Vivienne (or Vava), is a well known optimist and purveyor of happiness. Who has a deep seeded love for gaming, pop culture, fantasy, horror and the Arts. They mostly survive off of chaos and the incessant call in their brain to create things.
May 17, 2016
If you’ve been on the lookout for a good tactical RPG, with a heavy emphasis on the tactical, then you may just find your ideal game in Valkyria Chronicles Remastered. With it’s original release back in 2008 for the PS3, and the PC release in 2014, SEGA has now bought us the shinier, crisper version of the well-loved game in all it’s remastered glory for the PS4.
Valkyria Chronicles is about the continent of Europa, separated into three nations. You begin the story in the small neutral nation of Gallia, caught between the war of The East Europan Imperial Alliance and the Atlantic federation. Though a peaceful Nation, Gallia is eventually targeted by the imperial alliance for it’s abundance of the mineral Ragnite. Europa is loosely based on Europe during the early years of World war II, and Ragnite is a versatile substance that acts almost like petrol does for us. The border town of Bruhl is the first to be invaded, and that is where we meet our protagonists Welkin Gunther, the nature loving son of a wartime hero and Alicia Melchiott. Bruhl is eventually overrun and they escape to the capital city of Randgriz were they join the Gallian Malitia.
The game has a unique menu setup which is styled like a history book, with small episodes and chapters taking up the actual game play. Everything you need is within this book, and a simple page flip away. You can access all sub menu options in this book at anytime by selecting the appropriate tabs, and you have the ability to go freely between your headquarters and chapter selections. Essentially the game is like a historical re-telling of the Second Europan war. This history book style is also represented in the art style and animation of the game, which resembles watercolour sketches, both in cutscene episodes and in game play.
The chapters are set on two pages, and to progress the story you have to go through all the episodes on the page in order to flip it to the next chapter. It may sound a bit tedious, which if I’m honest, it was a bit, but the episodes are all fairly short scenes, so progression can be fast, though you do loose the sense of immersion in the story telling because of it. Along with these small cut scenes you will also find battle episodes in each chapter. This is where the episodic book feature plays off nicely, as it gives you plenty of time to prepare and train for the fights ahead of time.
Playing as Welkin, you command squad 7 and have full control of members you put into the party. Something I really liked about this is that all the members you have to choose from, each have unique personalities and traits, which can either aid you in battle or become a bit of a nuisance. For instance, a scout who fancies men will have their performance and accuracy increase when around men, while someone with a desert allergy will have their stats suffer greatly when fighting in a desert environment. The personalities add to your connection to your team mates and you can fast find yourself becoming attached to some, which in the case of casualties during battle, makes the loss all the more realistic.
Something else that is great about this is that there is a nice amount of LGBT representation within squad members, and it’s not used as some kind of shock value or big reveal, it’s just part of the norm.
Battles use the turn based system called BLiTZ, which some JRPG fans may be familiar with. You are able to place and select units in an overhead map called command mode, and then through live battle mode you can control them individually, attacking and moving around depending on the Action Points you have. In target mode enemy actions will freeze which allows you to take your time and aim for their weakest point.
Like I mentioned before, this game has a heavy emphasis on tactics, you really have to stop and think about your next move if you want your squad to survive the battle and get a good score. Now, I love a good tactical RPG, but battles in Valkyria Chronicles can be intense and rage inducing for someone like me who loves to run headfirst into battle. That may sound like a bad thing but it is actually very good. Rarely do I see a tactical RPG that is both challenging yet engaging enough to keep me up till early hours trying to find the right method to get my squad through a tough battle.
Being a war themed game you may think it to be quite serious, but it’s really the opposite. Though it may take you through an emotional roller-coaster, Valkyria Chronicles is actually a very peaceful and light-hearted game to play. With it’s familiar JRPG anime styling and great character dynamic I think this game is a great starter for someone who wants to have a go at tactical war games, but is put off by the serious and predictable nature of the majority out there. In general I think this game is a perfect addition to all JRPG fans out there. Even if you already own a copy of the original release, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is worth another purchase. With higher definition, included DLC’s and and overall better feel, this game will take an already great experience to even greater heights.