The first entry in the SEGA developed Valkyria Chronicles franchise debuted on PlayStation 3 in 2008. I was more of a PSP person back then, so the game slipped under my radar.
Luckily, SEGA released the remastered version on the Nintendo Switch console in 2018, or I never would’ve played this gem.
Set in a fictional continent called Europa, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered follows an ongoing war between the Empire and the Federation. Amidst the chaos, the country Gallia remains neutral until they are invaded by the Empire due to their abundance of Ragnite, a precious resource.
You play as Welkin, the commanding officer of Squad 7 to fight back against the Empire and bring peace to Gallia and the continent as a whole.
The gameplay of Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a mix of real-time and tactical turn-based strategy with third-person shooter elements thrown in. Whether it’s by brute forcing your way through or landing headshots on enemies from behind, the gameplay is addictive while keeping you on your toes.
Each turn, you have a limited number of command points (CP) to decide on your unit’s action.
You control your units in real time, so it’s important to keep an eye out for your enemies.
If you’re spotted and too close to your enemy, they’ll open fire. If you act quickly, you can shoot back without retaining much damage.
Each unit has their own ‘Potentials’, which are special skills that can be activated during battle. Some of them are useful, like ‘Double Attack’ that gives you a set chance to attack twice consecutively. However, there are also Potentials that can backfire, such as ‘Bad Back’ where “bending over to crouch puts a strain on their weak back, causing a drop in defence”.
You can also use ‘Orders’ to buff up your units at the cost of CP. You probably wouldn’t need Orders for the early chapters, but you definitely need them for other battles down the road.
The game has a rank system – ‘A’ being the highest and ‘D’ being the lowest – based on how many turns you take to complete a mission. The fewer turns you take, the higher your rank, which gives you more experience and gold.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered also features permanent death, but only if you leave your fallen troops behind for more than three turns. An exception to this is the main cast who simply retreat once their HP reaches zero.
There are five classes of units in this game – scouts, shocktroopers, snipers, engineers and lancers.
Scouts are arguably the most useful class, especially for capturing the enemy base camp to complete your mission. They have the highest degree of movement and can spot enemies from afar. Their defence isn’t the greatest so one needs to keep them away from shocktroopers to keep them alive.
Shocktroopers are best for frontal assault, given their high attack and defence. If you have the right weapon and buff them up, they can also defeat tanks.
The only downside, their limited movement.
Snipers are self-explanatory. They’re your best shot if you want to get rid of your enemies from a distance. They have low movement and low defence, so definitely keep them away from your enemies’ line of sight.
Engineers have high movement and low defence. You can use them to repair tanks, defuse mines, repair sandbags for cover, heal your units, and supply your troops’ ammo.
Lastly, we have lancers. They’re useful to blow up tanks but their accuracy is horrible.
I didn’t use them unless they were absolutely necessary.
For the most part, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a pretty solid game but it does have a few minor setbacks.
During battle, enemy turns can take a few minutes too long without much going on.
Sometimes they take the initiative to shoot your troops. Other times, they just pace around and don’t do anything else. You can’t skip or speed up the enemy turns, so all you can do is sit and wait.
Throughout the game, you’ll often see landmines set up by the enemies. Once you step on them, you’ll hear a “click” and moving a step will immediately trigger the mine, dealing a great damage on your unit.
The only problem I had with the mines is that they’re overly sensitive. I’ve had mines that were three feet away but they still went off after that dreadful “click”, leaving my unit either half-dead or completely dead.
The game can also feel a bit unfair at times, with the amount of trial and error plus the information you wouldn’t know unless you’ve attempted the mission before.
For example, in one of the chapters, you get an enemy ambush that spawns endlessly and one way to beat this is to position your troops before the ambush happens.
All in all, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a great game with a few minor setbacks.
It’s a bit on the difficult side especially for first timers, but if you play your cards rights, you’ll find a solid and enjoyable game with a likable cast and engaging gameplay.
The game is available on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.