Spinning off into a new era for its Xbox debut
“The empire you are fighting has a badass demigod on its side”
The latest Valkyria game heralds a big change for the series. For one thing, it’s the first Valkyria title to make it onto an Xbox platform. This is good, because it means we won’t have to head to Sega headquarters with Big Spence to smash the place up in retribution for spurning our beloved console. And we were willing to.
The changes run far deeper than that, however. Valkyria Revolution is being positioned as a spin-off, rather than a true sequel, serving as pretext to take things in a new direction. That starts with the setting. Where past games have blended the big swords, foppish hair, and outrageous costumes mandated by JRPG law with a World War II-inspired aesthetic,
Revolution instead blends the big swords, foppish hair and outrageous costumes with a style based on the European Industrial Revolution.
In this universe, we take control of Amleth, a commanding officer in an elite unit fighting for a small nation’s independence from colonial rule. This conflict is made slightly unfair by the fact that the empire you’re fighting against has a Valkyria—one of those badass demigod things that lends the series its name—on its side, but you’ll just have to deal with that. Earning the name When it comes to combat, Revolution again makes a significant change (have you guessed why they called it Revolution yet?). The turn-based battles of old have been replaced with an action-based system that looks like it falls somewhere between final Fantasy post XI and the Dynasty Warrior series in how it handles. It’s not a complete departure from the strategic nature of previous entries, however. The ability to set roles like Offense and Support for your party members, or to use certain spells and determine who they target in battle, will hopefully ensure the game retains a tactical element.
Permadeath makes a return (though not for major characters), which could prove to be a great feature. You can imagine how seeing a beloved comrade—one that you’ve come to love, that’s fought alongside you, whose story you’ve got to know—fall in combat because of a mistake you made could deliver a real emotional gut punch. Of course, whether the game can make us care enough for permadeath to have that kind of impact will depend on the quality of its storytelling and characterization.
We’re not yet sure whether the changes Revolution are making will be for the better. Indeed, we’re concerned that in moving away from its strategic turn-based system, Valkyria could lose what makes the series stand out. Given the quality of previous Valkyria games, though, we’re happy to see whether this new direction has its merits. If not, we’ll be smashing up Sega HQ again.