Simply put, SEGA’s Valkyria Revolution isn’t a great game. It’s not a terrible game but it isn’t great. I even reviewed the game and I said at the end that Valkyria Revolution is just slightly below average. However, even though I objectively did say the game isn’t all that, I still muscled through the entire campaign and finished it. That’s because there are honestly some things that the game got right. In fact, I will say that, overall, I actually had fun and enjoyed my time with the game because the good stuff is actually really good; it’s just juxtaposed by how bad the bad stuff are and I can’t help but compare it with the stunning polish of its predecessor, Valkyria Chronicles.
Most people probably glossed over it’s good points and just focused on the bad and I was one of them. But I’m here to tell you the things that Valkyria Revolution actually got right.
The biggest thing I have to mention is the music. I said it in the review already but it bears mentioning again. Valkyria Revolution has one of the most epic soundtracks today. All of the songs just feel so dramatic which does heighten the mood of the scene. The music was written by composer Yasunori Mitsura. You may not know the name but, if you’ve been playing any good Japanese games during the last decade or so, you’ve probably heard some of his work. After all, Yasunori Mitsura was the main composer of Chrono Trigger and Xenogears! Valkyria Revolution’s soundtrack was composed by this very man so, yes. The music is fantastic. It does a lot to really to let you feel the depth of the scene. The really dire and long, deep notes of Claudius’ Ambition highlight that the Ruzi Empire are a country not to be trifled with and Eternal Rest, the song that plays just before nightfall comes and the Valkyria/Death enters the battlefield is hauntingly beautiful as well. I have to give props to, not only Yasunori Mitsura for writing this beautiful piece, but to Sarah Alainn for singing this incredibly lovely song. It’s beautiful but can fill you with dread because you know you’re going to have to deal with this ultra-powerful optional boss if you don’t complete the mission before the song ends.
That’s another thing Valkyria Revolution got right: the optional Valkyria boss battles. Basically, there are some missions in the game that you have to complete within a certain time frame or else the Valkyria will come in and attack you. It’s virtually impossible during the early parts of the game. She does become beatable during the later stages but she never becomes a pushover. Like most of the bosses, she takes a lot of hits to take down. However, she does have some qualities that make her fun to actually fight.
For one thing, fighting her is a little more involved than the other bosses in Valkyria Revolution. Most of the bosses have you casting just one kind of elemental spell that they’re weak against to get the most damage. That doesn’t work with the Valkyria because her elemental weakness changes from time to time so you have to pay a little more attention than just spamming the same magic over and over again. Secondly, all of the other bosses will usually summon a squad of helpers as cannon fodder and to be a distraction. Try to clear the screen of them and they’ll just reappear and it’s just annoying. Thankfully, the Valkyria has honor and has no need to bring in an extra squad to help her out. Because you can actually concentrate on her, battling against her feels more intense and makes her really feel like a boss character. Of course, if she appears while your fending off a bunch of enemy troops, you’ll have to contend with them as well.
But the best thing about her being an optional boss is that you don’t have to defeat her to complete the mission! As long as you accomplish the goal, whether is be defending your base or killing a particular enemy or whatever it may be, you can just avoid fighting her altogether. She’s still going to make your life miserable and will chase you all over the map with some really damaging spells whenever we can. But, if you can just complete your goal, it won’t matter. This is extremely helpful especially during the early missions when you’re just trying to level up by playing those side missions.
Speaking of side missions, most of them are snoozefests because they’re basically the same thing. You’re just going from map to map and killing enemies and that’s it. But there is a particular side mission that’s feels a little more than just routing enemies and capturing bases. That would be the defense mission where you have to capture bases and rout the enemy commander while making sure your main base doesn’t get captured. You’re still doing the same things are the regular free missions (capturing bases and mowing through platoons of soldiers) but the extra element of having to rush back to your base once in a while makes things feel a little more hectic. If you want a real challenge, skip a few missions and wait for the Ruzi Empire to almost conquer the area before accepting the missions as the area will be swarming with thousand of reinforcements!
The most underappreciated element of Valkyria Revolution has to be the overall story, however. The overall premise of the Five Traitors who manipulated an entire population into war is actually an excellent story and the way it’s told is unique in the world of video games. It’s actually told from the point of view of a history teacher and her apprentice. The student isn’t sure that the Five Traitors deserve the title and wants their honor to be restored because their actions set in motion the liberation of the country of Jutland. However, the teacher actually knows the true history of the Liberation War and why the Five Traitors accepted the brand of “traitor” wholeheartedly.
The story does take a while to really get going. In fact, the first few chapters are incredibly boring and you need to be really patient before things really get interesting. Once they show all the skullduggery that the Five Traitors pulled from behind the scenes, that’s when the story starts getting good. You see all of the years of planning and all the sacrifices they had to do just to get their revenge on the Ruzi Empire. Some of the things they pull do feel really immoral at times but the group is just so blinded by their quest for vengeance, they can’t see how they’re actually hurting people.
Besides the slow pace, the reason why the story is rarely mentioned as one of Valkyria Revolution’s highlights is because, well, it’s not as good an nuanced as the original Valkyria Chronicles. There was a whole lot more with Valkyria Chronicles’ story, with the Darcsen prejudice, the history of the Valkyrias, the relationship between Welkin and Alicia and the Empire’s Maximilian’s quest to conquer Gallia actually had some motivation behind it. So, while Valkyria Revolution’s story is pretty good, it just pales in comparison to the complexity of Valkyria Chronicles’ compelling tale.
As a fan of the original Valkyria Chronicles, I went in Valkyria Revolution with high hopes but they were dashed because it just wasn’t as good and I can’t help compare it to the wondrous experience I had with the first game. Still, I wouldn’t mind if they did make a sequel where they did focus on the positives outlined above… but I do hope SEGA remasters the entire Valkyria Chronicles trilogy first.
Have you played Valkyria Revolution? What did you like about the game? Let me know in the comments section below!