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Valkyria Chronicles Remastered

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Strategy/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

"Beautiful." That's the first word I use to describe Valkyria Chronicles Remastered. I'm not just talking about its visuals, though the term certainly applies. I'm talking about the entire experience. The story. The sound. The characters. The gameplay. All of it is just beautiful. Granted, it already was when it first launched in 2008 as a PlayStation 3 exclusive. This unconventional war game is many things at once, but the three I most often think of (besides "beautiful") are smart, exciting, and heartfelt. If you seek those qualities in a game and haven't treated yourself to this one, it's a must-buy. If you have played it before, it still gets a recommendation, albeit not an unqualified one.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered's selling point is right there in the title: it's a remaster. It isn't a remake: nothing fundamental about the game has changed, and it's this that might give veterans pause when considering making a purchase. Visually, this is a lovely game throughout: the anime style might give some pause, but it's elegantly blended with a watercolor aesthetic that not only provides a consistent motif, but actually ties into the game's storytelling vehicle, which is literally a book. Cutscenes in particular are a joy to behold; while anime often clashes with three-dimensional space, it blends perfectly in Valkyria Chronicles. Special mention goes to the comic book style onomatopoeia that accompanies most of the notable wartime sounds.

Standing as the counterpoint to the mindless synth nonsense that accompanies most anime, Hitoshi Sakimoto's moving orchestral soundtrack hits a multitude of emotional highs that perfectly accompany the on-screen action. It's often rousing and invigorating, but it's particularly effective during the game's down time. Voice acting can get a bit hammy at times; this is no Xenoblade Chronicles. However, there's a certain charm to the cheese that makes it worthwhile.


The Principality of Gallia is a peaceful nation of peaceful people, or at least it was until its rich supply of Ragnite made it a target for the Autocratic East Europan Imperial Alliance. When they're caught in the crossfire between these invading aggressors and the Atlantic Federation, they have no choice but to assert their independence.

Unlike most strategy games, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered concerns itself with the micro: not only the individuals who are actually out there fighting the war, but the civilians being impacted by the conflict. Main character Welkin Gunther is indeed the son of a war hero, but he's also a creative and optimistic youth who aspires to be an artist. Alas, the war literally pulls him off his path and sets him on the way to becoming the leader of a special squad.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is filled with narrative interludes: some lengthy, some brief. However, they are all worthwhile. Welkin is an excellent protagonist who is easy to relate to. His love interest, Alicia, may adhere to certain anime conventions about browbeating-but-spunky action girls, but she's ultimately lovable as well. The drama surrounding Welkin's families (both domestic and wartime) is always engaging; if nothing else, it gives you a ton of motivation to bring the pain to the Imperial forces when you meet them on the field of battle.

Skirting the line between real-time and turn-based strategy, Valkyria Chronicles features a strange but effective hybrid of a tactical battle system. Units take turns executing moves and actions, but there's no grid system to lend the experience that "board-game" aspect commonly found in Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre. Units have special skills that they can use to both manipulate the environment and their enemies, but you have more direct control over them than you do in most strategy games. It's a refreshing, smart take on a genre that is usually barren of surprises.


Valkyria Chronicles Remastered isn't above teaching you the ropes; after all, it is a very different beast from just about everything else in the genre. Thankfully, it offers every possible explanation for just about every single mechanic and system. Since strategy games have a painful tendency to overwhelm, this is extremely welcome. The beginning missions do a fine job of introducing you to what makes the game tick, and by the time the training wheels are off, you'll be refining your own strategies and experimenting with the limitations and strengths of your units.

That's not to say that Valkyria Chronicles is an easy game. In fact, it's not. Some engagements are brutal, and may require a liberal amount of outside-the-box thinking in order to win. But to paraphrase (or butcher) Sun Tzu, knowing yourself and knowing your enemy is the proper way not only out of danger, but the proper way to victory.

Game Mechanics:

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered features a number of pillars to the overall experience. Story interludes, battle sequences, and unit management comprise the grand majority of gameplay.

When battle begins, you're looking at what appears to be a simple map. Your forces are on one side, enemy forces are on another. Turns are split into two "phases:" one for the Player, another for the Enemy. At the beginning of each Phase, a series of Command Points are granted. Each Command Point allows you to directly assume control of a unit. From there, you can move and perform actions as long as there's sufficient Action Points. Even if one Command Point doesn't give you enough AP to do what you wanted that particular unit to do, that's okay: you can choose the same unit as many times as you want. That being said, moderation is almost always the way to go, as it tends to be with all things.

Managing units in Valkyria Chronicles is handled much more akin to character growth in role-playing games than it is to most other strategy experiences. By making progress in the story, you earn a wealth of resources that can be spent on research and development for advanced weaponry and tank technology or on training your mobile infantry units. I wouldn't say you can exactly choose wrong when it comes to upgrading your forces, but some options are better than others. Just be aware of the units you use and how you use them, and you'll be fine.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a radiant gem that's been polished to a lovely sheen. If you're at all a fan of strategy games, you should at least consider it. If you've played it before and are yearning to return, there's no better time than now. I can't imagine anyone not liking Valkyria Chronicles Remastered.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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