Valkyria Revolution: Progress Log #9

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

Missions that force mandatory party members on you are awful. Lots of games (particularly jRPGs) do something of the sort, but it’s typically pretty rare. Valkyria Revolution keeps sticking me with random party members, though, even when they have absolutely no reason to be present. I recently went through a timed bomb disposal mission—and let’s be real, timed missions are already scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as content is concerned—where a random unit with tons of weaknesses was forced on me. He wasn’t needed to disarm the bombs because any class can do so, and my preferred team already had a character of the same class who I’d actually invested some points into (I’ll get into upgrading further down). He didn’t even show up in any of the cutscenes. It was completely random and unnecessary, and since I hadn’t used him more than once or twice, I had forgotten to set any priorities telling him what to focus on. Priorities certainly don’t make a huge difference, but you know what? Telling characters what to do helps to keep them from doing things you don’t want them to do, such as wasting all of their incredibly rare sniper ammo on non-essential enemies for no reason. Ugh.

I don’t understand Ragnite in this game

Ragnite is magical blue glowy stuff that was such a weak point for tanks in Valkyria Chronicles that even a scout could conceivably take them out. In Revolution, it merely does slightly more damage than usual. It’s also the cornerstone of this game’s magic system; you earn ragnite from beating enemies in stages (and can also buy low-level variants), and these function both as spells and the currency you use to level up various characters’ upgrade trees. Depending on the node upgraded, this can either boost their stats (though only slightly) or raise their competency at fire/wind/water/earth magic so that they can slowly start to equip better ragnite.

That’s the part that makes total sense. Also functional is how you have ragnite points that function as MP during missions, and using ragnite depletes the pool. The magic system here has the potential to be a lot of fun. It really isn’t, though—stronger ragnite doesn’t seem to be all that much stronger, so I rarely feel the need to actually equip it; when you compare a level 1 piece of ragnite to a level 16 variant, the stat boosts are always incredibly subtle. That’d be fine, but the damage and MP cost don’t make a lick of sense, either—some spells cost twice as much despite their listed “power” being significantly less. On the other hand, some of these spells hit enemies multiple times. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to know what a new piece of ragnite actually does apart from using it, and that’d require a truly tedious amount of trial and error to gain only the slightest edge in combat. It’s not worth it.

I hate the princess so much

She’s not the only person I hate (Maxim is the worst, constantly going “whine whine, you’re conquerors and not saviors, but no one’s as good at conquering as the emperor and that’s why we’re besties despite that being a giant, insufferable double standard!”), but she’s definitely up there. Nothing in this game makes any sense because of her—we can run around a level killing 60 dudes, but the second Amulet goes after their leader she has a fit. Apparently it’s only okay to murder people so long as you’re not angry or looking for revenge when you perform the killing blow, because reasons. Whatever the case, it’s dumb beyond reason or logic, and all of this contrived drama shoveled into every scene has already destroyed the game’s early promise. Right now this is a game without a single redeeming element.

Some more videos

I managed to get some video of some things mentioned in previous logs. First, a video of the low-quality animation you get when sniping from far away. Second, the way the icon that shows your attack will hit lies (although I brought it up to point out that sometimes you can damage enemies when the icon isn’t present, the opposite is also true). For reference, that exact attack has worked against enemies hidden in cover dozens of times before, so it’s not a limitation of the special move.

And even more videos!

I don’t want to spam too many videos in a row, so here’s another small batch of rage-inducing incompetence. The first video is of my trust in sniper rifles being shattered by an invisible wall blocking a headshot on a tank operator. Or maybe the round went through the enemy? Either way, this is exactly why I was so unsure about locational damage before. The second video is also of something I mentioned awhile back, that being how easy it is to get stuck in enemies. It may not last long in the video, but that’s often long enough to get caught up in an attack.

A flying boss is a middle finger

Valkyria Revolution is almost exclusively melee-based, with guns and rocket launchers having strict ammo limitations. Picture, then, how much fun it is to fight a damage sponge boss in a large aircraft who only comes down within melee range to drop off a new batch of damage sponge footsoldiers. This is the most pissed off the game has made me thus far; allies are too stupid to stay alive when controlled by the computer, and I had expended all my ranged ammo before the boss lost even 50% of its health bar. Its weak points proved incredibly tricky to hit, and despite an area showing up as “target,” shooting at it did almost no damage (I don’t know if that’s a problem with the hit detection, awful aiming, or something else). Basically, this fight was 10-20 minutes of running around and reviving my idiot allies between trying to clear out the infinite swarms of soldiers and catch the ship low enough to attack.

You can’t aim too far up

Here’s a fun little complication that made this boss fight especially wonderful: you can only aim so far up, so I would sometimes try to aim at the weak parts, only for the game to arbitrarily go “nope!” and stop the cursor halfway there. That meant that I had to exit out of the menu, quickly roll back to get some distance, then hope that I could actually reach the target. It’s trash like Valkyria Revolution that makes me wish that I wasn’t so stubborn about beating games before reviewing them.

That’s not even getting into the camera freaking out because of the awful lock-on system (a problem throughout the game with bigger enemies) or the way the ship’s engines kept regenerating after I’d destroy them for some reason. Or the fact that I could only record the last 5 minutes of a fight that lasted three times that long. Or the way ragnite never tells you if it’s long-range or not, so you end up stuck using short-range special attacks against a plane. This fight is just a mess in every conceivable way, highlighting all of the game’s worst problems at once.

Wasting your time

I want you to understand two things about the video below. The first is that a single loading screen sometimes isn’t enough to load the necessary assets, so the “loading” icon will sometimes fade out, only to immediately fade back in as you get a second loading screen chained onto the first. I only captured the first double loading screen in the video, but it happened both going in and out of the short clip for a total of 4 loading screens. The second thing I want you to understand is that all of this was for the purpose of including narration that spells out the mission, something that had already been more than adequately covered by that point. It’s meaningless and short, but wastes a fairly significant chunk of time with loading screens, and this is what the game is like: stupid distractions that say nothing important, but that waste your time by forcing you to wait through multiple loading screens anyway.

And since you never know where the actual plot developments will occur and you only have the option to skip entire scenes, you have to watch it all.

[Click here to go to Valkyria Revolution log #8]
[Click here to go to Valkyria Revolution log #10]

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