• Publisher: SEGA
  • Developer: SEGA
  • Release Date: 05/17/16
  • Console: PlayStation 4

Just about anyone who’s owned a Sony console in the last decade has probably heard of Valkyria Chronicles at one point or another; it’s been released and re-released a couple of times now, and has a fairly decent fan base overall, due to its graphics, audio, and story. If, however, you haven’t heard of it or played it before now, or just want an excuse to get it again then please allow me this chance to persuade you to do so.

I’m going to be completely honest here, I’ve played this game before and thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s not much to necessarily be gained story wise from replaying it, (unless, like me, you never got the DLC when it first came out), however I can say with 100% honesty that I enjoyed playing it a lot more this time around. First and foremost, everything has been polished, and I mean everything. From the first notes and animation frames of the game’s opening, everything looks sharper and smoother than before, and the controls have been fine tuned. But best of all, this time it’s available both physically and digitally; which means literally anyone can find it now, whereas before it could be a tad difficult to track down because of slightly limited release windows.

For those new to the game, the story centers around a fictional nation caught between two other fictional countries at war, in an uncomfortably similar parallel to our own history. The game alternates between “story levels” which are just bits of animated exposition (and honestly a nice break here and there) and actual playable levels, which are comprised strategically turn-based combat. This is done through a series of actions, primarily moving a single troop at a time, and then either attacking, engaging in a support action, or simply taking cover and ending that units turn, before moving on to your next unit, much like many other turn-based combat games. Similarly, units have different methods of attacking, along with different weapons. Experience and money is generated from your overall of the level, based ultimately on your efficiency. This in turn is used to level up your unit types as well as weapons throughout the game.

Unlike most combat strategy games, units don’t have necessarily individual stats. Instead, level and general ability is shared across class type, though specific units will have individual skills. Also somewhat unique is that weapons aren’t individually upgraded or assigned either; once you’ve upgraded a weapon, all units using that type of weapon have access to it. What this essentially boils down to is that it’s completely doable to farm certain battle scenarios repeatedly to level up your forces.

With all the good, I’ll admit, it’s still not quite perfect. There’s no way to quit or restart a battle at first, and every *single* move matters. Characters have a limited amount of move per turn, and once you start moving, the meter can’t be refilled. So say you accidentally start walking the wrong way trying to reach a waypoint? Too bad. Or if you’re in a tank (with notoriously low movement allocation) and you start a turn too early? You’ve just wasted your entire turn. And while I can understand how that *could* be used overly advantageously, I’d still rather have that feature with some limitations than to not have it at all.

All in all, the release of Valkyria Chronicles is something to be excited about, and not just because it’s been remastered and polished. For a game that came out years ago, it is amazingly on par with games that are still being released for the first time today; it has lots of content, an immersive touching story, and beautiful audio and visuals. It’s certainly a game I wouldn’t want to miss out on, and now that it’s being released digitally, that’s something that no one will ever have to worry about. My rating: 9.5/10

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