In the last progress log, I brought up that there were only three ways the game could end: a flurry of cutscenes, the story being left unexplained, or a deus ex machina that magically fixes everything. As it turns out, all three ended up being the case—a deus ex machina magically fixes everything and is left unexplained (same with the Valkyria, which you’d think would be a priority in a game with “Valkyria” in the title), and then a ton of cutscenes wrap up the story of the five traitors. In fairness, the traitors’ story was handled decently enough at the end, but this small spark of promise was ultimately suffocated by dozens upon dozens of hours of completely meaningless content that served only to distract and pad the whole thing out. This game is 30 minutes of content stretched across dozens upon dozens of hours.
The worst is saved for last
The last progress log started off by complaining about a 5-minute fight of slowly chipping away health. Very tedious and uninteresting. I really should have held out on that particular observation, though, because the final chapter gets so much worse about wasting your time. Five times worse, to be more specific:
Yet again, the content prior to the boss fight involved running (well, rolling) my way past entire groups of enemies and couldn’t have taken longer than a minute or two, so that’s 23 and a half minutes of slowly chipping away at a health bar, running out of MP-restoring items and doing virtually no damage with the normal attacks that hit only rarely because he spends the entire fight warping around unpredictably. This is indefensible. Everyone involved in this game should be ashamed.
Grinding is mandatory
The end-game missions are around level 60, but my characters went into them only around level 45 or so. That ensured that enemies were especially spongey, but better that than having to play this game any longer. There’s this section where a bunch of things happen back to back, however, and almost everything that sucks about the game is used. Mandatory party members being foisted on you and screwing up your party? Check. Slow cutscenes that go nowhere and waste 10 second chunks on dramatic stares and shocked gasps that serve no purpose whatsoever? Check. Unclear game mechanics that come out of nowhere? But of course! Oh right, I haven’t even covered how the game randomly changes the rules for late-game boss fights. See, depleting these bosses’ health bars entirely doesn’t kill them. Instead, you have to destroy all the parts of their “tanks” (considering one is literally a giant mech, I use that term loosely), and within a certain time period. If too much time passes, they restore a huge chunk of their life bar and you have to start over again. It never tells you this. You have to figure it out amid the chaos of battle, and good luck figuring out what’s happening in the middle of this:
I’ve watched that clip over and over again and still don’t know what killed me. It’s not the giant feet, because those have stepped on me before and the one I was next to didn’t even move. Really, it can’t be anything near just me since it affected the entire group, taking us all from max health to instant death in a matter of seconds (and the game takes all control away from you when it happens, so you can’t escape). That’s not even the only cheap thing about this fight; there are also reinforcements that shoot spheres at you that can easily kill party members, forcing you to run around and get rid of them. Thing is, these can be respawned the second you finish off the last of them, and I’ve had this happen three times in a row. And remember, time spent fighting them is time not attacking the boss itself. Is a specific robot part responsible for summoning them? As with so much else, it’s impossible to tell.
Every death was a slog
That thing killed me something like four times before I realized that being underleveled meant that I simply wasn’t doing enough damage to kill it before it healed itself back up or randomly killed my entire party. It’s worth mentioning that each death sent me back to the beginning of the mission, too. Not the fight, mind you, but the mission, meaning slowly chipping away at two tanks (fighting one of them with a mandatory “B-team” of characters unused up to that point, something that makes the fight go so much slower) and fighting three arenas full of “elite” damage sponge enemies. Even that’s only if you run through the levels without engaging a single non-mandatory enemy. It takes a long, long time, and there are several cutscenes that have to be skipped through that further lengthen the process. It takes like 5-10 minutes to get back to the boss fight even if you rush.
I switched to easy for my sanity
Consider this fight in the context of everything else wrong with the game: I had no idea why the boss didn’t die even after taking out its entire life bar, experimentation leading to failure meant playing through the same lengthy section with two parties and skipping through cutscenes (it doesn’t help any that ragnite and priorities are worded vaguely and rarely give you the slightest clue of what they actually do), and at any point in the fight I could be insta-killed by something I couldn’t see and that hit me for 20 times as much health as I had at max. I was seething at this point.
All of the reinforcements were really only a problem because the fight dragged on so long that there’d be waves of them shooting tons of bullets around the arena, so I figured there were only two realistic options for getting through this part. The first was to go back and grind free missions until my characters became powerful enough to get past the game’s time limit for finishing off the boss’ parts. The second was to set the game on easy which basically accomplishes the same thing without the need for grinding (because damage dealt increases and damage taken decreases). Needless to say, I was so sick of playing this piece of garbage that I swallowed my pride and set it to easy. I’m confident that I could have finished the final boss fight on the normal difficulty, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve already uninstalled the game out of sheer disgust. This is something I’m never, ever going to play again.
And why bother?
In the final fight, I attacked the Valkyria only to have my special attack miss. It does that sometimes on the second and third swings as Amulet awkwardly shuffles forward past the enemy and valiantly attacks the air, but this was different—she simply couldn’t be damaged at that time despite there being no reasonable justification for it. This kind of random inconsistency plagues the entire game, and an earlier fight against Maxim was similarly frustrating. In it, I shot him with a sniper rifle in the head. Several shots did minor damage as though I had hit him in the torso. Other times, the shots were blocked despite him not actually blocking. Double other times, the “you dun good” blue numbers showed up to indicate that I was doing additional headshot damage. How can you possibly be expected to get a handle on what works and what doesn’t in the face of such abject randomness?
Yet more padding
There are so many other awful things I could point out, but I’m tired and it’s probably best to save the barrage of badness for the game’s review. Instead, here’s an oldie but a goodie that this game suffers from throughout its however many hours: the game wasting your time for absolutely no reason. I feel this clip sums up Valkyria Revolution perfectly. In it, Princess Weirdface does the shocked gasp that every character randomly injects into conversations, while Amulet stares at her for several seconds too long. This may only be a handful of seconds of wasted time, but these small handfuls add up over countless cutscenes, several of which include two or more gasps or dramatic pauses and lead directly into long loading screens.
Sayonara, Valkyria Revolution. You sucked at literally everything.