MY RATING: 10/10 – All day, every day.
Hello again! I’m back with another review; but this time for a video game instead of an anime!
For those who don’t know; a remastered version of the much-loved ps3 game “Valkyria Chronicles” was announced and put up for pre-orders a while ago, and I of course, being a long time fan of the game, jumped on the chance to get a first run copy of it! My copy showed up yesterday – which was cool, because yesterday happened to be my birthday – and in light of this I have decided to do a review of the remastered version, and the game as a whole. Let’s start with what the remastered version gets you.
The remastered version of Valkyria Chonicles brings the graphics up to 1080p running at 60fps, and while the art was absolutely beautiful before, now it has that nice bit of modern crispness (Is that a word? Oh well – it is for now.) that makes it even more stunning to look at. Alongside the updated graphics, this version of the game also comes with all of the released DLC for the original, meaning you can get the full experience of the main story, as well as the bonus side stories that take place outside of the main story. Lastly, if you were one of the lucky ones like myself and pre-ordered it, your first-edition copy will include a special armored (metal) case with unique (and beautiful) cover art in North America, or if you pre-ordered from Europe, you will get the game in a standard case with the cover art above, alongside a 32-page art-book and a poster with the same art as the armored case. Personally, i’m happy I got the armored case, because the art-book they gave is just 32 pages taken from the 400 page (Yes, it’s absolutely enormous) Valkyria Chronicles: Design Archive art-book, and the metal case with the special art seems more unique and substantial to me than a poster. That’s just my outlook on it though. The 32 page art-book would be a lovely bit for fans who don’t want to sink $40 into the 400 page archive, as it still gives you a physical way to look at the absolutely amazing artwork from the game, but I’ve gone all the way and bought the full archive. I’m a huge fan of this game, so I am more than happy to throw my money at the creators, and the archive just has so much beautiful art and unique bits to it, that I couldn’t resist being able to hold it in my hands.
Alright! Now onto the main event; actually talking about the game itself!
Valkyria Chronicles is a game that takes place in 1930’s Europa, where the military superpower country known as “The Empire” has begun to invade the small country of Gallia for it’s rich resource deposits. The story follows Squad 7 of the Gallian militia, which includes characters such as; Alicia Melchiott, Welkin Gunther, Isara Gunther and a huge cast of friends and fellow soldiers.
The story itself is beyond amazing; it will see you make new friends and achieve great things, lose dear comrades to the grips of war, and it will have you witness and experience all the horrors and pain that war always carries with it. That right there is one of my favorite things about this game, it doesn’t make war flashy and exhilarating, but shows it for exactly what it is – brutal, destructive, and nothing but pain and suffering for either side. It even tackles racism for crying out loud, and the way is does it all is absolutely flawless. Playing through this game, you will laugh and you will cry, you will bounce with excitement and freeze in panic, and once it’s all over you’ll want to do it again.
The characters are all excellently fleshed out, with even the minor side-characters having an in-depth story and personality behind them. The way the characters interact with each other is very natural, and with such great character design, you will quickly fall in love with all of them.
The art style of the game makes it look like a living watercolor painting, and I never get tired of looking at it. The way everything is drawn is absolutely beautiful, and I could spend hours just staring at the art in this game.
The soundtrack for the game is 100% on-point, and fits the game perfectly while helping to build the atmosphere.
Gameplay is an amazing take on turn based strategy (I’ve been told it plays very similar to X-COM if you are familiar with that) that combines FPS elements to an extent, requiring you to closely monitor the position of your own troops as well as the enemy’s, and take carefully planning when executing strategies; factoring in things like tank position, the possibility of enemy units hiding around a corner waiting in ambush, how far your units can run in a turn without leaving them in the open, and so many others that it will truly demand your attention. If you like strategy RPG’s, this game may very well be the holy grail for you. No matter how many times you play through a given battle, no two will ever be exactly the same, and each and every one brings a certain feeling of accomplishment when you successfully complete the operation. I have had times where I had great difficulty planning around my enemies movements, and when I finally won the battle I felt like I had barely made it out alive, but had done the best I could. A game that can make you feel like you are truly directing a military operation like that, all the while trying your absolute best to not lose a single soldier in battle, and then abandoning all tactics and strategies to get a medic to one when they get hit, is a masterpiece as far as i’m concerned. Some battles will be frustratingly difficult, you will find yourself struggling to make the best tactical decision possible, and once it’s over and you’ve breathed a sigh of relief, you’ll get your troops geared up and ready for the next operation.
Whew, I think I got enough in there to say i’m satisfied. If you are a long time fan of the series like myself, I recommend buying the remastered version to play through the story again (and for the nice little collectible bits if you can still get an early copy), and if you haven’t played the game before – do so. Now. For the amount of enjoyment you will get out of this game, $40 (CAD) is so ridiculously cheap you’d be a fool not to give it a go. If you just want to zoom through and catch the story, the game will keep you busy for around 40 hours. If you want to play through multiple times – and believe me, you will for the strategy elements alone, if not for a 100% perfect run for achievements and such – this game can easily keep you occupied for around 400 hours, and you will love every minute of it. So far i’ve played the game on PC, PS Vita, and now i’m at it again on PS4, and it still has me wanting to come back again and again.
For those who are curious, here is the pre-order advertisement for the remastered version with the armored case, displaying the unique cover art.