+Beautiful uses of a water-brush style based graphics engine
+Battles can be fun and large scale on occasion allowing the game to truly shine
+A story that basis itself on some real-life scenarios
-Characters and their animations feel dull and lifeless
-Audio and video sequences feel off during cutscenes
-Struggles to find a solid pacing outside of combat
When Valkyria Revolution first released on the PlayStation 3, Sega knew they had struck gold due to how unique the game is, and the following it garnished. It’s not the first time that we saw franchises try to make changes. We’ve seen it with the spin-off titles for Hyperdimension Neptunia and even Samurai Warriors. Both franchises tested new waters, which is something Sega managed to try and do with Valkyria Revolution, and unfortunately, it struggles in places where it shouldn’t.
Valkyria Revolution isn’t just a new game. It’s a fresh start for the average Valkyria title. It’s a game that decided to take everything we loved about the magic filled steam-punk world, and go a bit further with the approach. The game has decided to take on a new focus from its original strategic approach to combat. With the game having gone action-RPG over strategy, there’s a blurred line on what should have happened, and what shouldn’t have. The shouldn’t being more prevalent than the should have.
Outside of the struggling Action RPG approach, Valkyria Revolution aims to seal the deal with its rather poignant narrative that allows the series to spread those bird-like wings. Since it takes on real-world turmoil as its foreground with fuel, we see this replaced with a resource called Ragnite. This precious resource is one that has ignited yet another war as the Kingdom of Jutland is once more poised to take on the Rus Empire, which has crippled the Jutland people due to the economic blockade. The game foreshadows this rather early on as players hear of an elderly woman who has begun to die since her medicine can’t be obtained. Why can’t it be? Well the Rus Empire’s blockade, which has made our main characters take up arms against the Rus Empire.
While we don’t get to see the actual affects of the Rus Empire, they do serve as a narrative drive for fans, and a part of the games overall story. Since Valkyria Revolution is a reboot from Valkyria Chronicles, there’s almost no need for fans to take to their local retailer to get a full grasp of the series. While Media Vision did this to bring in new fans, the new and clean slate idea didn’t exactly work out in their favor. Why? The English Dub didn’t help. It actually made this problem worse in comparison to the games Japanese counterpart, which only slightly softens the blow, and makes it seem slightly more easy to suffer through.
Here’s Where Valkyria Revolution Went Wrong
So you are scratching your head at why it’s possible to say this game has become insufferable. It’s not because the game isn’t a beautiful game. It’s water-color approach brings the vibrant world to life. It brings in an artistic medium very few games have even sought to explore in an age of high-end graphics engines. What makes the game hard to go through is the fact the characters themselves feel dull. Their animations lack character. They feel stiff, inanimate. Their characters seem to just stare at each other with blank stares, motionless faces, and they often struggle to really add depth to the beautiful environments around them.
This truly becomes problematic when you are put through seemingly endless cutscenes where players find themselves suffering through a myriad of events that seems to stumble around like a drunk. There’s even story and cutscene transitions that seem odd and out of place coupled together with a lack of sound quality that could have used a bit of polishing. Combat, however, is solid. It’s exactly what you would have hoped for a game series that has been rebooted without really needing it. While it is possible for one to summarize the complaints as glitches – they aren’t. They just make things seem a bit off in comparison to the previous titles under the Valkyria banner.
Not Everything Went Bad in the Revolution
While all the before-mentioned bits pull away from the games actual pacing, the action does serve up a delightful meal. Because the action system is where the game shines on, players will enjoy the moments they are dropped into the battlefield where dodging, guarding, attacking, and finding your way around becomes rather fun.
With the original games cover system remaining in place, fans can enjoy the fact that combat does over up a ‘strategy lite’ command system. The cover system, however, only is useful when players need to brush up their health pool, or even prepare to take on large squad-swaps, and spell uses. While this sounds like you can expect depth, there’s not just a lot to discuss when it comes to the game due to it being completely narrative driven. It’s a game that tries to balance mission objective oriented goals and large-scale boss battles that seem to not last long.
Players will find themselves disgruntled at times since bosses are typically bullet sponges that players will end up taking on. This also leads into the fact that fans will be taking adventures through maps that are re-introduced multiple times due to some areas being walled off in previous missions. This doesn’t take away through the hack-and-slash like mechanics that players are used to.
Valkyria Revolution – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Developer: Media Vision
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $59.99 USD
With Media Vision trying something new, they can’t be faulted in failing in some areas and excelling in others. It happens with testing new waters and with Sega being the publisher, we can only hope that there will be a sequel; a title that polishes up on this ones shortcomings and offers more utility to weapons such as guns and grenades. Not a hybrid hack-and-slash that struggles to get up off its knees in the long run.
While the game is a new take on an already existing franchise, lets just hope the next one is a full on action-style romping versus a hybrid that struggles to find its place.
Our review is based upon a retail version provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.