purchased for $20, which makes the $45 PS4 version a very fat pill to swallow. So what does that extra $25 get you? All of the DLC (which can be purchased for $12 in total on the PS3)! This includes Enter The Edy Detachment, a side mission about the character Edy, Behind Her Blue Flame, a side mission from the POV of one of Selveria’s troops, Challenge Of The Edy Detachment, a series of sequel challenges for Edy’s squad, and Hard EX Mode, which is essentially an extra hard mode for the main story. There is also no digital version of Valkyria Chronicles for the PS3, so if you don’t like hard copies, this might be more enticing.
In the end, this is the best version available of a great game, so if you haven’t played it, and want the most up-to-date/complete version, this is the one for you. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is highly recommended for fans of Tactical RPGs, JRPGs, or games that uniquely blend gameplay elements to create original gaming experiences. No doubt, it’ll get you hyped for next year’s sequel/ spinoff Valkyria: Azure Revolution!
*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***
- Unique tactical JRPG/third person shooter gameplay
- Gorgeous cell shaded/penciled anime style
- Long game with lots of depth
- Not much different from PS3 w/ DLC version
- Story takes a while to get interesting