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Valkyria Chronicles Remastered Review: Let’s Go Squad 7!

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With the PS4 remaster of Valkyria Chronicles launching really soon, it was nice time to finally dedicate some time into playing it after putting it off for so long. Without any real expectations, what I got surpassed a lot of my expectations, but stumbled on its way to the finish line – you can find my review below.

Valkyria Chronicles has a lot going on in its main story, with various sub plots and moments of character development to really strengthen the games world. The strongest element of the game is its main cast, with each character getting their moment to shine and development.  The further you get through the game, the more you understand what makes these characters tick and why they do what they do. By the end of the game the main cast have become comrades, and you can see the huge change they went through since the beginning of the game.

The character interactions are also very enjoyable, with what I can only describe as a very downplayed script. What I mean by this is that certain character interactions and reactions don’t result in over the top anime reactions like you’d see in other Japanese games but instead more subtle reactions, like how a person might actually react in that situation.

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The best part of the narrative is all the side reports you can do. During the main game you can purchase reports from Ellet, a journalist who is following and documenting the many exploits of Squad 7. As you progress through the game, you’re able to purchase various reports, which are optional side stories that while not required to beat the game, add tons of characterization and development for the main cast. The best story parts in my opinions come from these reports, and I feel should be played if you want the full experience.

What might drag this down for many players is the English dub of the game. While it’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it’s inconsistent to say the least. Some of the voice actors, particularly Welkin’s, have pretty flat delivery. It also doesn’t help that some of the voice mixing is pretty bad, with some moments where the music plays louder than the voice actors.

Valkyria Chronicles has always looked good since its release back in 2008, and the PS4 remaster makes it look even better. The up scaled resolution and improved frame rate make the visuals pop out more so then they did back when they were limited at 720p. The cell shading mixed with sketch drawings style makes the game look more timeless than games that opt for a more photo realistic approach.

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The game sticks with its chosen aesthetic and owns it the entire game. It’s also worth mentioning that the pre-rendered cutscenes are absolutely gorgeous and some of the best I’ve seen in a very long time. I was constantly impressed by how good they looked and kept reminding myself that this came out 8 years ago. It was pure eye candy the entire time.

In terms of gameplay, Valkyria Chronicles is a fairly standard strategy RPG, although it does just enough in order to stand out from the competition. For starters it’s not grid based, so you have free reign over your soldier’s movement. To balance this out units can only move a certain distance depending on their class. You can move the same unit multiple times, but each subsequent time they have less and less movement range.

You can only have up to eight units (excluding your tank) per mission, which you can select from a pool of 20 available units. The number of units you can recruit is actually much higher, and you can constantly interchange them throughout the course of the campaign, allowing you to experiment with different soldiers.

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With a very large roster to choose from, they’ve made it so that you don’t have to grind each individual unit to make them better, allowing for a lot of flexibility. Instead you level up the specific class, which in turn affects all units who share the same class. Levelling up classes unlocks potentials and orders, and at level 11 they upgrade to elite status.

Potentials are the special abilities the units have when activated, either improve or hinder certain stats. Soldiers will start off with potentials from the get go, and as their levels increase they get more, even unlocking potentials exclusive to that character. Orders can be given by Welkin, which improves the stats and give special properties to either one unit or all units of the map. Orders cost turns, and only one can be used per phase.

You also have access to the R&D shop which allows to upgrade your tank and weapons, with the latter eventually branching off into three different versions (two for Lancers) allowing for even more flexibility on how you want to equip your squad.

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The game allows for a lot of team flexibility because of the levelling system. You’ll never be in a position where you regretted using a certain unit, since you can simply swap him or her out for someone else and still reap the benefits. It’s a game that rewards experimentation and won’t punish you if you neglect specific units. What’s also a positive is that even if you don’t plan on using certain units, it’s still worth levelling them up, as certain orders they can provide can prove to be incredibly useful late game.

Unfortunately the game suffers from a pretty bad balance problem passed the half way mark. Scouts easily become the best units in the game, making almost every other unit obsolete. Lancers get the worst of it, as their job can get replaced by Shocktroopers, provided you have the right orders available. Fortunately, there are missions where Lancers shine, but they make up only a fraction of the games length.

Another issue comes in the form of the ranking system. At the end of each mission you’re given a rank between A and D. Each rank will give you bonus money and experience except for D, which gives you no bonus. Your ranking is dependent on how long it takes for you to complete a mission. The go to strategy to get an A rank is to simply rush the enemy base and capture it, ignoring all the enemies along the way. If they found a way to balance this, making it a combination of both speed and how many units you eliminated then I think the problem would be solved.

