Valkryia Chronicles was a game that really blew me away when it first released. Up until that point my experience with strategy RPGs was limited to isometric views and battlefields that were divided into squares. At the time it felt like a big leap forward for the genre and even now, playing the remaster after all these years, there’s still something so undeniably special and magical about this game.

The overarching plot revolves around the small, independent nation of Gallia, caught in the crossfires of a conflict between 2 superpowers. The Empire and Federation are embroiled in a war over a precious resource called Ragnite, a resource that Gallia just happens to have an abundance of. The small nation thus becomes a prime target for invasion which kicks off the story of the exploits of Welkin and Squad 7 as they try and push back the invading army and defend their homes.

Valkyria_1

Even as a fan of JRPGs, I’ll be the first to admit that the sub-genre has a tendency to rely heavily on tried and tested tropes, be it in the characters or story, it somehow rehashes a lot of the same concepts and archetypes. This game may seem like your average JRPG story, and to some degree I guess it is, but it never uses its roots as a crutch, instead it grows and evolves, ultimately providing a tale that is equal parts gripping and heartfelt. It also manages to deal with some of the heavier topics like discrimination and the horrors of war in a way that never feels self-indulgent and it always maintains a level maturity while still being entertaining.

A large part of what makes the story so good is the wide variety of characters, each with their own reason for fighting in the war. The main cast is filled with likable and relatable characters, from the songstress turned soldier, Rosie, to the strong yet soft-hearted General of the Empire, Selvaria. No one felt like throw away characters and they deeply enriched the overall narrative. The diversity of personalities also fostered a sense of attachment, and I found myself deeply caring for the soldiers in my squad as well. This not only played well into the narrative but it also enhanced the gameplay by making situations much tenser should a unit a fall in battle, and I always found myself prioritizing my unit’s safety over the overall objective.

Valkyria_2

Valkyria Chronicles melds together real-time and turn-based combat in an interesting way, that, at the time was quite the departure from the norm that fans of the strategy RPG genre were used to. Each turn begins with an overview map of the battlefield. Here you can see little icons for each of your units as well as where enemies are positioned, given that they’re visible on the map. You’re also given a set number of Command Points (or CP for short) that are used when you take direct control of a unit. Taking control of a character switches the view to a 3rd person perspective where you’re able to freely move around the field. There is one caveat though, as movement is governed by the Action Points (or AP for short) gauge, which gets expended as you move. Should you move into the line of sight of an enemy, they will start firing their guns, so the management of the AP gauge becomes a cornerstone of the overall strategy as you don’t want to be in a situation where you run out of AP and your unit is left completely in the open without any cover.

While enemies will fire should you get close enough, once you ready your weapon, everything will come to a halt and you’re given the chance to aim and fire without worrying about taking damage. It’s a great way of using turn-based mechanics to create a sort of semi-real-time environment. Once you’re done, you can either continue moving if you have AP left or you can end your turn. Now, unlike traditional SPRGs, you can actually choose to use that same unit again, albeit with a partially depleted AP gauge. This is an important feature that ties into the game’s class system as well.

Valkyria_3

Each soldier belongs to one of five classes, namely the Scouter, Shock Trooper, Lancer, Engineer and Sniper. Each class has a different purpose in battle and also has a different amount of AP that can be used in battle. Scouters for instance have the highest amount of AP and are used mostly for reconnaissance jobs as they’re not particularly strong. Shock Troopers on the other hand are much stronger than the other classes, but have a limited amount of AP. It then becomes important to think about how you’re going to move each of your units knowing you have a limited of CP per turn. On top of this, each unit has their own strengths and weaknesses that get triggered after certain conditions are met. Some characters love deserts for instance and thus receive stats boosts when they’re situated in that type of area, while others hate dirt and will be debuffed if you position them on a dirt road.

Valkyria Chronicles constantly had me thinking about all aspects of the battle, from effectively eliminating the enemy forces to maximizing each of my unit’s strengths. The depth of strategy is one of the game’s biggest strength. I felt like a strategist, carefully planning my next move while trying to keep my squadron alive. Just as things were working out beautifully, the game would often throw a spanner into the works that would completely derail my plans, be it environmental changes or adjustments to the enemy’s side. These situations required adaptability and kept skirmishes fresh and unpredictable. Unfortunately, the game can feel a tad bit unfair at times, and there were a few moments where encounters relied more on trial and error rather than careful planning. Thankfully, there are very few moments like that.

Valkyria_4

Outside of combat, you can use experience and money gained from battles to upgrade classes and weapons. Unlike most RPGs, you don’t level up individual characters, instead you pump exp into each class and every character belonging to that class will gain the benefit of it levelling up. Money on the other hand is used to upgrade weapons and your tank. You can take on extra side missions and skirmishes to gain extra exp and cash, which goes a long way in helping you through those tough main missions. Overall, while it’s in no way extensive or overly complex the game does provide a decent amount of customization options and side activities.

Valkyria Chronicles is one of those games where its art style really allows it to still look good, even though it was released over 8 years ago on the PlayStation 3. The watercolour-like aesthetics is as beautiful as I remember it to be when I first saw it and the 1080p and 60fps upgrade helps in making this game visually relevant by today’s standards. The soundtrack is equally superb with composer Hitoshi Sakimoto producing more of his iconic sounds that is both unique to this game and easily recognizable to anyone that has ever journeyed to the land of Ivalice.

