I seem to be a little over halfway through Valkyria Revolution, and I can’t think of a way of describing it that doesn’t combine the words “abysmal” and “mediocre” in some way. It’s utterly abysiocre. Painfully mediysmal. My expectations for how the game will squander the promise of the early story are beginning to come true, and while I obviously can’t get into story stuff too much at this point for spoiler reasons, suffice it to say that a scripted tragedy caused me to laugh out loud because of how completely detached from the characters and their stupid dramas I am at this point. Also, the story elements that involve the princess being magical and capable of great things through the power of kindness and love are beginning to ramp up as expected, with the similarly expected result of the story becoming a sparkly after-school special devoid of any creative merit or worthwhile developments that haven’t occurred in a million other anime-styled games. Most of which are better.
This game doesn’t respect your time
Within the first hour of the game, a villain character was killed off. This did an effective job of communicating that the game would be a brutal journey full of moments like this. It isn’t, though—halfway through the game, every enemy I’ve beaten since has run off while swearing revenge like a Scooby-Doo villain, with the narrator occasionally rambling about how I actually lost the fight for some contrived reason. Other games do this too, including many that I adore, but I’ve been playing for a bunch of hours now and nothing has actually been accomplished. The characters don’t even have anything to do for most of this padding, so the cutscenes eventually devolve into characters doing the same things over and over again in overlong cutscenes with long pauses between lines. Almost every conversation has shocked gasps sprinkled throughout (even when the other character has nothing shocking to say or is explaining something they’ve already talked about and that couldn’t possibly be a surprise) for the sake of padding out the cutscene length even further. You occasionally get kicked out of the story back to the narrator and have to select her again to keep playing. There’s a suffocating amount of meaningless fluff.
Including the free missions
I lost some territory and discovered the penalty this carries: some shops carry better stuff if you expand your reach by conquering new areas, but that better stuff stops being available if you lose territory. Thing is, I looked into these shops once early in the game and quickly realized that they were useless. Take the ragnite-seller—her stock has increased over time, but it’s all level 1 stuff far inferior to the stuff found during missions. Other vendors sell crafting materials (presumably for the tailor), but you also find crafting components during missions. That means I was wasting all of my time with free missions to ensure that a bunch of nigh-useless items that I never bothered with remained available. I hate this game so much.
Even the circles suck now
Finding circles and listening in on the weird conversations between characters was amusing at first, but I now recognize that there are a small handful of topics that are covered over and over again. There are multiple conversations about how to increase the business that the tailor receives (because it’s a character’s family business, not because of anything that actually matters to the game), multiple conversations about alcohol, multiple conversations about gossipy romance stuff, and multiple conversations about books. The whole thing comes across as lazy, though it might be more accurate to say that it reeks of someone being burned out creatively and phoning in their portion of the game. Given how much is wrong with Valkyria Revolution, they’d hardly be the only one guilty of that. In fact, I suspect that everyone on the development team received a motivational poster to hang on their wall that says “no one cares, so let’s just get this done with as fast as possible.”
Poorly designed stuff
I’m amassing quite the collection of videos highlighting random “wait, what?”-tier game stupidity. Things like having to capture the same base twice because some reinforcements materialized out of thin air and evidently insta-captured it when they arrived. Things like enemies who are inexplicably invincible when they first show up despite everyone else around them taking damage. Things like the audio becoming a distracting mess of songs playing over each other, or the various missions being weirdly difficult to select on the map. There’s a stunning amount of badness here.
And of course, area design
Don’t think I’ve forgotten about how badly the areas are designed, either. Here’s a video of me running around aimlessly for four and half minutes, running into dead ends and areas that loop back around on themselves before finally finding the enemy I was looking for. Which happens to be building-sized just to rub it in.
I despise this game.