Valkyria Chronicles Remastered slated for release this spring

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered slated for release this spring

SEGA confirmed details Monday about its plan to release a remastered version of one of my all-time favorite PlayStation 3 games on the PS4, "Valkyria Chronicles." This re-release, slated for this spring, will include 1080p/60fps gameplay, Japanese and English audio support, all the original DLC, and adds trophy support. Retail price: $29.99.

I just wish they'd give the same treatment to the PSP sequels, especially the one never released in the U.S. Also, a new game in the series, "Valkyria: Azure Revolution," is slated for a PS4 release by the end of the year.

Here's my original, 2008 review of "Valkyria Chronicles," with some minor edits:

You know I’m a sucker for games that feature great storytelling. Well, now I’ve got another favorite for my list, and quite surprisingly, it’s a turn-based strategy simulation.

It’s also a story of love and loss, sacrifice and betrayal, and all those other things that — for good or ill — make us human. And it has the single most satisfyingly complete conclusion of any game I’ve played.

“Valkyria Chronicles” is the tale of a nation unwillingly at war. Attacked by the vastly larger nation to their west, the people of Gallia must stand together to defend their families, their homes, their towns and their nation or else be ground under the boot of an empire.

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Welkin Gunther, son of a late Gallian hero, would prefer to have nothing to do with the fighting, but duty and circumstance draw him into the militia as a tank commander. Since Gallia is a regimented nation where military training is mandatory for young adults and he already owns his dad’s old tank, it’s not that far-fetched. Gunther is placed in command of Squad 7 of the 3rd Regiment, a motley group that acts as our window into the conflict.

The tale advances like a book, chapter by chapter, with many miniature movies for narration as interludes to our time on the battlefield — though really, it often seems like the fights are the interludes.

And I must say, “Valkyria Chronicles” is just plain beautiful to look at. The graphics are a marriage of pen-and-ink drawings and watercolour paintings.

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Anyway, as Welkin you’ll flush out the ranks of Squad 7 with picks from the militia roster, among them scouts, shocktroopers (machine gunners), lancers (anti-tank units), engineers and snipers. And these aren’t faceless soldiers; they are all individuals, with names, faces, dreams, friendships and countless personal idiosyncrasies — so try not to get them killed.

Their histories and idiosyncrasies come into play on the battlefield.

For example, someone desert-bred will often get a boost fighting out in the sun and sand, while a trooper allergic to pollen will lose effectiveness if you march them through a meadow.

At the outset of most battles, you position a comparative handful of your troops in one or more staging areas, guessing as to which specialties you’ll need based on the scenario, though you often can — and must — change your lineup as you advance.

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The conflict progresses in turns — yours, then the enemy’s, like a convoluted game of human chess — with your orders to your troops limited by the command points you have available. It costs one point to control one troop, and two points to move and use your tank.

When in control of individual soldiers, you can move them about the field. But they are limited in how far they can go each time, generally based on class, and enemies can open fire as your men move if you wander them into range. At any point during your soldiers’ movement, you can command them to attack or heal themselves or someone else.

If you tell them to attack, everything else going on halts. You then have all the time in the world to aim your trooper’s gun (headshots kill the quickest) or grenade toss, then pull the trigger.

If the person they shoot at survives, that person usually gets the chance to shoot back.

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(And all of this works in reverse, by the way.) When you end a soldier’s movement, the direction that you leave them facing can be key to their continued survival and your success. For instance, if you know that the enemy is going to advance on one of your camps, a properly positioned shocktrooper can mow most of them down as they charge. But if you leave that shocktrooper at the same spot with her back turned, the enemy will probably walk right up and pop a few caps in her crown.

OK, I love the story; I like the battle system. So what’s wrong? Not much really. You can save the game readily, in between mini-movies or any time during your turn in battle. And you can watch the movies again and again.

The only annoyance is that the game takes a little bit of time to load between every individual scene, but it’s not a big deal.

Topics (2):Art, Technology

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