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Valkyria Revolution Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . The real sin here is that Revolution has somehow manages to make the world of Valkyria feel boring and bland. This is a spin-off that takes the worst elements from the flagship series and mashes them together with simplistic gameplay, repetitive levels, annoying characters and predictable plot twists you can't help but see coming. The result is a monotonous slog that never quite comes together. As both a spin-off and an action game, Valkyria Revolution is a major disappointment. Rating: 50%
Valkyria Revolution
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  • Review Score:

  • C
The tricky part about creating a spin-off is that you have to capture what people loved about the characters and world of the original games, all while coming up with something that is able to stand on its own. Sega has had a mixed record when it comes to spinning off their greatest franchises. For every Typing of the Dead we get a Virtua Quest and Shadow the Hedgehog, games that seemingly have no clue what made the originals so popular. Valkyria Revolution is Sega's newest stab at spinning-off a long-running franchise, and while it's nowhere as bad as Sonic Shuffle, it's also lacking a lot of what I loved about Valkyria Chronciles.

For those that missed out on the original game, it's a mix of fast-paced third-person shooting and the careful planning of a strategy role-playing game. It involves a school full of soldiers and a brutal war between the East Europan Imperial Alliance and the Atlantic Federation in the west. I loved the first two games and was incredibly excited to expand the Valkyria mythology with this brand new spin-off. Unfortunately, Revolution is a bit of a disappointment.


What we have here is an action game that tells the story of a feud between the small country of Jutland and the powerful Ruzi Empire. Told entirely through flashbacks, we discover that a group of five friends may have been responsible for causing one of history's nastiest wars. We see their revenge-fueled melodrama play out through the eyes of Amleth, who works as a double-agent with the Jutland Kingdom and leads the charge against the Ruzi Empire.

Amleth is backed up by a cast of young soldiers with strong personalities. There's the naive princess who desperately wants to be on the front lines, the straight-laced leader of the royal guard who is honest and unwavering in his devotion to his king and country, and the stern school teacher who is making a great sacrifices to save her children. It's a diverse cast that simultaneously feels different yet similar to the previous school-based Valkyria games.

Sadly, this is where the similarities end. Revolution ditches the turn-based combat for a more straight-forward hack-and-slash brawler that is a lot closer to Dynasty Warriors than Final Fantasy Tactics. While there are never hundreds of enemies on screen at the same time, you'll still run through large areas fighting clumps of easy enemies in an attempt to reclaim bases and take on bosses. This is a game that throws the careful planning out the window in favor of repeatedly hitting the "X" button until everybody dies.

You'll go into most levels with a squad of up to four characters you can switch between at any time. Every character has their own combo, secondary attack and magical ability, which gives you incentive to jump around and see which one you like the most. There are twelve different characters to choose from overall, so this is a big cast full of a lot of different possible combinations.

Valkyria Revolution (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Once you've settled on your ideal squad, you'll send them out to take on both story missions and side quests. For the most part, every quest plays out exactly the same way. You fight the clone army, kill a few commanders, deal with the reinforcements, take over a base and then rinse, repeat. Occasionally you'll have to fight a massive boss at the end, but usually it's just tanks and guards.

Although Valkyria Revolution is on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it often feels like it started its life as a PS Vita game. For a story that revolves around an epic war, this game feels surprisingly small in scope. You'll end up playing the same stages repeatedly and having a sense of deva vu as the story plows familiar ground. It doesn't help that every level is filled with the exact same enemies, including major bosses that are reused an obscene amount of times. I could never shake the feeling that this was scaled back to be on a handheld and then got a last-minute console port.

Of course, the reason Valkyria Revolution disappoints has little to do with the way it reuses enemies and locations, but rather it's the mind-numbingly boring combat and lengthy cinemas that dredge up one cliche story beat after another. To put it politely, this is an easy game. With several computer-controlled friends by your side and a sword with great range, you won't take much damage or have to play strategically. In fact, most of the time you can just mash the same button and watch the same three-hit combo hundreds if not thousands of times.

For what it's worth, you can break up the button mashing by pausing the action and using a secondary attack, casting some sort of magic or throwing a grenade. In theory, this should be the thing that bridges Revolution with the more thoughtful turn-based Chronicles, but all it does is break up the flow of the action and feel tacked on. It would have been better to map these secondary attacks to different buttons on the controller, pulling up a menu each time isn't ideal.

Valkyria Revolution (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

And that's kind of the problem throughout Valkyria Revolution. You'll occasionally see hints of great ideas, but they are almost always mishandled to the point of being useless. Early on, the game talks about how the city and its inhabitants will grow and evolve around your wins and losses, a cool idea that feels like it's tossed out immediately. In fact, the city itself is basically one city block, a bar and a cemetery. There isn't all that much to do or see here and it never felt like my actions were impacting the world around me.

It's also worth pointing out that Valkyria Revolution is one of those games where the gameplay often takes a backseat to the lengthy cinemas. And it's not just one long cinema, but three or four in a row, each separated by loading screens. You'll spend a half hour listening to the cast repeat the same thought again and again until eventually a fight starts. It's maddening at times, thanks in large part to characters who don't act like real people but rather made-up anime cliches. I know this will resonate with other gamers, but I found a lot of the story to be insufferable, to the point where I just wanted to start mashing buttons again.

That said, there are things I genuinely like about Valkyria Revolution. There are a few characters that seem to have a bit of an arc, villains with real depth and an art style that reminds me of how much I loved Valkyria Chronicles. I like how music and singing plays a big part on the lore and hoped they would play up that angle a little more. I also think some of the major bosses are pretty spectacular, even if they devolve into little more than button mashing. There's a lot here that hints at a much better spin-off.

The real sin here is that Revolution has somehow manages to make the world of Valkyria feel boring and bland. This is a spin-off that takes the worst elements from the flagship series and mashes them together with simplistic gameplay, repetitive levels, annoying characters and predictable plot twists you can't help but see coming. The result is a monotonous slog that never quite comes together. As both a spin-off and an action game, Valkyria Revolution is a major disappointment.
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