Valkyria Revolution

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Valkyria Revolution Game Poster Image
Mature action tosses strategy for repetitive gameplay.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Tries to humanize wartime by having you interact with local villagers between missions as a way to gauge how people feel about your actions. Your squad bickers, fights internally.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Fighting for what you believe in is commendable, but gets into murky territory when characters have to take lives.

Ease of Play

Lots of strategy, even when you're deeply into main campaign, more tutorial messages teaching you further nuances. No way to review older messages on more fundamental, earlier lessons.

Violence

Characters engage in combat missions, use swords, guns, grenades, magic attacks. Some attacks result in small splashes of blood; cut-scenes occasionally show larger splashes of blood when a character is impaled on a sword, slashed. Battles highlighted by realistic gunfire, cries of pain, explosions.

Sex

Lots of sexual innuendo, blatant objectification of women in dialogue. Some female characters wear inappropriately revealing outfits for warfare, with cleavage, underwear exposed when they run. 

Language

Frequent profanity including "s--t," "a--hole"; frequent references to sex, female objectification, metaphors for how warfare is like sexual intercourse.

Consumerism

Spin-off of the Valkyria Chronicles franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several scenes show characters drunk, hung over, talking about drinking alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Valkyria Revolution is an action role-playing game (RPG). The game is a spin-off of the long-running Valkyria Chronicles series. Players control soldiers involved in a conflict between fictional kingdoms. Characters use swords, guns, explosives, and magic to attack enemies. Blood is shown in varying degrees based on the strike that lands, and battles are highlighted by screams, explosions, and gunfire. There's lots of profanity, as well as loads of objectification of women and sexual innuendo. The amount of commentary about women, as well as imagery showing women's cleavage and underwear, can be overwhelming and distracting. Characters are also shown drunk, hung over, or discussing drinking.

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What's it about?

In VALKYRIA CHRONICLES, you play as the forefront brigade deployed to defend a small country called Jutland. This country is economically blockaded by Ruzhein, a powerful empire that expanded its territory and achieved rapid industrial development after discovering the magical mineral Ragnite that's used as an energy resource. Wanting independence from colonial rule, Jutland strikes the base of the empire's army. The supernatural also plays a part here, with ghostly, almost godlike warriors called Valkyria interfering in the war on both sides. The story is all interestingly bookended as happening long ago in the past, with a history teacher mentoring her student on what really happened in the war. 

Is it any good?

While the experience varies depending on your difficulty level, this mature action RPG really gets let down by its repetitive gameplay. It's drastically different from previous games in the series, tossing the turn-based approach in favor of action-based play. On easier difficulty levels, you don't need to be strategic at all: you can hack and slash, cast spells, or do whatever you please to quickly level up. On the harder difficulty levels, you'll need to be more strategic in who you deploy when and why, but there's no getting around the fact that gameplay feels like little more than hacking, slashing, and occasionally retreating. Part of the issue is that the controls don't lend themselves to tactical play. If you choose to sneak, you'll be stuck sneaking for a while before you can attack again. When you choose to attack, you can't defend yourself until that animation is done playing itself out. It prevents you from ever playing with precision.

There's also just a lot of grinding, or replaying older missions or taking on "simpler" ones just so you can invest points in skills that your soldiers have. The deeper you get into the game, the bigger the missions get, so you'll switch between control of multiple teams. But the strategic elements feel shallow here, since the game decides where each team is placed and when you switch to them. You're otherwise "stuck" playing through the path immediately ahead of you, which can get frustrating when you have to clear the area of enemies and you can't find the final one or see where to go. Overall, it's hard to shake the feeling that you're doing the same things over and over again with very little room to deploy much strategy. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about objectification of women in games like Valkyria Revolution. Did there need to be so much commentary about sex, or perceived ideas about women in this game? Why do you think that the developers included this content?

  • Talk about why so much of our popular media fixates on war. From stories about war, what can we learn about how to better conduct ourselves in and as a society? 

  • When history is written by the victors, what blind spots does that create for societies centuries or even just decades later? Why does that matter? 

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