Valkyria Revolution is a completely new action RPG from SEGA Japan. It might bear similarity in name to Valkyria Chronicles but it is intended to be a completely different game and set in its own different setting with a unique turn-based combat system that mixes real-time combat with a timed attack system allowing the user to perform a variety of moves.
Valkyria Revolutions tells a historical tale of war between two nations and how the people who brought peace were labeled as a ‘traitor’. The opening moments of the story are cutscene laden with little to no action and they all go in detail to setup the backstory and characters for the game. The issue here is that the story is not that great and when the game presents cutscenes after cutscenes, and most of which include dialogue that attempts to portray a serious story, it just doesn’t end up as a fun experience. The weakness of the story doesn’t really put much on the overall experience thanks in large to the combat system.
The combat is the unique aspect in Valkyria Revolution and it mixes the joy of a turn-based combat with the simplicity of performing attacks and special moves in real-time. You can move around the map with full freedom however you have limited amount of attacks and once you execute an attack, you will have to wait for a while until you can attack again. You also have the choice to perform a variety of special moves or use sub-weapons like a rifle or grenade in combat, however they are tied by the same mechanics so you can’t spam them. You will have to decide the best course of action during battle, whether to sneak around and ambush enemies or go all out in front of them. Your actions have an impact on the enemy’s behavior so it is pretty important to keep in mind when approaching each situation.
The basic attacks are simply executed with a button press and you can try to attempt to control the flow of combat during some of the battles by issuing commands to your party members, however the game isn’t exactly difficulty enough except for some boss battles so you can breeze through the majority of the game just keeping with the default party AI. Speaking of boss battles, they allow you to experiment and test your abilities since you will be able to take down majority of the normal enemies with regular attacks, the boss battles demand you to strategically target different body parts of exploit their weakness to certain attacks in order to take them down quickly.
Valkyria Revolution combat system is fun but feels too easy at times. The party AI has its own customization system that is not as advanced as one would expect, however it is not that bad. One of the issue that I had with the AI was how it failed to act properly during situations where I wanted to approach the enemies with a different strategy. You can also let them focus on either defense or offense skills by issuing them the respective commands. The developers seem to have been inspired from the gambit system featured in Final Fantasy XII however it is not integrated as flawlessly here. It is serviceable at best and terrible at worst.
As fun as the battle system is, the rest of the game feels quite dull be comparison. I have already mentioned that the story is not as strong for a game that attempts to tackle some mature themes, but the gameplay loop can also get repetitive. Most of the missions will revolve around killing all the enemies or letting you find the boss. There are optional objectives during some missions but they don’t really add much to the overall experience. This is coupled with story cutscenes that sometime outstay their welcome and the pacing of the game feels off at times.
Aside from having the basic skills to use in battle, you can also attempt to use ragnite to level up and enhance the gear equipped by the party. This can be done by completing the optional missions during story that will reward you with ragnite, or you can attempt to buy it if you have the necessary amount of money. Enhancing isn’t really as useful as leveling up the party members since stat boost is much more effective, so you likely won’t be spending much time with this aspect. It is a fun distraction though and while the enhancements can be minimal, you can also use this ragnite to unlock skills for party members so it is not entirely useless.
The visuals of the game feel like last generation a times. Some of the locations have terrible textures which are easily spotted while the character models themselves aren’t really highly detailed and sport a cell-shaded look. It is not the best looking game but again visuals are not really what makes a game good, it is the content. While I have enjoyed the combat system and appreciate what the developers were intending to do with it, I also found myself bored at the monotonous nature of some of the cutscenes and the pacing of the game can prove to be slog at times. If there is a sequel, the developers definitely have a lot to improve but atleast they have a solid foundation for the combat system.
Valkyria Revolution Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Valkyria Revolution, known in Japan as Valkyria: Azure Revolution, is an action role-playing video game developed by Media.Vision for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Xbox One.
Valkyria Revolutions suffers from some pacing issues and stiff cutscenes that make it hard to follow the serious tone of the story, although it attempts to mend some of its flaws with the excellent battle system.