Valkyria Chronicles is an amazing tactical RPG that SEGA should be immensely proud of. It furthered the genre in a few aspects and brought out a very different kind of RPG to the PS3. The sequels that have followed it have been alright, but we haven’t seen a proper sequel since 2011 (and even Valkyria Chronicles 3 was only released in Japan). Valkyria Revolution is the first game in the series to take place in that world but not be directly tied to the primary storyline, which is both a good and bad thing as we discovered.
The game is set up to be a story between a student and a professor set a century in the future from where the game’s main plot is held. The two discuss how the country of Jutland fought for their independence against the Ruzhien Empire, which you then reenact with the primary characters of the story. Essentially, you have been taught one version of history, but your professor is telling you the “true” story of what happens. Jutland forms an army and begins to push back, in a land that also happened to be inhabited by Valkyria, who are pretty much considered above humans and almost gods.
The game itself feels like a Dynasty Warriors knockoff where you’re doing around having battles with multiple enemies in a hack-n-slash environment. You’ll have one or a couple of people to switch between, run around beating up foes, win the battle and then get treated to a cutscene. The combat has some decent options between melee, ranged attacks, magic and other options based on who you’re playing as, but it offers little variety and gets repetitive after the first few battles. You get four people to switch between, which can make it interesting if you like coordinating your attacks, but that’s about as much excitement as you get before the next cutscene comes by.
If it sounds like we’re keeping this description simplistic, it’s because that’s all there really is to the game. You have a fight, then get a ten-minute cutscene. You then move to another fight, get a twelve-minute cutscene. Finish the next fight, seven-minute cutscene. In fact, that’s probably going to be the biggest problem you have with Valkyria Revolution. I’d say in a given hour of playing the game, I experienced ten minutes of real fighting or exploration as a character and 50 minutes of cutscenes. If not for the actual combat phases, I’d swear I was playing a novella.
Now that’s not to say the story of the game is bad, the story is actually quite intriguing and reminded me of Eastern European conflicts where countries wanted to get away from each other after decades of being forced under a single rule. If this were just a novella, I would have been happy reviewing it as such and probably would have given it a higher rating. But because it’s a novella pretending to be a real game (with an endless supply of loading screens between them), the experience is soured.
Valkyria Revolution is okay, but it is nowhere near great. We could get into the graphics not being what they should, the variety of enemies being sub-par, many of the weapons being ineffective, the repeating music, etc. But really, this game does not feel like it belongs in the Valkyria series. It feels like every other generic JRPG I’ve played in the past five years. I would have much rather gotten Valkyria Chronicles 3 with English voice actors than this. You’ll probably enjoy it a lot if you love storytelling, but the game has very little to offer as an RPG.