After a decade, Valkyria Chronicles fans can finally play the original on a portable console so let's see how well it's held up over the years.
I recently reviewed Valkyria Chronicles 4 which is a clear throwback to the original. Therefore, I don't want to repeat myself here so please read my Valkyria Chronicles 4 review after reading this if you'd like to learn more about the general gameplay and such. I'll start by saying that I've been a fan of this series ever since the original. It still annoys me to this day that Valkyria Chronicles III never saw a western release but I digress. Valkyria Chronicles' immersive story, unique visual style, spot-on audio, and memorable characters come together to paint a fantastic world that's hard not to get lost in. So, it's very cool that Switch owners can now enjoy this masterpiece on-the-go. Unfortunately, this is a mere port of the PS3 version so it doesn't look as impressive as Valkyria Chronicles Remastered which released for PlayStation 4 a couple of years back but try playing that version while waiting for the bus.
With that out of the way, Valkyria Chronicles is a top-notch SRPG through and through. Each battle involves a great deal of planning, experimentation, and teamwork in order to emerge victorious and the campaign offers incredibly satisfying scenarios that fans of the genre are sure to love. The unit types in the original game aren't as diverse as the most recent entry as there are no grenadiers. However, I found the units to be much more balanced here. Keep in mind, it's been forever since I last played this game so playing it again made me realise just how good of a job they did with fine-tuning everything. You usually don't see this level of quality in a franchise until the second game so it's quite surprising to experience what an excellent job Sega did with crafting the original.
The PlayStation 3 version of Valkyria Chronicles eventually received a bunch of DLC and thankfully, it's all included here. For the record, this means that Edy's Mission "Enter the Edy Detachment", Selveria's Mission "Behind Her Blue Flame", and Challenge of the Edy Detachment are all here and ready to be enjoyed. Of course, there are the Hard EX Mode skirmishes as well if you're up for testing your abilities to command your army. So, whenever you finish the 30+ hour long campaign, there's still plenty to do.
Although Valkyria Chronicles is a timeless classic as far as I'm concerned, I wish this Switch release was more than just a port of the original game with all of its DLC. I would have loved to see an additional chapter or two, exclusive characters, or any sort of content to set it apart from the decade old game. One aspect that would have been awesome is if they included touchscreen support. Aiming in Valkyria Chronicles has always been tricky and I often find myself tilting the stick a bit to the left then the right and back and forth until the enemy's head is as centred as possible. I imagine that simply touching the screen while undocked would have made aiming so much more intuitive. Either way, what we have here is still a fantastic port of a must-have SRPG so I can't complain too much.
Being able to play Valkyria Chronicles on-the-go is such a treat and the overall experience holds up beautifully a decade after its debut. If you still haven't played this SRPG classic then you should definitely give it a try.
- + Rewarding SRPG gameplay that holds up awesomely a decade later
- + Contains all of the DLC
- + Engaging story and characters
- - Aside from portability, there's nothing new
- - Could have used touchscreen support