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Valkyria Chronicles

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: May 17, 2016


PS4 Preview - 'Valkyria Chronicles Remastered'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on April 26, 2016 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is set in a fictitious continent reminiscent of 1930s Europe - divided in two and ruled by the Empire and the Federation. The game follows a hero named Welkin and his fellow soldiers of the Federation’s 7th Platoon as they engage in a series of epic battles.

Pre-order Valkyria Chronicles Remastered

Released early on in the PlayStation 3's life cycle, Valkyria Chronicles flew under a lot of radars. It wasn't until the PlayStation 3's sales picked up (and the game went on sale) that a lot of people got the chance to experience it. It got two sequels for the PSP, but most people consider the original to be the best game in the franchise. As you'd expect, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a next-generation remaster of the original classic. Available exclusively on the PS4, Remastered offers players a chance to see Valkyria Chronicles in all its glory and experience the cult classic.

On the continent of Europa, two armies — the Imperials and the Federation — are fighting over a rare and powerful material known as Ragnite. Trapped in the middle of this conflict is the small country of Gallia, home to ample supplies of Ragnite. Welkin and Alicia are two citizens of the town of Bruhl who find themselves caught up in an Imperial attack. Alicia, Welkin and other members of the militia join the Gallian army and seek to put an end to the war. Things aren't so simple, since the Imperial army also wields a mysterious and powerful force known as a Valkyria.

The gameplay in Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a blend of real-time and turn-based strategy. Players are given a certain number of points to spend on each turn. Spending a point allows you to take control of one of the characters on the map and move them around. Each unit can move a certain distance across the map and take one action per turn. The trick is that you can pick the same unit multiple times for diminishing returns, so units can move less and less with each turn but can continue to attack. The same applies to enemies who can take multiple actions during their own turn. Both friend and foe have commander units who determine how many actions a side has, and it's essential to protect your own commanders and kill the enemy's officers.

You have to be careful due to the real-time nature of the game. Enemies who see your units moving will shoot at them with a weaker suppressing fire. This does less damage than a focused attack, but if you're not careful, it can easily wear down ally hit points. The same applies in reverse. Enemies who move within sight of your units on the map during their turn can be killed by suppressing fire. You have to strike a balance between making the most of your turn and leaving your units defensively situated. Get too aggressive, and you can leave your units vulnerable to enemy attacks, which can tear through your forces. Be too timid, and you might find yourself being flanked and torn to pieces by a more aggressive foe.

The entire game plays out with a sort of rock-paper-scissors mechanic based on the various units you have. Snipers are fantastic at taking out individual units but not very effective against heavily armored foes or battle tanks. Lancers don't do well at destroying regular soldiers, but their lance-mounted rocket launchers are key to taking out enemy machines. Scouts are less powerful in combat but can move more quickly and capture enemy bases and fortifications before the enemy can respond. Each class has a role and purpose in the game, and you must figure out how to best use those roles.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered has plenty of RPG mechanics, too. Rather than leveling individual characters, you level up each of the classes, so if you level up a shock trooper, then all shock troopers gain those benefits. You can customize individual units with specialized equipment and armor, and essentially, you must take advantage of each unit and character's strengths. Each individual character has a set of Potentials that activate when a character fulfills certain conditions. Some people prefer to fight in open spaces, others alongside others of the same nationality, and others get encouraged when they score a kill. On the other hand, there are also negative factors to take into account. Some characters fight poorly in enclosed spaces or suffer from hay fever, which reduces their capabilities in open spaces.

For those who've played the previous iteration, there aren't a tremendous number of changes here. The title has been updated to 1080p and 60 fps, much like the PC version, and some minor tweaks have been made here and there to compensate for the differences. The visuals have been polished and updated, and considering Valkyria Chronicles was already one of the best-looking games on the PS3, it's no surprise that Valkyria Chronicles Remastered looks even better. The DLC for the original PS3 version is packed into the game, so you're getting Selvaria and Edy's missions at no extra charge. Another much-requested feature is the addition of Trophies. The original PS3 version predated Trophies, so this will be the first version where you can unlock a Platinum for doing everything. It's also the first time the game will be available digitally for consoles.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered looks to be the definitive version of the game. There isn't much lined up in the way of gameplay changes or new features, but it's an overall polishing of what is already there. Add in the DLC, and you've got the biggest and shiniest version of Valkyria Chronicles yet. Fans of the franchise should be pleased, and newcomers should find it the best way to experience Valkyria Chronicles for the first time. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered launches May 17 exclusively for the PS4 and retails for $29.99.

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