“This is the story of Truth”–Richer
Valkyria : Azure Revolution is the latest entry to the Valkyria series by SEGA. The universe is completely different from Valkyria Chronicles series, so this game stands by itself.
Valkyria : Azure Revolution was released on 19 January 2017 in Japan, and the western release is TBA 2017.
Before we go into an in-depth review of the game, please take a look of the trailer below to get the “feel” of the game.
If you want to try the demo of the game, it’s available on Japanese PSN for free. You can download it and play the whole Prologue Chapter of the game. Okay let’s get into the in-depth review.
The game starts 100 years after the Liberation War between Jutland & Ruzhien Empire. Jutland has turn into a prosperous country and enjoying their peace after the war. Somewhere in Jutland, a Student of Royal Alchemic Academy and his professor is talking in front of the Tombstone of “The Grave Sinners”. The student who has been studying about the Liberation War, found himself wondering whether if the 5 Grave Sinners really committed the crime that is recorded on the history books. He thinks that they are something behind this so called Liberation War, something hidden behind all of the story on the history books. The professor, Richer, who is the descendant of someone close to Princess Ophelia, knows the truth behind the Liberation War and decided to tell her student about it with one condition. “Decide for yourself whether this story should be known by everyone or should it be kept hidden”.And this is how the story starts. A conversation between a professor and her student. Basically we’re going to read something called “The Archives of the Revolution” while Richer connecting the dot between the history and the truth behind it.The Five Grave Sinners : Amulet Glencare, Suleyman Kalenberg, Basil Savanci, Fleet Eriksen, Violet Sand. They are the ones who started the Liberation War for their own “personal gain”, but was it really? These five people used to live together in an orphanage in Morda with their beloved Maria-sensei. Until something happened and several years they decided to take matter into their own hands. Find out the truth behind the Liberation War by playing the game.I personally think that the story is the charm of this game. The story telling is really awesome. I mean the student read The Archives of the Revolution while keep asking her teacher about the plot hole he found on the history books. So unlike Final Fantasy XV, this game has no plot hole because the story telling is really complete. You can see one event from other character’s perspectives as well.
What’s interesting about this game is the story progression. Check the image below.
So you actually read a book, and the story progress by clicking one of the pictures on the book and a cutscene will play out and tell you the story behind it. To tell the truth, the story is good but sometimes the cutscenes are too long. And you’ll get bored by the political talks. But again i must say, the story is the charm of this game.
An 8/10 for the story.
Okay, now i gotta talk about the worst part of the game. In Valkyria : Azure Revolution, the battle system is called “LeGION”, which i must say is like the combination between a Musou / Warriors game and a traditional ATB Based RPG. To make it easier to imagine, let me just show you my demo gameplay video.
Basically this feels like if you are playing Kingdom Hearts with Final Fantasy VII ATB. The game is definitely feels like Dynasty Warriors. You will see the moral of your troop on the top of your display screen. The more you defeat your enemies, your troops morale will increase more and more. A high morale = a faster ATB Gauge. This is definitely annoying because at the start of the mission, you can only run around while waiting for the gauge to fill up. And it’s kind of annoying because it feels like half turn based and half action.
The A.I. System has been improved. You can go to Personal from Main Menu and set Manifest for your party member. This will make them act or move based on the manifests that were set on them. You can check the image below. One characters are made of 4 Potentials (which you can get through Character Event once you used them enough on missions), and 6 manifests slot (You can get manifest from Community Event or finishing Free Missions). For example if you set “Recovery” manifest on Ophelia, she’ll now focus on healing your party member, or “Alchemy Magic” manifest which makes your character focus more on using magic on enemies, etc. This A.I system is kinda similar to what Star Ocean 5 or Tales Series have.
Missions feel repetitive. The Missions are divided into: Story Mission, Free Mission, Offensive Battle, Defensive Battle. All missions basically have the same formula. Defeat all enemies / take over enemy bases / defeat boss. And it’s the same over and over again. The maps are also repetitive. They are using the same kind of Map for different missions. Doing missions other than the Story Mission will totally feels like a chore, especially for grinding, which you will do A LOT so that you can finish some of the story missions and get money to upgrade your Side Arms.
You can upgrade your alchemic weapons on Basil’s factory. You can only upgrade your alchemic weapons using Ragnite that you found on missions. This feels similar to Final Fantasy X Sphere Grid. Check the image below for the Alchemic Weapons Scheme for upgrading.
The gameplay feels really repetitive because of the maps over-usage and repetitive missions. The LeGION system feels like a half done battle system. Action with ATB Gauge is a really weird combination. It’s an active game but passive. The only thing that’s good (at least for me) is the Alchemic Weapon Upgrade part & The Boss Fight which is really interesting. You’ll fight a unique Alchemic Machine or basically robots, and sometime an airship. Those boss fights were intense.
A 7/10 for the gameplay. It could have been better.
Valkyria : Azure Revolution is using their upgraded Canvas engine, called GOUACHE. It’s actually a better version of Canvas, with better coloring. Check the Slide show below to see the actual screenshots of the game.
It looks good, BUT it’s totally not a PS4 graphics. This game suffers on that part because it’s releasing on PlayStation Vita as well, which means the game has to be downgraded on the Development Level so that it can fit on both PlayStation 4 & Vita. In a conversation between characters, it feels like they are yapping around because the mouth movement is not the same as what they are saying. And this game also suffers from a lot of “loading screen”. I understand if they used this for Valkyria Chronicles Remastered, but they could have done something better with this game. The only problem is that this game is not a console exclusive.
Another 7/10 for the Graphics.
Actually the BGMs aren’t bad at all. The original soundtrack has total of 39 BGM tracks that was used on different scenes and times. The only thing that bothers me is that sometimes the BGM that was useMy favorite is this one.
An 8/10 for the Music.
- The Verdict
Valkyria : Azure Revolution is a brand new game that has no relation with Valkyria Chronicles. The basic gameplay has been changed drastically.I think SEGA was taking a risk in the implementation of LeGION system which i personally think is a weird, half-cooked system. Don’t get me wrong, i don’t think that Valkyria : Azure Revolution is a bad game, it just suffers from the “Console / Handheld” things which makes limitation here and there for the game itself. In the end what makes this game interesting is the story. Don’t go into this game to find an immersing gameplay experience, because that’s not what you will be getting.
The Score : 7.5 / 10
This game is nowhere near it’s predecessor. SEGA is gambling a lot on this new approach which is fresh but fail to impress anyone. The story is good enough to keep you interested in the game BUT only if you can get through the first few chapters of the game. This game is nothing more than just a mediocre.
Mr.Layton wrote this review based on his experience in the game, and he finished the game on 70 hours of gameplay. And got the Platinum Trophy on 86 hours gameplay. This review is made based on the japanese version of the game.