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Valkyria Chronicles Remastered Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Although Sega hasn't added anything to this PlayStation 4 port, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered remains an exciting mix of third-person shooting and strategy role-playing. The lengthy quest can be a bit wordy at times, but that doesn't overshadow the great visuals and fun missions. Even if this isn't a genre you normally enjoy, Valkyria Chronicles may be fast-paced enough to change your mind. Rating: 78%
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered Valkyria Chronicles Remastered Valkyria Chronicles Remastered Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
  • Review Score:

  • B+
While all my friends swooned over the Super NES, I was always more of a Genesis guy. I loved Sega's willingness to try all kinds of new ideas and I looked forward to every new series they came up with, both good and bad. But Sega has lost its way over the last 15 years, churning out a steady diet of bad Sonic games and Total War sequels. I sometimes wonder if the Sega that made Streets of Rage, Comix Zone and Ristar is gone for good.

Whenever I get discouraged by the company I once loved, I remember Valkyria Chronicles. Although the series never caught on in the West, this action/strategy role-playing hybrid won me over in a big way. And for as much as enjoyed the original PlayStation 3 game, I loved the PSP sequel even more. But poor sales doomed the franchise, and Sega opted to keep Valkyria Chronicles 3 in Japan. This is a series that never got the respect it deserved, something that has frustrated me since its 2008 debut. But maybe that's about to change, thanks to a brand new remastered port for the PlayStation 4.

For those who missed out on the game the first time around, Valkyria Chronicles takes place during a brutal war between the East Europan Imperial Alliance and the Atlantic Federation in the west. On a trip back to his boyhood hometown, Welkin Gunther accidentally gets arrested and caught in the middle of the fighting. As the son of a great war hero, Welkin picks up arms and commands a scrappy group of freedom fighters known as Squad 7.

This sets up an intense battle over land and power, with the evil Maximillion Gaius Von Reginrave plotting a nasty surprise for our heroes. It all culminates in an epic adventure that spans 18 story-heavy chapters and dozens of hours of wartime fun. It's a deep and dark story that is corny at times, but not afraid to go for the emotional punch.

Put simply, Valkyria Chronicles mixes the fast-paced action of a third-person shooter with the careful planning of a strategy role-playing game. If you're the type of person who loves the concept of Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre but found them too slow, this accessible mash-up brings the genre to life like never before. Even as somebody who enjoys the turn-based strategy in those RPGs, I loved seeing the battles from a different perspective.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Battles play out on a large plot of land, usually with different bases scattered between the two opposing forces. The idea is to move your soldiers all around the board killing enemies and securing bases. What sets this game apart from Disgaea or The Banner Saga is that you get to control each character's movement, complete with third-person aiming and cover mechanics. While nobody is going to confuse it with Gears of War, this game definitely blurs the lines.

Even though Valkyria Chronicles often looks like a typical third-person shooter, you still have to use a lot of strategy to win. We're given only a few moves per turn, so we're constantly switching between characters and trying to make the most of their limited time. The characters are split into a few different classes, including the typical stormtroopers, snipers and guys with missile launchers. Best of all, the game even gives us command over large vehicles, like a tank.

Although the action may be faster than the typical strategy role-playing game, the actual battles are not. Because there are so many moving parts, fights can drag out for twenty or thirty minutes, sometimes more. Because these battles are so hard fought, that makes the taste of victory that much sweeter. Unfortunately, it also left me entirely deflated by the defeats. It's especially bad when the unexpected loss comes late in the round. I found myself retrying some missions multiple times, each time with a little less enthusiasm.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

As unorthodox as the gameplay is, Valkyria Chronicles suffers from a lot of the same problems that plague most traditional strategy role-playing games. Because of the way it's structured, I found myself completely disconnected from the story. Each chapter is split into a bunch of non-interactive cinemas, followed by a fight. I enjoyed the over-the-top characters and some of its goofiness, but I wish the story beats were better infused with the action.

Apart from how the game plays, Valkyria Chronicles is also known for its art style. Using a look that resembles the kinds of classic pencil drawn comic books and graphic novels, the game has a distinct style that oozes with personality. It already looked great on the PlayStation 3, and now it looks slightly better on Sony's newest console. The boost in frame rate and resolution is nice, but it's not as big of a leap as other remastered collections.

It's also disappointing Sega didn't add more content to this PlayStation 4 port. If you've played the game on PS3 or Steam, then there's nothing new to see here. But given that the original release never hit PSN and was not always easy to come by in stores, chances are there are a lot of players who will just now be discovering the game for the first time.

Even though I prefer the more bite-sized nature of the PSP sequel, I can't deny how good Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is on PlayStation 4. The frustrating moments were overshadowed by the lengthy quest and fun third-person shooter/strategy role-playing mash-up action. Even if this isn't a genre you normally enjoy, Valkyria Chronicles offers just enough excitement to bring in a whole new audience. Now bring on a proper sequel.
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