Do it for Gallia!
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered on PS4
As the name suggests, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a PS4 port of the tactical RPG that amassed a cult following when it first released on the PS3 some years ago. Taking the similar tactical formula of the XCOM games, and placing it in an alternative WW2 setting, Valkyria Chronicles does a superb job of telling a tale about the brutality of warfare, racism, and love blooming on a battlefield.
To start, your main characters are Welkin and Alicia. Welkin wants to be a teacher, but the Imperials waging war on Gallia means that he can’t neglect his duty, and thus decides to join the militia to fight for his homeland. Similarly, Alicia was a simple baker girl before the war started, but is now doing all she can to drive the Imperials out of Gallia.
The world of Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is named Europa (hmm, kinda sounds like a real place), and the Imperials, who are basically designed to look like evil, sinister German soldiers, are out to conquer territory for control over a precious resource called Ragnite. Valkyria Chronicles follows the journey of the militia Squad 7, and their various clashes and skirmishes against the Imperials. The tension doesn’t just come from the conflict between the two warring countries, either; fights constantly break out within Squad 7 itself, as distrust arises between squad members because of one’s race and background.
Given the anime storybook aesthetic of Valkyria Chronicles, it was pleasantly surprising to see that the game wasn’t afraid to have its characters dole out some nasty racist remarks towards a particular Darcsen squad mate. The game doesn’t shy away from depicting the bloody aftermath of warfare too, and its characters consistently convincing in their lamentations of war itself.
Of course, it isn’t all just blood and misery in Valkyria Chronicles. The game knows how to pace itself and lighten the mood whenever it’s needed. The relationship between Welkin and Alicia develops very naturally throughout the course of the story, and they’re probably one of the most convincing romantic couples I’ve seen in a video game. Friendships and bonds in Squad 7 are built over a long period of time, and you know the game excels at establishing a sense of true camaraderie whenever you wince at the thought of having a soldier die in the line of duty.
Speaking of dying, that’s a thing that happens a lot in Valkyria Chronicles Remastered. The battles can get long and drawn out, each stretching for around 40 minutes before you finally capture the enemy base, or have Welkin getting one-shot by a Lancer, resulting in a swift Game Over for you. Much like your typical tactical RPGs, you get to deploy soldiers on a map, and use up turns to move them around the battlefield and attack enemies. You’ve got Scouts, Lancers, Snipers, Engineers, and Shocktroopers, and you’ll need to know how to take advantage of their class abilities in order to win.
For instance, if you’re up against a battalion of tanks, you’re going to want to bring in some Engineers to repair your own tank, and a few Lancers to fire off their anti-missile shots. Positioning your troops and the direction they’re facing is extremely important as well, as you never know when reinforcements or hidden enemies might sneak up behind you to deal a critical hit. That said, it does feel immensely satisfying to plan out a strategic play, have it be a success, and take out your enemies in one fell swoop. It’s easy to make a wrong move in Valkyria Chronicles and have your soldiers die permanently, and it can be frustrating when certain story battles dictate that enemy reinforcements appear in the middle of a conflict and completely screw you over. However, the game allows you to save in between turns, and it’s important to try to predict your enemy’s actions for the next phase.
When you’re outside of battle, you’ll have the opportunity to return to your Headquarters and recruit new members for Squad 7. There’s a wide range of activities to engage in back at HQ, including assigning experience points to your classes, paying a journalist to write stories about you, and develop weapons for your soldiers and your badass tank.
With this PS4 port, you’ll also get to play all of the previously released DLC content for the game. These DLC missions allow you to learn more about some of your favorite squad mates who may not have gotten that much screen time in the main campaign, and also give you more insight into the thoughts and actions of certain antagonistic characters. There’s a lot of in-depth content packed into this stellar port of Valkyria Chronicles, and it’s most definitely worth its entry price for both newcomers and those who have yet to experience the additional stories.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered looks fantastic on the PS4, and both its visuals and gameplay hold up well today. It tells a gripping tale of difficult battles and the bonds that blossom from conflict, and it serves up a story that will keep you invested in its development and characters from start to finish.
• Fantastic story and character development.
• Great tactical gameplay that rewards forethought and strategic planning.
• Includes all DLC content, which extends play time rather significantly.
• Some enemy appearances are impossible to predict and can one-shot you after a long, drawn out battle