Valkyria Chronicles was a pretty alright game. A tactical shooter, the game took place in an alternate World War 2 and, while certainly not perfect, it was alright. After two PSP exclusive sequels, Valkyria Revolution has come West. It’s pretty not alright.
While Chronicles was a heavily tactical based game, where team placement was crucial, Revolution takes its cues far more from “musou” games, like Dynasty Warriors or Dragon Quest Heroes. Most missions will put a group of characters in a level, where you have to go from area to area, generally killing anything that gets in your way. A majority of your combat comes down to using one button to slash your way through groups of enemies. Pretty simple so far, right?
Well, this is where the issues come up. Rather than taking the approach of continually slashing through enemies, you hit a button, which gives you a chance to hit an enemy. Then, you have to wait for your attack ability to refill. You can also use different spells and guns during combat, but a lot of your combat comes down to using the single button attacks. Why, though, you have to wait to attack is an absolute mystery. In theory, this should make your attacks feel more tactical so you choose when to attack and when not to attack. You could see limiting your gun uses or your magic uses with this system but as this is a musou style game, not being able to attack constantly feels slow and clunky.
Beyond that, your teammate AI is absolutely moronic. So, the game gives you the option to give them a set of instructions, as well as give them a general direction as to what they should do. You can choose for them to be aggressive, more defensive, and you can give them individual commands. However, they will rarely listen to what you say, opting to chase enemies when you want them to be defensive. In other instances, the game wants you to hide in some bushes, but your team will just run around drawing all of the attention to you. So any tactical use of these teammates is almost null.
These options are almost useless, as well, since it’s always easier to simply switch between characters and do whatever you need to do. Oftentimes, characters will have little self care so changing to your healing character can be crucial just to get through some of the tougher fights. Certain enemies have specific elemental weaknesses, so switching is essential in these tough fights, since your there’s no way to tell your team “Hey, just spam this one attack over and over again.”
The upgrade system does feel like it’s designed to replay fights. You unlock “ragnite”, this game’s equivalent of spells. Those can be either equipped or funneled into your character’s skills. So if you get a bunch of level 1 spells, it makes sense to funnel those abilities into a character’s skills. However, there are so many skills and the game is so boring to play, you likely won’t actually want to play these fights over again.
While the game might not play great, the story is somehow even less compelling. Taking place in an alternate timeline from Chronicles, Valkyria Revolution tells the story of a war that took place a hundred years ago. The land Jutland has been imposed with a series of economic blockades by Ruzhien. Jutland seeks to be free and incite a revolution. The main character, Amleth, and four others are framed as being “traitors” to the revolution. They act as Valkyria Revolution’s “Patriots”, where they are setting up the country to revolt. As you play, you learn more about their reasons for doing what they are doing, telling the supposed “real” side of history that was not recorded in history.
The thing is that the story is told in the most absolutely boring way possible. There are huge chunks of game where you just watch cutscenes. Cutscenes after cutscenes play, with mostly monotone line delivery, punctuated by characters whose facial animations are entirely limited to lip movements.
And in between all of these cutscenes are loading screens. And these loading sequences can even take place in the middle of cutscenes. Early on, there’s a scene that shows a series of characters, giving you short blurbs of information on each. There’s a loading sequence between each of these character descriptions.
The thing is that it feels like if this was properly handled, it could have been okay. The style of taking a game and remaking it into a musou game have worked for Dragon Quest, The Legend of Zelda, and others. But Valkyria Revolution is so sloppy and not fun that it becomes incredibly boring to play very fast. For every fight, it feels like there’s an hour of cutscenes that follow. Every encounter is boring and repetitive and the story just doesn’t feel compelling enough to make you want to play more. For as good as Valkyria Chronicles was, Valkyria Revolution is a massive disappointment.
SCORE: 3.0 out of 10
A code for Valkyria Revolution was provided to Pixel Related for review.