Valkyria_5

What more can I say? Valkyria Chronicles is one of the best games Sega has ever made. It’s visual art style and strategic gameplay still holds up to this very day. There might not that much new content with the remaster but I’d still recommend it for those that haven’t played it in a while but it’s an absolute must buy for newcomers.

Last Updated: June 8, 2016

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a compelling game that holds up to this very day and still provides one of the best strategy RPG experiences you’ll find. It’s the same game we all know and love, just prettier.
9.0
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered was reviewed on PlayStation 4
84 / 100

37 Comments

  1. Gee thanks Umar. One more for the backlog T-T

    Reply

    • Ottokie

      June 8, 2016 at 13:06

      My Ps4 is not even 3 months old and already has a backlog of a year.

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        June 8, 2016 at 13:12

        Downloaded Batman last night so that I can finally start that. But I can’t stop playing Binding of Isaac plus I want to start Salt and Sanctuary and when everyone is online we play Overwatch.
        http://i.memeful.com/media/post/BRkjb5M_700wa_0.gif

        Reply

        • Ottokie

          June 8, 2016 at 13:13

          Witcher 3 is staring at me…

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 8, 2016 at 13:30

            That’s harsh. Geralt has the bestest facial expressions. Yesterday he did a perfect “Oh FFS” sigh & slump.

    • Umar

      June 8, 2016 at 13:21

      DO EET

      Reply

  2. Ottokie

    June 8, 2016 at 13:06

    Awesome article Umar!

    Reply

    • Umar

      June 8, 2016 at 13:21

      Thanks bud <3

      Reply

      • Sageville

        June 8, 2016 at 20:02

        Feel that love sunshine!

        Reply

  3. Strawman Jim

    June 8, 2016 at 13:10

    Give this young man his own ANIME/MANGA/JRPG column!!

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      June 8, 2016 at 13:14

      HAI!

      Reply

    • Umar

      June 8, 2016 at 13:23

      Haha YES, gief me a column so that I can post all my thoughts on hentai….I mean…anime…yes…..not hentai

      Reply

      • Strawman Jim

        June 8, 2016 at 13:24

        Always hentai… ALWAYS!! 😛

        Reply

  4. Pariah

    June 8, 2016 at 13:14

    I really need to install this. I have it. Sitting there. Glaring at me.

    Reply

    • Umar

      June 8, 2016 at 13:24

      It’s pretty damn awesome, but it is a bit of time sink though :/

      Reply

      • Strawman Jim

        June 8, 2016 at 13:24

        Yeah, I bought the PS4 version a week ago, but… I just haven’t had the time. I’m keen to give it a go though.

        Reply

        • Ottokie

          June 8, 2016 at 13:27

          There is a special for 15 months PS+ ATM for around R750

          Reply

      • Pariah

        June 8, 2016 at 13:34

        I’ve been so hyped to play it since I got it. I just never sit down to actually do so.

        Reply

        • Umar

          June 8, 2016 at 13:36

          Story.of.our.lives.

          Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      June 8, 2016 at 13:28

      Me too.

      Reply

  5. Admiral Chief Maximum Effort

    June 8, 2016 at 13:15

    Wow, sounds cool, looks, ummm, different

    Reply

  6. DragonSpirit009

    June 8, 2016 at 13:25

    Dammit… *writes down on list* Another game I have to get now!

    Reply

  7. Kaihaku

    June 8, 2016 at 14:11

    Sigh. I remember when I use to hope that games like this would get re-released on the Wii U.

    Reply

  8. Kromas GG

    June 8, 2016 at 15:01

    I played it way back and it was amazing. I may just try to get this on pc if it is available.

    Reply

  9. Rafien Mafinha

    June 15, 2016 at 01:43

    my life it’s indispensable.

    Y3 games | Y8 | racing games | yepi | Kizi games | Frozen Games
    Friv 2 Games

    Reply

  10. Yondaime

    June 20, 2016 at 16:52

    Wow, this article is insanely articulate, i have absolutely 0 interest in this game but I honestly just wana play it because of this review. Great Work Umar!

    Reply

  11. Rosy Malhotra

    August 26, 2016 at 12:01

    I have waiting too much for this info, I’ve been so hyped to play it since I got it. I just never sit down to actually do so. Thanks a lot for providing me this info.
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    October 7, 2016 at 17:02

    Looking So Good. Let me install on my Mobile. So Crazy…
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  13. Munish

    December 15, 2016 at 17:46

    This play is really amazing, it reminds me of my childhood days. It is most memorable one. Whole play was acted in my school and we were so amazed to see such things there. Thanks lazygamer. Lets PLAY the game now.

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    December 20, 2016 at 11:46

    yeuh bray Obat Benjolan Di Belakang Telinga Thanks…….

    Reply

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    March 27, 2017 at 08:40

    person can not be bored while playing this game. you attached with this game and it looks like you are inside the game. graphics are outstanding. one of my favourite game this is
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