Valkyria Chronicles never achieved the success it deserved when it first hit PlayStation 3 back in 2008. The superb mix of challenging gameplay, character-driven story and sketchbook art style went largely unnoticed outside the hardcore crowd. However, with a remaster now available on PS4, the game gets another chance to work its magic amongst a wider audience. A PC port released in 2014 gave us higher frame-rates and resolutions than the PS3 original, and the latest PS4 remaster doesn't disappoint either, with these improvements joined by some additional visual tweaks that see this version take point.
At its core, the remaster is a port of the PC version, with both releases sharing artwork and most of the visual effects from the PS3 original. Valkyria Chronicles' cel-shaded art style remains as striking as ever, with textures and thick black outlines that create detail around objects still holding up reasonably well when presented in resolutions beyond 720p. The argument here is that the original art doesn't need a radical upgrade due to its simplicity, though it definitely benefits from being displayed at higher pixel counts.
On PS4 we're looking at a native 1080p framebuffer backed up by post-process anti-aliasing, handing in a sharper image than the PC version operating at the same resolution. Textures and geometry appear blurrier on PC, with details like bricks and cobblestones looking less defined across more distant scenery. One of the main culprits here is the use of less refined anti-aliasing on PC, which is a touch too aggressive - although the image isn't particularly sharp on PS4 either. As such, neither version really offers up a crisp presentation that really looks like it's running at 1080p, but what we have here is still a massive improvement over the 720p PS3 game.
UPDATE: New details have emerged on Sega's all-new Valkyria title, with a report on My Game News Flash being handily translated by Kotaku.
The new game is officially called Valkyria: Azure Revolution, and is considered a different series within the Valkyria universe to the three existing Valkyria Chronicles games.
Valkyria: Azure Revolution will still be an RPG with strategy elements, and it will introduce real-time combat elements as players take on the Valkyria Brynhildr, with the new game's protagonist named as Amleth. Media.Vision, who developed the third title in the Chronicles series, is behind Valkyria: Azure Revolution, which is set for release next autumn in Japan. We still await news whether we'll see it over in the west.
UPDATE 30/10/2014 5.13pm: The PC port of Valkyria Chronicles will be released on 11th November on Steam for Ł14.99 / €19.99 / $19.99.
Pre-orders are 10 per cent off.
Additionally, the PC version of Valkyria Chronicles will include all the DLC from the PS3 version, such as Hard EX Mode, Edy's Enter the Edy Detachment mission, Selveria's Behind Her Blue Flame mission, and the six challenge missions Edy Detachment.
Revisiting a classic on the release of its remaster.
Valkyria Chronicles has found its way to PS4 this week via a remaster of the 2008 original. Digital Foundry will be along to assess the merits of the new version shortly, but before then here's Paul Dean on what makes Sega's strategy game so special, in a piece originally published in 2012.
If you have even a passing interest in the RPG genre, it can't have escaped your notice that Microsoft has been going crazy nuts loopy trying to woo as many Japanese developers as possible into bringing their skills - and fanbases - to the 360. Some argue this has left the PS3 bereft of the games that helped make its predecessor such an enduring hit in the East.
To this I say pish, tosh and piffle. The traditional JRPG may have spread its buttery pleasures more evenly across multiple formats but there's one sub-genre, beloved by the Japanese, where the PS3 is still dominant - and that's the tactical RPG. September brought Disgaea 3 (in America, at least) and now SEGA has upped the ante with Valkyria Chronicles, a lovingly rendered turn-based strategy role-playing game that oozes style and nimbly somersaults over the more common pitfalls of the genre.
Our setting is 1935, and a world similar to our own yet obviously different. Gallia is a peaceful and neutral country, the Switzerland equivalent, trapped in between the Atlantic Federation and the East Europan Imperial Alliance. These two superpowers are warring over ragnite, a miracle mineral that can be used for everything from medicine to powering vehicles. Gallia happens to be sitting on top of a major ragnite deposit, and the fiendish Imperials waste no time in crossing its borders with ruthless domination in mind.
The screenshots don't do it justice. It's a common enough refrain, but it's become increasingly popular as new console hardware has offered us ever more lavish visual feasts. As the arts and sciences of animation, lighting, special effects and visual filters come into their own, there's less and less to be gleaned about how a game actually looks from a still image.
SEGA has said it will be bringing gorgeous PS3-exclusive Valkyria Chronicles to the West this autumn.
You might know it as Valkyrie of the Battlefield, and you also may have seen it on Eurogamer TV, parading around as a cel-shaded role-playing strategy game.
More specifically it's built on a new Canvas engine, and is said to look like a watercolour painting in motion. It also has a funny Blitz battle system where you can move and attack freely despite being a tactical RPG affair.