Dark Rose Valkyrie - PS4 Review


Dark Rose Valkyrie manages to straddle that difficult balances between familiar and fresh, introducing new ideas while still remaining approachable to fans of the JRPG genre. There are elements of repetitive grinding here, something I personally have no problem with and genre fans will no doubt enjoy as well. That being said, the pace of Dark Rose Valkyrie is a slow burning one that is unlikely to bring new fans to the JRPG genre.

The world of Dark Rose Valkyrie is a fascinating one. Hardly the first game to give us an alternate take on history, we found our protagonists in the late 1920's in Japan after a catastrophic event changes everything. The Chimera Virus is at the crux of the story, a byproduct from a fallen meteorite that has a terrible impact on humanity. As a result of this incident, the Anti-Chimera Interception Division is formed. They are essentially a specially trained team that has to not only protect the remaining human race from this disease, but the story of Asahi and his companions leads them down a series of adventures that reveal a greater truth about the Chimera Virus and its implications.

All of this makes for a fantastic setting, and it is more than just narrative window dressing. One key component to the virus is how it can impact people in ways that always be obvious. Perhaps the coolest consequence of this is once Asahi realizes that there is a traitor among Asahi's companions. this adds in some ownership over the story via a visual-novel-esque series of sequences that impact the game's ending. The stories on these JRPG titles tend to be rather linear, so this is a fantastic touch that I really enjoyed.


Outside of these interrogation sequences, Dark Rose Valkyrie is mostly comprised of missions that tie the narrative together. Waypoints are found and unlocked along the way as more of the map becomes uncovered over time. Of course, this is also where Dark Rose Valkyrie can become a bit on the grindy side, as missions tend to be highly repetitive after a time. They usually consist of killing lots of specific creatures, or doing 'research' on particular infected enemies. This research often consists of using specific attacks to more or less discover the enemy strengths and weaknesses until you can turn in their profile. There is some monotonous trial and error here that can make battles take longer than you might normally like.

Thankfully the combat is well-designed, taking place in the Tactical Field Battle System where turn order blends with turn-based and real-time combat, with character speed being a major component of who gets to act when. Here you have attacks, combos and arts that allow you to deal damage to enemies in a familiar but still fun combat package. Further strategy is required when assigning formations or figuring out how to best use the TCS system, which is a sort of risk versus reward super attack system that has an impact on your characters - and ties neatly back into the aforementioned interrogation system as well.


Character customization is a big part of Dark Rose Valkyrie's allure, but it is a shame that an interesting setting is wasted on characters who are generally likable, but also very typical. You have a lot of stereotypical characterizations that could have used a few extra twists during their enjoyable but generally predictable backstories. However, even if the characters themselves have a tendency to fall a little flat, the ability to upgrade party members is certainly a welcome one. There are some really deep systems at play here, and I found myself giving a great deal of thought to just how I wanted to upgrade character points and equipment.

These complex systems are rewarding, and they merge nicely with the interrogation storyline as well. However, there is a somewhat potentially steep learning curve here for those who are not familiar with the JRPG genre, and a great deal of text to read as well. Combat is fun, but the missions that give it structure and purpose can become somewhat redundant after a while as well. There is a nice mix of new and shiny that works nicely with established JRPG norms to create an experience that I enjoyed the majority of the time - but probably won't be for everyone.

Game Information

Platform:
PlayStation 4
Developer(s):
Compile Heart
Publisher(s):
Idea Factory
Genre(s):
JRPG
Mode(s):
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
None

Source:
Provided by Publisher




Article by Nick
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