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Valkyria Chronicles has all the makings of a fantastic game, but slightly falls short at the halfway mark due to some balancing issues.

Regardless of this, if you’re looking for a good SRPG with an incredibly likeable cast with a surprising amount of depth to them, then Valkyria Chronicles is not a game you should pass up on, given how much love and care was put into it.

If you already own the PC version, the PS4 version doesn’t really add a lot save the enhanced visuals, unless you simply want to own the limited edition tin, or if you simply want to own every version that exists of the game. I own all three versions of the game anyway, so I don’t see why you shouldn’t complete the collection yourself.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a digital copy provided by Sega. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

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The Verdict: 8.5

The Good:

-Great cast of characters
-Fantastic visuals
-Gameplay allows for tons of experimentation
-Reports are by far the best aspect of this game

The Bad:

-Voice acting and voice mixing is inconsistent
-Gameplay becomes less balanced after the half-way point

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About

Writer at Niche Gamer. Passionate for video game journalism, and more than glad to be a part of it. I also write DOTA 2 stuff.



16 comments
  1. Nyo_ryuuji
    Nyo_ryuuji
    May 10, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    I’m glad you pointed out that it’s only halfway in that rushing begins to become a problem. Many reviews incorrectly state you can do it from the beginning, but really, it is mighty tough for a starting player to abuse until you get certain Orders and that usually happens around chapters 11 or 12.

    By then there are very few capture missions left, and it’s not so big of a deal (since the money awarded in the game is very forgiving), but it is slightly annoying that speed is so heavily valued in rank.

  2. SoapyEyes
    SoapyEyes
    May 10, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Only issue I had on the PS3 version is with the last mission. I don’t know why, but I had a lot of difficulty with it, while the rest of the game was easy to average difficulty, enjoyable. I really disliked the last mission, but I love the game overall.

  3. CRES
    CRES
    May 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    That’s weird. I find the final battle to be a lot easier then several of the fights leading up to it. Just have the right units parked outside of each tower and then have your tanks wreck the guy.

  4. catazxy
    catazxy
    May 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    speed is the only thing valued on VC2 (psp)

  5. catazxy
    catazxy
    May 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I hope it sells so we can see VC2,3 ported/remastered from the psp

  6. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    May 10, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I really enjoyed the original on the PS3 and I’m getting the PS4 limited edition to support the franchise. Hopefully we’ll get a proper new VC game, or they can fix Azure Revolution.

  7. MGNoxa
    MGNoxa
    May 10, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    My copy arrives in a few days, can’t wait to play it before everyone else in the UK!

  8. NuclearCherries
    NuclearCherries
    May 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Third time I’ll be buying this game.

    I hope Sega takes the message.

  9. dsadsada
    dsadsada
    May 10, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    At least in VC2, shocktrooper rushing was just as viable although that was mostly because of the smaller maps.

  10. sanic
    sanic
    May 11, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Excited for this, and miku, and some atlus games, I never thought I’d be back with Sega but they got the games.

  11. NuclearKangaroo
    NuclearKangaroo
    May 11, 2016 at 10:03 am

    i sure home so man

  12. Dark Link
    Dark Link
    May 11, 2016 at 11:18 am

    >Voice acting and voice mixing is inconsistent

    What the fuck is that even supposed to mean?

    >Gameplay becomes less balanced after the half-way point

    lmao git gud and train your units in skirmish maps over and over again.

  13. Dark Link
    Dark Link
    May 11, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Same here. This is what I hoped for when VC made its way to Steam, but it didn’t happen. Let’s hope that changes now.

  14. KoriCongo
    KoriCongo
    May 14, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Was reading eight lines from the review THAT hard???

    >-Voice acting and voice mixing is inconsistent
    >While it’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it’s inconsistent to say the least. Some of the voice actors, particularly Welkin’s, have pretty flat delivery. It also doesn’t help that some of the voice mixing is pretty bad, with some moments where the music plays louder than the voice actors.

    >-Gameplay becomes less balanced after the half-way point
    >Unfortunately the game suffers from a pretty bad balance problem passed the half way mark. Scouts easily become the best units in the game, making almost every other unit obsolete. Lancers get the worst of it, as their job can get replaced by Shocktroopers, provided you have the right orders available. Fortunately, there are missions where Lancers shine, but they make up only a fraction of the games length.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFtcLJVN8yg

  15. Guin
    Guin
    May 18, 2016 at 12:48 am

    You know what would’ve made a good remaster? The 3rd one that never made it past Japan.

  16. Guin
    Guin
    May 18, 2016 at 12:51 am

    In VC3, they nerf your units’ defenses to the point that w/o orders you’ll be shredded like paper if you dare to rush in front of enemy fire.