A third progress log? But no one ever said there would be more than one! Whine whine whine, mope mope mope. In case you can’t tell, this is a totally natural way of bringing up the fact that Valkyria Revolution is currently embracing contrived drama over the dumbest possible things. One mission was to take over an area and then allow the enemy to flee, but the other members of my squad began to complain and act like it was some huge secret as the enemies actually fled. I guess I’m having trouble telling what the main character knows and what he’s keeping secret. It’s weird that there would be a mission briefing and then everyone would randomly be surprised or concerned after the fact. Were they not there for the briefing? It happened in the room they were sitting in. Still, there’s something weirdly entertaining about the story right now, though I’ve admittedly played Final Fantasy 8 so many times that I’ve become completely numbed to the kind of introverted, dramatic-ellipses protagonist Valkyria Revolution employs.
Now even the cutscenes have loading screens
Princess Weirdface was giving a weird speech to her people (seriously—she says incredibly strange things), then suddenly started singing. Right now I suspect that this ties into something later down the line, but it seemed to come out of nowhere at the time. That wasn’t even the most random thing that happened in this cutscene, either. Halfway in, a black loading screen appeared while her song continued to play in the background. This wasn’t a scene transition or anything; the visuals soon came back and the scene continued like nothing had ever happened.
You can only skip whole cutscenes
A lot of modern games that do cutscenes in-engine will allow you to skip lines of dialogue in case you can read faster than the voice actors can speak. I didn’t realize how much I took this feature for granted until Valkyria Revolution’s long cutscenes that only allow you to skip entire scenes. That means you have to sit through every dramatic expression that goes on for several seconds too long. Every random tangent that suffocates actual plot developments. Every character whose voice actors insist on speaking with the urgency of a vat of molasses.
Which is why circles are fun
After missions, there seems to be a random chance of your units being together in the same place, triggering a “circle.” This is basically an event where they’ll have a conversation you can listen in on, and at the end you unlock a “priority.” I don’t know what priorities are—there’s no way to make that not sound like a confession—because they haven’t been explored by the game’s neverending stream of tutorial prompts, but I’m working under the assumption that they’re good. They’re also named strange things. For example, there was a circle that was all the guys having a night out, and it unlocked a priority called “foot fetish.” So that’s a thing.
The good thing about circles is that the dialogue in them isn’t voice acted, so you can skip ahead to the next line at will. The dialogue is also far more amusing without it being filtered through the slow, hammy voice acting many characters suffer from.
Grinding out missions
The game has things called “free” missions that you can do to grind your characters’ levels up a bit. Not only that, but after doing one, units had moved around in the small hub areas and ended up unlocking a new circle, so I suppose those can be grinded out, as well. They also apparently unlock larger-scale events called “tactical missions,” the results of which can affect who controls certain territories. If you don’t play through free missions, enemies allegedly have a chance to take over territory on their own. Having territory supposedly makes things easier for the main army forces, but you play as a small elite unit, so I’m not sure what that actually affects. Story branches? Multiple endings? Nothing at all? There’s no way of knowing.
Let’s talk about breasts
One of the traitors is a spy who seduces enemies to learn their secrets, and her design falls in a weird place between the art style of most characters and the hyper-anime style of Princess Weirdface. More to the point, this one cutscene played and it suddenly looked like she had gotten a breast implant from a doctor who was suffering from the shakes at the time. It just… doesn’t look right.
I’m not entirely convinced that she’s not an alien. That could legitimately be a possibility given how the game is setting up Death as an actual character. Like, a living (which is hypocritical, when you think about it) manifestation of the concept of death. That’s how they’ve been presented thus far, at least.
That’s not how you pronounce Maxim
There’s a character named Maxim in this game, and everyone insists on pronouncing his name Max-EEM. Far be it from me to tell the game how its characters’ names are actually pronounced, but really—it’s Max-him, and the way Valkyria Revolution insists on pronouncing his name is sick and wrong.
Speaking of Maxim, here’s a 17-second black screen that separates two of his cutscenes, because that’s a fun new thing that’s been happening.