Review: Valkyria Revolution – PS Vita (6.0/10)

Platform: PS VitaGenre: Action RPGDeveloper: Media Vision
Publisher: Sega Deep Silver
Release Date: June 27, 2017 June 30, 2017
Price:$39.99 USD / $53.49 CAD£32.99 / €39.99 / $59.95 AUD
Review written by Michael

Valkyria Revolution is a spinoff to the Valkyria Chronicles series, with games like Valkyria Chronicles (PS3 2008, PS4 2016), Valkyria Chronicles II (PSP 2010), and Valkyria Chronicles III (PSP 2011). While Valkyria Chronicles is known for its tactical turn-based gameplay, Valkyria Revolution introduces a new hybrid battle system combining tactical squad behavior with real-time action.

Developed by Media Vision, the ones behind Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (Hacker’s Memory) and Summon Night 6: Lost Borders, I was really looking forward to Valkyria Revolution as I was enjoying the Japanese demo a lot. But after having played for nearly 40 hours now, I am quite disappointed what Media Vision has done with the game.

Story

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

Valkyria Revolution is set in a fictional Europe in 1853 where the Ruzi Empire is threatening the small kingdom of Jutland by an economic blockade. In order to liberate itself and its neighbours, Jutland must go to war with the empire, which will be known as the Liberation War lead by the circle of five.

The story is told from the perspective of a professor and her student from the Institute of Alchemy many years after the war. As the student wants to find out the hidden truth of the five traitors who lead Jutland into war, the professor reveals the story that’s been passed down by her own family.

Divided into 10 chapters and a finale, Valkyria Revolution starts quite epic with the prologue that gives an insight of how the Liberation War was started. The story telling feels very cinematic thanks to the many cutscenes. Unfortunately, the narrative gets quite boring after chapter 5 as conversations and plot just feel uninspired. In chapter 8, it gets a bit better, only to become boring again in chapter 9.

As I’ve said before, the game features many cutscenes, but these often come with superficial small talk that sometimes you wish that they would stop talking. The mediocre plot gives not much motivation to finish the game, especially as the gameplay itself is also very repetitive.

Gameplay

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

As I’ve never played a game of the Valkyria Chronicles series before, I won’t be comparing Valkyria Revolution to the previous games. Each chapter comes with a different set of missions, either to continue the story or battle missions which serve to level up your characters. There are even free battles that can be used for grinding which is needed especially in later chapters as some boss fights can take quite long if your characters are not strong enough.

Before a mission, you can prepare your party members with selecting new weapons or skills, exchange your party members or give new battle tactics. When you are ready, your party will be deployed to the battle field. Normally, there is a main objective to destroy the enemies’ army as well as some side objectives which grant you extra money after finishing a mission.

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

Valkyria Revolution describes itself as a mixture of a tactical and action RPG, but actually it feels more like a hack-and-slash game with very little strategical elements. Although the game offers a wide selection of tactical skills, most of them are too week in later chapters as they deal not much damage to the enemies. As melee attacks guarantee much better results you will mainly use sword attacks which leads to unintelligent button smashing. Secondary weapons like rifles and grenades are helpful but limited in supply during a mission.

New weapons can be developed at Basil’s Factory where you can also upgrade weapons and skills. After each successful mission you earn granite which you can use to enhance the stats. In the upgrade tree, you can select the character you wish to upgrade and strengthen its attack or skill strengths. Granite can also be bought in the Promenade of Jutland with money earned from missions. There is also a workshop in the Promenade where you can order special protection gear.

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

It was quite easy to get used to the hybrid battle system where you have to wait until you can slash a new attack after the battle gauge is refilled. As you can always evade until the next attack, it feels like a hack-and-slash game which isn’t actually a bad thing. But what actually is really bad is the enemy AI which can only be described as extremely dumb.

Although the game tells you to hide behind walls until you begin to attack, this is not needed as enemies always act the same stupid way. When you approach soldiers from behind, it takes ages until they realize that someone is attacking them. In the first chapters of the game, difficulty feels too easy as the enemies act so dull that it’s more like a morning walk than a real challenge. Only in later chapters, stronger enemies appear.

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

On the contrary, boss fights and fights with the Valkyria are more difficult compared to normal missions. If your characters are not strong enough, you won’t be able to beat those enemies so easily, especially on normal difficulty. On easy, those fights can still take some time which seems a bit odd as normal missions don’t take that long. Generally, I didn’t like the boss fights as those enemies can move faster than you and seem to have better weapons as well. Some boss fights also require lots of grinding.

During the several chapters, you will visit the same places over and over again which makes the game very repetitive. After having fought the same enemies on the same battle field for over three times, I felt kind of betrayed by the game. One of the hightlights of the game is the boss fight in chapter 7 but I won’t give more details as I don’t want to spoil it.

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

But besides that, missions are quite bland and boring, especially in later chapters, where you have to search for the enemies to be able to complete a mission. Although the game tells you “enemy reinforcements”, it is you who has to search them as the enemy AI is so dumb. It happened often to me that I missed killing one or two soldiers that I had to search for the last men standing until I could complete a mission.

I also hated some of the training missions, as some of them are frustratingly difficult and even on easy difficulty, they are hard to master. There are also longer missions that are divided into several missions but when you fail one of those longer missions, you always have to start from the beginning which is quite annoying.

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

Valkyria Revolution has also some annoying glitches on the PS Vita. During the boss fight in chapter 1, the boss moved outside of the borders and I could not reach him anymore with my melee weapons. After I ran out of secondary weapons and skills, I could not attack him anymore and I only could give up the mission as the boss was unreachable.

I also had an error with opening a treasure chest in chapter 1. When I tried to open it with one of my characters, the character freezed and I could not control it anymore. When I changed to the next character and tried to open the chest, it has freezed as well, until I could not move all four characters anymore.  Since then I never opened chests again due to the fear of another freeze. Another glitch happened in chapter 9 when an enemy solder freezed and I could not complete the mission and had to restart it.

Besides that, I really loved the intro of the game, which is awesome, although I would have preferred that Media Vision would have put the same quality into the game itself. Loading times are very long, before a mission and also when loading a cutscene, with up to 20 seconds each time which is a lot.

Graphics

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

The graphics of Valkyria Revolution looks really beautiful on the PS Vita, thanks to the newly used gouache rendering engine that gives the graphics a unique touch. Most of the time, the game runs smoothly, only when there are many enemies on screen, the framerate can stutter a bit. In chapter 10, the game had more framerate issues with more stuttering than I have seen before, but the game was still playable.

Sound

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita

The soundtrack of Valkyria Revolution is really good and fits to the epic story telling. The english voices are top-notch as well.

Unfortunately, the game has annoying sound glitches in later chapters. When the Valkyria appears at night, it is accompanied by a noise which is really disturbing. I’m surprised that no one at Sega or Media Vision has noticed that.

Conclusion

Valkyria Revolution is quite disappointing, mainly due to its repetitive missions and the bad enemy AI. Although the story begins quite epic, it becomes very boring in later chapters. In the end, the game is pure button smashing with not much intelligence needed. There are also some annoying glitches which can lead to frustrating moments.

If you are a fan of the Valkyria Chronicles series you better skip this game as it has nothing in common with the previous titles. If you are fan of hack-and-slash games, you can give it a try but be aware that you will only get an average gameplay experience.

Valkyria Revolution PS Vita Gameplay:

 

The review was written and provided by Michael. All screenshots are from the PS Vita version. The review is based on a review copy which was provided by the publisher.

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