As the summer drought approaches, it’s usual practice for companies to release a remaster or two to fill the void while they potter away with titles that were announced at E3. Sony have gotten in earlier this year with a remaster, bringing the lauded strategy RPG Valkyria Chronicles to PS4. Valkyria Chronicles already had a successful rerelease on PC, with this PS4 version being a straight port of the PC remaster to consoles. While the hybrid 3rd person combat system and watercolour art style still hold up on the current generation, some dents and cracks have started to show in Valkyria Chronicles’ armour.
The first major thing to note about this remaster is that it is literally a straight port of the PC version. Unlike the Japanese version which came with the Valkyria: Azure Revolution demo, there are no PS4 specific features that wannabe tank commanders can play around with. You do get all of the DLC from the original game which is something but it would have been nice to maybe have an additional mode or feature that just made the PS4 version that little bit more worthwhile for fans who already have Valkyria Chronicles on PS3 and PC. It’s fortunate that the PC port was well made and the console version does run at a smooth 1080p 60fps so this version is very technically sound at the very least. However, the remaster has not made any pains to streamline navigating through menus, meaning you’ll have to sort through a fair few submenus and tabs to get to the mission that you want to play through.
If you haven’t played Valkyria Chronicles before, the main story is a sort of alt-history/retelling of the Second World War, this time fought on the creatively named continent of Europa. Players follow Welkin Gunther, a keen botanist who is drafted into the Gallian militia after a trip back to his home village ends with the local evil empire from the next country over, the Eastern Europan Imperial Alliance, casually invading to strip Gallia of its minerals. After mounting a resistance from his father’s old tank and with the help of local fighters, it’s your job to push back the Imperials from the sleepy pastoral land of Gallia and restore order. Valkyria Chronicles balances on the knife edge of being grave enough about the horrors of war while also being light hearted enough to have your soldiers celebrating at having a pig with wings as its mascot. There is a subplot about racial tensions between Gallians and the Darcsen, a race of dark haired people who supposedly brought about a continent-wide calamity which does tread into the territory of the ridiculous but it never becomes comically offensive. It’s good that Valkyria Chronicles’ cast are all fairly likable, even if the Imperial forces do come dangerously close to being ‘ze typical Germans’ near the end, so you can soldier through the campaign without ever really wanting to punch someone’s head off. It’s a damn sight better than Valkyria Chronicles II, which can be best described as Lucky Star meets the Final Solution.