One of the small flaws of the original Valkyria Chronicles for PS3 was its relatively long loading times. Taken on their own they weren’t massive, but there were many, before every dialogue scene, cutscene, and before and after the briefing of each battle, so they added up. Installing the whole game on hard disk helped, but loading times remained fairly long.
Now Valkyria Chronicles Remastered has been released in Japan, so we can see if the issue has been mitigated or even solved.
While remasters always bring forth visual improvements, whether large or small, loading times are one thing that isn’t always improved. Stock hard disks drives on consoles are all fairly slow to keep cost, heat and vibrations down, whether they belong to the PS3 or to the PS4 generation, and higher resolution assets mean that more data needs to be loaded from HDD to memory.
Below you can see a comparison done between a first generation CUH-1000 PS4 and a first generation CECHC PS3. Both consoles use their stock hard disk drives, and the game has been fully installed on PS3. According to our observation, later PS3 models have slightly shorter loading times due to having larger hard disks, but the difference with the original “fat” is very small.
We didn’t include the PC version in the comparison, since obviously PCs don’t have “stock” hard disk drives, and the variance is simply too large. For the sake of discourse, my 2 TB 7,200 RPM Western Digital has loading times comparable to the PS4 version. Your personal results with different HDD models may vary.
You can see the results in the video below. Footage for each platform has been matched so that the button confirmation button (X in the western PS3 version, circle in the Japanese PS4 version) is pressed at the same time on each platform.
Incidentally, apologies for the off-screen footage for the PS3 version, but our capture equipment did not agree with the older console’s HDCP protection over HDMI, and we did not have access to a splitter able to strip it.
The results are pretty evident. The PS4 remaster brings a massive improvement to the loading times of the game. We can easily say that they’re almost non-existent for the loading of the main menu, and for battles both before and after the briefing. There still is a very short loading window of about 4 seconds before dialogue scenes, but that’s still about 30% of the time it takes on PS3.
If loading times bothered you with the PS3 version of Valkyria Chronicles, you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more when the PS4 remaster will be released in the west this spring, now with a lot less staring at a black screen.