The Valkyria Chronicles spin-off, Valkyria Revolution has finally been released in the West. Find out what we thought about this story-heavy action RPG here!
|Release Date||June 27, 2017|
|Platforms||Xbox One/PS4/PS Vita|
I’ve been curious about the Valkyria series of games since I first saw Valkyria Chronicles in a discount bin at a Blockbuster a year or so after it was released. I never did bother to try out the game at that point, which made sense because I’ve never been a big JRPG player. I forgot about the series for a long time until I started hearing about the new spin-off which peaked my interest again which brings us here. So let’s take a look at what I thought in our Valkyria Revolution review!
Valkyria Revolution starts with a conversation between a professor and her student. It’s important to remember that this is a spin-off and isn’t really related to the Chronicles series of games. The game is set 100 years after the Liberation war between Jutland and the Ruzhien Empire. Professor Richer ends up taking you through the story behind the Liberation War as you read through the book and play out what happened. It’s a unique way of doing a story and I thought it was really well-done.
I’m not going to go any deeper into the story as there’s a lot that goes into it and I’d end up spoiling things if I did. It’s certainly one of Valkyria Revolution’s strong points, but also one of its weaker points at the same time. You’re probably asking how that’s even possible. Well, it comes down to cutscenes. I love cutscenes when they’re done as a way to bridge the story together, but they were truly excessive in this game. I spent 10 minutes playing, 50 minutes watching in the first hour of Valkyria Revolution which I thought was ridiculous. There was another point where I watched 12-13 consecutive cutscenes. It’s insane. It feels more like a movie than a game at some points and that doesn’t work for an action-RPG.
The gameplay drew me in quite a bit right away. It’s a hybrid system that works a bit differently from other RPGs that I’ve played. I call it a hybrid system because while it isn’t turn-based and you can still run freely, you still have to wait a couple seconds between attacks for your attack meter to recharge. I did find this slightly annoying for regular melee attacks and I don’t recall ever playing another game like that. To add to that, the better your team performs in a battle, the faster that gauge fills up, so you start at a bit of a disadvantage in each battle until you start defeating enemies.
Beyond the standard different melee weapons that each character has, there are also secondary weapons, grenades, and different elemental alchemy attacks. Secondary weapons consist of rifles and launchers and tend to be slightly more effective than regular attacks as are grenades. The elemental alchemy attacks are the ones that tend to do the most damage with things like fire shots, rock smash, and freezing all possible. Alchemy can be upgraded with Ragnite found in missions to become even stronger.
I felt like the AI of your teammates was pretty hit and miss. You’re able to set them to be offensive, defensive, free, etc, so you have a bit of control how they work. Most of the issues I had were of them not taking cover when an enemy was charging up an attack and just allowing the enemy to hit them with it. Overall, the system does what it’s supposed to so I can’t be too critical of it. You can even break your squad up into 2 pairs if you’re fighting two large bosses if you desire to, so there are definitely strategic options at play here.
One big positive I will give Valkyria Revolution a lot of credit for is its accessibility. This isn’t a game that’s going to punish you at every turn. If you’re a half-decent gamer, you won’t have many problems trying to get through the game. It’s not super-easy, but it is one of the better games I’ve played in terms of easing you into the game It explains everything that you have available to you in a quick and concise way. I think it could definitely help open up this genre to casual gamers who maybe didn’t see JRPGs as something they’d be able to play.
I will say that this is a very repetitive game. You’re basically doing the same thing the entire time. You defeat enemies, capture bases, and occasionally fight a boss. It’s fun, but after a little while, it gets stale. I usually try and play no longer than a couple hours at a time because I start to get bored with it. I do enjoy the combat and trying to capture the bases, I just feel like there needs to be more substance to keep my attention.
I enjoyed Valkyria Revolution in short bursts, but this is definitely a game that you should try before you buy. It’s a pretty simple JRPG by most standards and the depth of similar games just doesn’t seem to be there. Sure, there are some cool upgrades you can do and you can buy new gear for your characters, but you’re generally just grinding through the game. That’s fine if you feel rewarded for it, but I never really did. The story is the star of this game and if you love story-heavy JRPGs, this is certainly something to check out. Just be aware that you’ll be watching a lot more than playing.
*This game was provided to FYIG by Sega for review purposes*