Valkyria Chronicles is a strategy JRPG that blends strategic elements with action while also providing a new unique 3rd person camera perspective. Valkyria Chronicles is published and developed by SEGA and was originally released in 2008. The all new PS4 remastered version offers graphical fidelity improvements and all additional DLC. The story of Valkyria Chronicles follows Welkin Gunther and the various members of Squad 7 as they attempt to fight off the Empire and defend and protect their homes.
Story and characters
Valkyria Chronicles takes place in the year 1935 and centers on the fictional continent of Europa. The story seems to draw inspiration from actual historical wars particularly World War 1 and World War 2. I found this aspect very interesting being that I am somewhat of a history buff. The main plot in Valkyria Chronicles centers on the two warring powers of Randgriz which are the central capital of Gallia and the Autocratic East Europan Imperial Alliance (or the Empire for short). The two main characters from the Gallian side are Welkin Gunther, a college student with dreams of becoming a professor, and Alicia Melciott who is a baker and also part of the town watch of Bruhl where the initial story begins. The central villain on the Empire side is Maximillian, an arrogant brash leader whose aim is to control all of Europa. The other main villain presented in Valkyria Chronicles is Selvaria Maximillian's right hand and an integral part of the overall story.
The story in Valkyria Chronicles is not particularly spectacular by any means but does a decent job of showing the tragedy of war and how it affects characters from both sides of the conflict. One thing I really appreciated about Valkyria Chronicles was the diversity and an overall number of characters you could recruit. Each character you encountered had unique personality traits and I found myself becoming more and more attached to each character as the plot progressed. One of the main reasons the story was so engaging was because of the complex and interesting characters. Every character in the game had a unique and interesting backstory and this provided character depth that lent well to the overall story. Because you become so emotionally invested with each character in Valkyria Chronicles it was tough each time I lost a character in battle. Valkyria Chronicles does an excellent job at portraying the emotional impact of war and showed how each character was ultimately effected by conflict.
The gameplay in Valkyria Chronicles is what stands out the most. The unique style switch from a top-down strategy perspective to a 3rd person perspective makes for immersive and enjoyable gameplay. There are also strong RPG elements within this game. The skill system and weapons that you assign to each of the characters is a deep and rewarding system that allows for a lot of variation in gameplay. There are also plenty of great weapons and tank upgrades you can unlock ,so spending the time leveling up your weapons and tanks is well worth it especially considering the difficulty of the final few chapters. Some of the unique systems introduced in Valkyria chronicles are orders and potentials. Orders allow you to give specific orders to squad members buffing their stats and doing things like healing and potentially removing a wounded soldier form the map. There is also a perma-death system so be strategic when placing squad members throughout the various locales. Potentials are also very useful and can be very beneficial in skirmishes and main missions. Potentials are the hidden abilities of each of your squad members and are vital to finishing some of the more grueling main missions. Actually obtaining character potentials throughout the game becomes somewhat annoying and seemed like an unnecessary hassle overall.
The overall main story length, at least for me, was about 30 hours with the potential to become more depending on how many of the skirmishes you play. A majority of those 30 hours seemed to be spent replaying some of the most difficult missions and replaying the skirmishes over and over for experience. The game does have an annoying difficulty spike about midway through so you might need to play some of the optional skirmishes to power through the main storyline. One small complaint I had with the game was the lack of class changes. Although I enjoyed everyone’s respective class it would have been nice to have the ability to change Welkins Class and some of the other members of squad 7. I also thought the game could have used more skirmishes to allow for more variation in gameplay with the time I actually did spend leveling up the multiple classes. Overall, the gameplay is a unique aspect of Valkyria Chronicles. The battle system never got boring, and each time I completed a mission, I felt a sense of accomplishment and wanted to keep leveling up my multiple classes.
Graphics and sound
The actual presentation of Valkyria Chronicles is excellent. Valkyria Chronicles’ story is presented through a reporter’s book that acts as a sort of visual novel titled on the Gallian Front. This addition is a unique and interesting way to tell the story. I also enjoyed the narration of the story, the main narration which was provided by one of the reporters in the game was a unique element that made you feel you were watching the history of this universe actually unfold right in front of you. The overall visual presentation was definitely one of my favorite aspects of Valkyria Chronicles.
The art direction of Valkyria Chronicles combines a unique blend of watercolor painting motifs with an anime style that perfectly captures the setting of the game. I think one of the main reasons this game holds up so well today is because of the cel-shaded art style. I have seen many other remastered games such as The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD that have utilized the cel-shaded art style and each game holds up particularly well even by today’s standards. The remastered version also appears to be on the same level as the PC version and runs very smoothly at 60fps. The visuals have also been bumped up to a 1080p resolution as opposed to the 720p on the PlayStation 3. The soundtrack in this game is also outstanding. I really enjoyed the overall soundtrack in Valkyria Chronicles especially the main theme. The sound design for all of the various weapons and tanks was also great and really added to the accuracy of the time period being portrayed.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is an amazing game that successfully blends strategic gameplay elements with 3rdperson action to create a unique gameplay style all its own. The skills system and upgrade system was good overall although it lacked the addition of actual class changes for the various members of Squad 7. The story and characters presented in Valkyria Chronicles are great and each character has a unique personality that and adds depth and reality to the overall narrative structure. It is because of the characters and story that Valkyria Chronicles stands out from similar games within the genre. If you are looking for a unique role-playing experience and enjoy both strategy games and JRPG’s then I highly recommend giving Valkyria Chronicles a chance. Although I wished Valkyria Chronicles had more maps and customization options it remains one of the best Sony exclusives to date and hopefully, garners the recognition it rightfully deserves so we can look forward to more of these games in the future.
|+ Good Story||– Random difficulty spikes|
|+ Amazing complex characters with unique personalities||– No option for class change|
|+ Good gameplay that cleverly blends strategy and action||– Gaining character potentials can sometimes become frustrating|