Valkyria Chronicles PC Port Impressions
Valkyria Chronicles has long been a series that I have felt a deep fondness for. Several years ago when it first launched on the PlayStation 3, it felt like one of those games that came out of nowhere, delivering a story that provided strong character relationships, gripping narrative, and jaw-dropping visuals that continue to impress to this very day.
It has turned into a cult classic among gamers, as anyone who has played the game can attest to its strong overall quality that can be appreciated by a much, much larger audience.
While the series has long since resonated with fans of the Strategy RPG genre, it hasn’t really seen the kind of love one would hope for. In fact, Sega hasn’t really done much of anything with their strong catalog of classic titles - fans yearning for at least a remastered version of Skies of Arcadia or Shenmue have been left scratching at the door, even if there have been rumblings inside the company for those types of projects.
With their voices seemingly falling on deaf ears, the people who loved titles like Valkyria Chronicles have taken to creating petitions to show the third party publisher that the desire is certainly there. While the argument can be made that fan petitions are extremely futile endeavors that don’t yield any promise for actual profit-turning, it does serve as proof of that hunger.
Fortunately, we have seen those yearnings bear fruit when Sega officially announced that Valkyria Chronicles would be seeing a release on the PC, only a couple weeks before it was launched this past Tuesday.
I would venture a guess that there must have been some sort of contract in place keeping the entry on the PS3 up until now, and so here we are. By allowing broader access to a game once doomed to obscurity as a physical-only release, it’s nice knowing that more will be able to experience this wonderful game with a small investment.
Thanks to the work of the small Sheffield-based studio Little Stone Software, Valkyria Chronicles goes against the poor port attempts with games like Dark Souls and Deadly Premonition by receiving a fantastic port that not only upgrades the visuals by a significant amount but also improves on other areas.
For one thing, loading times are drastically reduced, allowing players to quickly transition into a fight in only a couple seconds. The game can be saved instantly, which when that first happened, I had to go back and check to make sure it even happened.
While the configuration options are rather limited in the grand scheme, the work that happens behind the scenes more than makes up for it. There are a wealth of resolution options to choose from, each with different refresh rates attached depending on the graphics card your PC is currently equipped with.
You can go from the likes of 640x480 all the way up into the 8K resolution range, which is pretty incredible when you think about how we’re talking a game originally released over six years ago.
The only downside is that cutscenes don't appear to have received the same treatment looking just a little rough especially when blown up, but considering the source material, it's not that surprising. Hopefully someone out there will put the work in to doing just that.
While it doesn’t get much more granular than that, the visuals do appear to scale as you increase the resolution, helping to keep everything looking crisp and eye-pleasing. Trying this with other ports like with an emulator can sometimes lead to downright ugly results.
Here, I was able to go from a relatively modest laptop to my strong desktop rig smoothly thanks to the amazing rendering technology found here. This is very good news for people with computers in the middle or even low range. There are even ways to jack up the framerate to support 120 FPS with no sign of performance issues thanks to GeDoSaTo, which is just mind-blowing.
There is an option to switch between controller support or the use of mouse and keyboard. I actually found the latter to work very well here, allowing for precision aiming while playing my favorite class, the Sniper, with controls that just make sense, although players do have the option to change the key mapping.
Every facet of Valkyria Chronicles has been streamlined during the transition, putting a whole new lease on what was already an amazing experience thanks to the work of Little Stone Software and Sega. While they could have skated by with simply dumping the game on to PC and letting the community fix their mistakes, a lot of care went into producing the final result.
Surprisingly, the game also did exceedingly well when it launched on Steam on November 11th, with Sega stating that, “During its first 24 hours on sale, Valkyria Chronicles blew all forecasts and predictions out of the water”, beating out same-day releases like Assassin’s Creed: Unity to help it hit the top of the charts.
As of the typing of this review, the game currently sits at #11 but only because of the generous Steam Weekend sales currently going on. One would hope that this is a good sign of things to come for other Sega catalog entries to find their way to Steam that actually deserve the effort, like its two sequels -- or, if I can dream for a moment, games like Panzer Dragoon Saga which lost its SDK ages ago and is threatened by extinction.
If you would like to know more about the mechanics of the game and our thoughts of the experience overall, please check out our well-written review from when the game first launched. If you want to know my thoughts, I'll just say you should go out and buy it this very moment.