Valkyria Azure Revolution Review

Been 6 years since the last VC game, Valkyria Chronicles 3 was released on PSP. Now we finally have a new title but despite the Selvaria look-alike in the promotion illustration, it’s only set in the same universe and as the title “Valkyria Revolution” suggests, with the gameplay going through some “revolution”.

Amleth, one of 5 orphans that were rescued from the Ruzhien Empire, are determined to find the ones responsible for burning down their home and took their beloved teacher. Nothing was going to stop them even if it meant driving a country into war. Taking up key positions within Jutland, they form an Anti-Valkyria party and manage to convince the nation to wage war against the empire, using liberation as an excuse.

So, what’s the “Legion” battle system like? Combat is fairly much different from VC as I said earlier. You now control a single character within a 4 member party and have the option of setting up “manifests” to control how your party members will behave during missions. Otherwise, you either cycle through them using the d-pad or, you issue direct orders. It’s actually easier just cycling to the member you want. As with most AI controlled party member games, it’s not very smart… Most of the time they will just stand there or on guard for no reason.

Rather than being limited to how far you can move by a gauge, you can move as far as you want but now for every action you perform, you have to wait for your gauge to refill before you can perform the next one.

There’s very little tactic involved even though it tries to involve some of it like taking cover behind sandbags or corners to ambush the enemy. Most of the time it’s more like a Musou (Warriors) game where you round up enemies into groups before spamming your best special attack. It’s pretty much just run to the boss and throw a few grenades or rockets to tilt the legion bar in your favour. You don’t get the same satisfaction out of timing attacks or using some kind of tactic.

The Musou approach is very much reflected in the way missions are ranked too… Part of the rank depends on how many enemy soldiers you killed. You don’t really need tactics any more and it might have been better if Sega made VR a proper action game than a hybrid turn based action game that works similar to FFXII.

You also fight the same bosses over and over which can make it even more tiresome but having said that, there’s just something satisfying about spamming grenades and winning fights in one move…

As you carry out missions successfully, you gain experience which is pretty much the norm in JRPGs. The weird thing is not much of your stats go up other than your HP and RP (what’s used for Ragnite skills). There is a shop where you can use the raw material you collect from missions to build custom armour but other than that, there’s little way of increasing a characters defence and even then it’s very tiny amounts that makes it feel completely pointless.

There is also a weapon upgrade system where different slots can be unlocked by sacrificing ragnite skill stones you no longer need. Some can be very expensive but it kind of works as you can decide which branch to go through so that your squad members can equip more powerful higher rank skills. It’s pretty much the only thing worth upgrading.

The buffs and attacks you can use can be quite interesting such as a haste buff that speeds up party member’s action gauge. Only the support troop can use this and everyone else must be within range. It’s quite fun running in and out of the ring and suddenly seeing your party members speeding up.

If you were hoping for another game similar to VC, there are some very small similarities – blueprints to develop new gear, characters with good and bad potentials, storybook mode. The storybook mode is quite annoying since you have to re-visit two characters talking about history every new scenario!

Outside the main story based missions, there are also a number of free battles where the Empire can re-take some of the regions you’ve “liberated” which is quite interesting. Just like in missions a gauge shows which side is winning and if you leave the free battles for too long the region ends up being re-taken and you will have access to fewer goods from the stores.

Visually, the new “Goauache” engine is a mixed bag. Environments generally look great and the canvas drawn look from VC has been inherited but the textures look a little flat most of the time.

The worst part is probably the character animations. While VC was very lively, here they look like dolls staring off into space most of the time even when they’re “looking” at each other. Movements are horribly stiff like they’re robots pivoting on the spot before moving off somewhere. In fact, if you look into the distance when a mission starts off, you’ll see a lot of animation skipping…

The same could be said about the cutscenes. There are lots of them but unlike VC, they are very boring and generic (well, until the end)… Not even the few jokes it tries to crack with your niche cast of characters can save them.

If you’re looking for a Valkyria Chronicles experience you’ll be far from it. Maybe a turn based Musou Warriors game… There’s very little quality about Valkyria Revolution so I would highly recommend a price drop before trying this game or just save your money for something else.

Good

  • Interesting region control system that controls what shops have available.
  • Some fun buffs and attacks to use.
  • Running around spamming grenades.

Bad

  • It’s partly a turn based Musou (Dynasty Warriors).
  • Same bosses again and again.
  • Boring battles… Most of the time it’s just spamming the most powerful move.
  • Horribly stiff animation. Characters feel lifeless apart from voices.
  • Lots of long, long, boring cutscenes.

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