Establishing a franchise is not easy by any means. Once you’ve released a game that does well enough to even warrant the need for any future sequels, it’s here that all the planning, all the hours spent creating worlds and characters goes unnoticed by fans. It’s a shame to say that Valkyria Revolution should go unnoticed, as Sega has dropped a once great series into a stereotypical anime, full of clichés and big swords, a far cry from the original Valkyria Chronicles. I’m not totally convinced this game is a dud, I am convinced that Sega doesn’t know what to do with this series, though, seeing as they decided to skip out on a Western release of Valkyria Chronicles 3 a few years back.
Unlike Valkyria Chronicles, which is much more in line with a tactical RPG with third-person shooting woven into the gameplay, Valkyria Revolution jettisons the tactical part of the gameplay in favour of something more action oriented, with mixed results. It’s a big departure after playing Chronicles for PlayStation 3 many years ago, and one I’m not so sure was needed.
Valkyria Revolution’s story takes place within Jutland, a small nation that is in the early throws of a revolution. The small country has been blockaded by Ruzhien, an empire that has quickly expanded its territory and currently experiencing an industrial revolution all thanks to discovering Ragnite, the magic of this world, where it powers factories to lights on the street. Jutland retaliates against the empire with little options left to their disposal.
Overall, the story hints at greatness, but soon after, the entire thing falls apart, even the alternate reality of Europe cannot save this game. See, much of the story is told through bad cutscenes that feel like they were produced in hopes of saving money on the budget and much of the story is often told through cutscenes that can last upwards of twenty minutes but in that time, nothing exciting happens, there’s just lots of talking.
Which wouldn’t be so bad if you could skip dialogue you’ve already read, instead you’re made to wait until a character is done speaking before moving on, that, or you can skip the entire scene to progress.
I was invested at the beginning, the overall story is good, it’s really messy though.
Combat plays out much differently than Chronicles, but, remnants of previous systems remain. For example, you can move freely around the map and attack enemies with your sword, but you can also pause the gameplay to select commands and input orders to your squad. However, you rarely need to do this, as simply engaging enemies head on often gets the job done against regular enemies. It’s against bigger enemies and bosses you might have to think about your next move, and even then, it’s nowhere near as deep as Chronicles.
Battlefields allow you to either attack, guard, or dodge attacks with a menu interface to issue commands to your squad of four. The cover system does offer some sort of break in attacking your enemies, often covering behind a wall to prepare a spell to cast or recover your meter before being able to attack once more.
Missions task you with eradicating the battlefield of enemies, rinse and repeat. There isn’t much else, with a very limited stealth mechanic that really serves little use other than being there. Usually, charging forward will get the job done, often being the better option available.
Valkyria Revolution has been branded a spin-off for the series, and by no means is it a terrible game, it is, however, a story that didn’t need to be told, bogged down by systems that have business being part of the series. While the story isn’t necessarily a sore-spot, it’s marred by poor animation. Dropping the historical setting also offers no favor for the series, and overdoing the JRPG elements fail to resonate with fans of the series, and the combat offers no strategy the series is known for.