When players think of Compile Heart and Idea Factory titles, the first series that comes to mind is the Neptunia series. This time around we see a new tile, Dark Rose Valkyrie, with characters designed by the one and only Kosuke Fujishima and story written by Takumi Mayjima. Two veterans who have worked on many of the Tales series.
The story takes place in Japan during 1929 where a meteorite has fallen and started to spread a disease called “Chimera” which turns people into monsters. Players take control of Asahi who is a “male” a member of “Special Force Valkyrie”. Special Force Valkyrie is a group, which is mainly recruits of females, who are ordered to take out the Chimera infected people to stop the virus from spreading. This is important because its part of the main story plot.
The story was very engaging as players see who Asahi interacts with each character in the main base with its visual novel approach. It might not be a story a lot of new JRPG players will enjoy, but veteran players will feel right at home as the story unfolds. During my time with the title, I never was left wondering why the scenarios happen and really enjoyed how it never fall apart from beginning to end.
The voice acting drifts away from the usual quirky goofy story line that Compile Heart and Idea Factory is known for and is spot on for each character. As for the soundtrack, it was uplifting at points in the main base and during battles the music had me ready to get the Chimera infection out of my way. Honestly, the music was my favorite part of the JRPG as a whole, as it will have players fall into the nostalgic style of JRPG soundtracks with original background music. As for the sound effects, they got rather dull and repetitive through out my battles. You can only hear the same attack sounds for each character so many times until you ask yourself, WHY!
The graphics of Dark Rose Valkyrie look dated, or that they should be on a portable for what it presents. They were very blocky and reminded me of the early PS3 or even PS2 era. I would have liked to see a little more work on the models, but they stood up to what the story and anime-look the game gave out. As for the particle effects from the battles though, they were flashy, and what to expect from any JRPG.
New players will probably be turned off from this, but for JRPG fans, graphics aren’t everything. They never turned me off from what was going on. One thing to point out though, is that the level design and model designs were a perfect fight for the game, as you spend most of your time in maps exploring from point A to B to unfold the story.
Dark Rose Valkyrie’s play style differs from most JRPG’s. When first entering a battle players might think this title is a traditional turn base battle system, which it sort of is, but with a combo system. Each character has a specific weapon and moves sets that you can combine with other character attacks. This was one of the best parts of Dark Rose Valkyrie, but it eventually falls flat and becomes very repetitive.
Each attack is set to each button on the dualshock 4, and depending on which attack is used, it will cost a different amount of time for that character to be able to attack on the next turn. This is where the combo system takes place. While you pick an attack you have to strategize which attack to use to get rid of the infected, and take them out with ease. I say “ease” because for a while you will feel over-powered, until you make your way further in the game where it actually gets a bit harder, but you will still be doing the same attacks throughout the game.
The maps are another part that lacks in the title, as they feel empty most of the time. Players will find themselves running through maps with no enemies for the most part, and will be wondering why. The main maps look awesome but then you hit the overworld, where the game looks very old graphically, and even more empty.
Dark Rose Valkyrie isn’t for newcomers, but rather JRPG veterans. Veterans can look past most of the graphics, and find enjoyment out of this title, but it won’t leave a lasting impression. As for me, I enjoyed the title, but would recommend it as a pick up in between bigger JRPG’s. It made me really sad as I had high hopes for the title after I first saw it in action during the Idea Factory press event. The most enjoyment is mainly the story and the audio out of everything.