Game Title: Valkyria Revolution
Developer: Media.Vision, SEGA
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Download: 2.8 GB
Availability: Digital Download (Europe, North America)
PSTV Support: Yes
Among SEGA franchises, I’ve always loved the Valkyria series. I played a lot of Valkyria Chronicles II on my PSP and thoroughly enjoyed the animated adaptation of the original game. I actually still have an original Valkyria Chronicles disc for the PS3, but somehow have never actually played through it.
The new game in the series, or rather, new game in a reboot of sorts of the series, coming west was big news for me. I love Valkyria and I enjoyed the Japanese demo of this new game. So, to help show my love for the series and commemorate a great milestone in the website, here is my 500th review since starting this website, for the PS Vita / PSTV version of Valkyria Revolution!
The plot of Valkyria Revolution takes place in an alternate timeline of the Europa we all know from the Chronicles series. Instead of being in the World War II era, Revolution takes place in the era more in tune with the European Revolutions. When an ore called Ragnite is discovered, it is used by the masses as an energy source. Rather than solely being fuel like in Chronicles, it is used to make infused and special weapons to be used by the military.
The story revolves around a small group of militants, dubbed the “Anti-Valkyria Squad”, as they lead their country through a revolution to overthrow the tyranny of a neighboring country. As they fight for their own freedom both against the opposing country and a fearsome enemy known as the “Valkyria”, the plot weaves a very different type of world than Chronicles did.
The story, itself, is very nicely done and well-told. From the Princess running with the Anti-Valkyria Squad to the mysterious group manipulating events of the war, it is a very enjoyable Sci-Fi Military plot.
Unlike the Chronicles games, which were Third-Person Shooting Strategy RPGs, Valkyria Revolution is an Action RPG with light strategy elements thrown into the mix. Picture a free-roam action game like Dynasty Warriors, but with more of an RPG focus and a skill system with SRPG-like attack ranges and you’ve pretty much got this game in a nutshell. In short, it is an Action RPG.
Playing the game is pretty simple. The story drives you forward and eventually lands you in a hub world with various facilities, such as a Command Center for taking on missions and buying supplies, a town-like “Promenade” for seeing optional character scenes and buying equipment, and a Factory, where you can upgrade your weapons and make more advanced guns for your characters to use in combat. There are others for story purposes, but those 3 you will be spending a lot more time in.
When you’re not in these places, you’re on a mission. From the Command Center or just “Headquarters”, you can take on Story, Battle, and Free Missions and each have their own affects. Free missions are there to help you level characters for Story Missions, Story Missions advance the plot, and Battle Missions are randomized missions that will affect the overall war and territories.
Now, let’s talk about these Battle Missions for a moment. The game emphasizes that not partaking in these affects the war, and it does. If you do not do a Defend This Area Battle Mission and skip to do Story Missions instead, you will lose that territory. On top of this, there are normally many of these missions on the map at once and more that respawn later, having you do many of these missions for each Story Mission. It sounds quite repetitive and after some time, it is. These missions are often copies of one another, right down to the enemy groups and spawn points.
These are optional, but at the same time, they’re not. If you choose to skip these Battle Missions, you’ll eventually hit a wall in Story Mode and be underleveled, even in Easy Mode. But if you do these missions, the game will start to feel repetitive very, very quickly. It’s really a lose-lose situation overall.
Now, what you do in each mission is where things really get a tad unique and more solidify this as something of a reboot of the series and setting as a whole. This is an Action RPG, so you have free roam around the battlefield (unlike the Chronicles games where you could only move so far each turn). To fight off enemies, you run up to them and either attack them with a melee attack or open up the Command Menu to use a Skill, Item, your Sub-Weapon, or give orders to another party member.
In this system, the strategy starts to come into play, along with one element that was taken from Valkyria Chronicles. Let’s go into that first. One of the options from the Command Menu is your sub-weapon, which is a firearm. When this is selected, you go into a third-person shooter aiming mode and can fire off shots that have accuracy and damage, depending on the type of gun you’re using and how far away the enemy is. This is similar to how shooting worked in Chronicles.
The strategy comes in the form of elements. Every skill has an element tied to it. Many enemies have elemental weaknesses that you need to exploit to defeat very easily (unless you play on Easy Mode). Each skill also has a range. You might need a long-range ice attack that appears at the enemy when fighting flying airships, while large mobs you may need a long wind-elemental charge attack that can defeat several enemies at once. It takes a lot of playing around to really figure out what is effective against what.
But that’s also the shining part of the game. This isn’t Valkyria Chronicles and, gameplay-wise, it’s clearly meant to be something else. Considering how the enemies come together, the fact that you take over bases, enemy reinforcement types, and how boss fights work, I believe the developers wanted to take the idea of Valkyria Chronicles and mash it up with Dynasty Warriors because in each mission, it feels like you’re playing a Musou RPG that makes you think about proper characters, attacks, and more.
Across the entirety of the game, Revolution keeps you busy. The game’s 11 Chapters can be cleared in around 30-40 hours, depending on your difficulty. So it’s quite a long trek, adding onto many of the other longer RPGs released on the Vita lately, like Tokyo Xanadu and possibly Accel World vs Sword Art Online.
Controls for this game are off, and that’s one reason I recommend the PlayStation TV for playing it. Not only is if compatible with the PSTV, but the controls seem to be mapped a little smarter.
Basic movement and whatnot is easy enough. The Left Stick lets you move and the Right Stick moves the camera. The L and R buttons are used mostly in battle for locking onto enemies (though the bottom-right corner of the touch screen does this on the Vita). X lets you talk to NPCs or perform melee attacks. Triangle opens the Command Menu, and Circle lets you cancel out of options and menus.
You also have Start, and Select. Start opens the Save Menu and Select opens up the customization menu outside of missions. However, this only uses the Select Button on the PSTV. On the Vita, you have to tap the center of the touch screen to access this, which makes it a bit strange, considering the Select Button on the Vita doesn’t do anything in the game and could easily have been the same feature.
Graphically, the character models look nice and detailed, but the environments don’t. In this game, the devs did the same think Omega Force did with the Vita version of Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. They significantly reduced the detail of environments for the sake of game performance.
Thankfully, this move does pay off. Across the entirety of the game, there are seldom situations where the frames actually drop under 30 fps. It may not look super-HD, but it plays nicely.
A Musou with Valkyria Chronicles flavoring? Now I am interested.
I don’t get why VC3 and Revolution were released to PSP/PSV without multi-player. VC2 has a co-op mode that is very enjoyable. It’s like SEGA has no faith on its own franchise… VC1 is one of the best PS3 games (I consider it the number one), but the developer started playing safe by cutting investments porting the sequels to handhelds… Valkyria Revolution for PS4 has good graphics, but could be better if not released to PSVita.