Dark Rose Valkyrie reminds us of Valkyrie Profile in terms of its cosmetic appeal, but with less emphasis on the very tactical approach and more on generating big damage from chain attacks. Formations can be utilized to create beneficial takedowns for enemies, while swapping out team members for certain Chimera you run into can prove worthy in the long run. If you love a good story along with your run of the mill JRPG style gameplay, then we certainly suggest giving Dark Rose Valkyrie a go. It’s not perfect by any means but for what it offers, it doesn’t disappoint and keeps you coming back for more.
What to Expect
As with any JRPG, Dark Rose Valkyrie will take you quite some time to finish but in the end that’s what all JRPGs are meant to do anyway. While much of the game is traditionally linear, there are some open world-esque type situations that allow you to roam around and defeat enemies, while collecting rare items along the way. In the end it’s a very point A to point B type of game where, much of your time will be spent going from the commander’s room for your missions then being deployed to the designated area to complete missions. There’s plenty of dialogue to sit through which is nice because it helps to develop a strong narrative, and gives you more backstory as to how the Chimera came into existence. The tutorial within Dark Rose Valkyrie is incredibly helpful and doesn’t shy away from the extra details that become more necessary down the road. Battles can be slow and meticulous or fast and furious depending on your playstyle, but more or less Dark Rose Valkyrie moves at a steady pace that doesn’t grow boring or drags on for too long. Will you be able to find the traitor in your team? Keep playing and you'll see just how the game changes right before your eyes.
The story takes place in an alternate history version of Japan in the year 1929, and the Valkyrie Force must investigate a fallen meteorite known as the “Black Garnet”. It caused a widespread pandemic and people started contracting the disease which turned them into Chimera. Due to this severe outbreak many have perished and much of the world is left in terror, as these Chimera will stop at nothing to ensure mankind is wiped out. It is up to Asahi, the main protagonist of the game and the leader of the Special Force Valkyrie, to lead his team to victory and eradicate the Chimera before the virus spreads far beyond their reach.
Dark Rose Valkyrie is neither hard nor too easy; it simply feels like your typical JRPG with an intriguing story that creates a satisfying experience. The game takes you through various features that are exclusive to the game, one of which is being able to create new types of suits that act as your armor and by collecting items you’ll be able to strengthen it overtime. It shares the same resemblance in terms of let’s say upgrading armor, but instead of armor it’s merely just the suit that you wear in battle. Characters can suffer from fatigue during a battle and that can actually have a long term impact if you don’t look after them right away. One of those long term ailments can be something like low attack power or poor defense due to slow movement, so always being constantly aware of your teammates is imperative.
Early on in the game the battles don’t really put any sort of pressure on you, but as you progress deeper into the game’s story a lot more enemies start to pop up and start to cause a lot of problems. As with any JRPG it should come as a given that there are times when things feel a little rigid. We don’t mean so much in the gameplay but more so in the animation of the characters not only during battle but outside of it as well. One example is when you’re controlling Asahi and are running around the town to find the next destination. We, often time, ran into framerate issues where things would randomly slow down, or that when Asahi ran around it felt like he had a programmed way of movement which felt robotic. It wasn’t very fluid in that regard and so there were moments when we wanted to avoid a battle, but because of his animation we sometimes ran into random objects. Speaking of random objects, there are lots of them around in the game, many of which come with items you can use to develop better equipment as we stated earlier. These objects come in the form of orbs or diamond shaped orbs, but depending on your character’s level some of these orbs can or can’t be collected. If you can’t collect them the map will leave a marker for you to indicate where it is the next time you return, which we thought was pretty cool.
One plaguing issue however, and this is quite predominant in JRPGs, is the invisible wall syndrome. There have been so many occasions where we would run to an area thinking it was ok to travel to, only for the invisible wall to block us off. This very dated feature is honestly what cripples JRPGs quite frequently and sadly it does the same for Dark Rose Valkyrie. In a time where companies are now creating open world titles which allow players for more versatility and exploration, Idea Factory and Compile Heart seem to be one step behind on all of this. Ironic we say this considering how their name speaks of ideas being manufactured and yet their method of approach is still archaic. The concept of Dark Rose Valkyrie really works and we totally enjoyed playing through the story, but the gameplay runs into that pattern of sameness which starts to become noticeable even during battles.
We did say earlier that battles become more challenging and indeed they do, but once you start to hone in on enemy patterns it becomes a little easier to determine how to effectively attack and deal big damage without taking much for yourself. Towards the end of the game you’re not sure whether to feel gratified for your hard work or just brush it off and move onto another game. When we finished playing everything it gave us a subtle feeling of reward but not to the degree of “Wow, this was incredible I grinded my way through and survived”. It was more of “Nice, I cleared the game..What else can I play now?” Perhaps what we’re trying to say is that, once you’ve dabbled with Dark Rose Valkyrie there’s no real incentive to go back. The story is what really carries you through the entire experience, but once you’ve reached the end of the ride there’s no real excitement to go at it again.
It’s like that one rollercoaster ride you were so excited to ride as a child, and you finally get your chance to ride on it. The experience was enough to get you pumped but not enough to convince you to try it again. A little quickie and you wander off to find something else to savour. To stress once again, we’re not saying Dark Rose Valkyrie is a terrible game because it’s far from that. It’s just that the dated mechanics are what take the fun away once you get closer to the end of it all, because it’s something you’ve already experienced in past JRPGs. There’s nothing groundbreaking or absolutely mind blowing to make you sit there and say “My goodness this is brilliant,” it’s like your mom making you that same old sandwich and sticking it into your lunch box every morning, you know what to expect. So for the 20-30 plus hours we put into the game, it was certainly fun while it lasted. Getting to destroy every Chimera in our path was nice and having the Japanese voice acting was a plus as well.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
So overall, Dark Rose Valkyrie was a pleasing experience that once completed no longer has any merit in replaying it again. Of course if you want to collect everything in the game and master the battle mechanics then sure, go right ahead. There will definitely be hardcore fans of the game and they’ll certainly come up with ways to make it entertaining, however for the many of us who have been spoiled by the many upgrades other established companies have implemented in others JRPGs, it may not cut it. So yes Dark Rose Valkyrie is worth the ride, but only just one and it’s time to pack up and go home.
Cool visuals in battles.
Japanese voicing is always a plus.
Great story and easy to read dialogue.
Same old JRPG mechanics that haven’t changed in ages.
Rigid character movement.
Rigid camera movement.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope you found our review of Dark Rose Valkyrie to be informative and made your decision to purchase a little easier. We’d like to point out that there are a lot of features in the game we didn’t speak of, but that’s because we don’t want to spoil the experience for you and would much rather you dive in yourself to try. That and there’s a lot to explain in great detail which would end up being like 4 extra pages. Let us know your thoughts below and of course be sure to follow us on Twitter and Twitch to know when we go live on Honey’s Gaming! We’ll always stream the latest titles out in the scene, but from time to time we love to dig into our retro vault to relive our childhood memories. Come check us out!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!