What is Dark Rose Valkyrie?
A Japanese-style role-playing adventure from the folks behind Hyperdimension Neptunia, Fairy Fencer F and Omega Quintet, Dark Rose Valkyrie puts you into the shoes of Asahi Shiramine, the newest commander of an elite fighting squad known as Special Force Valkyrie. Set in an alternate 1920s Japan, where a mysterious virus rampages through the population, turning people into mindless, violent 'Chimera' enemies, you and your squad have been tasked with ensuring the Chimera's eradication. Along the way you'll explore dungeons, battle bosses and smack some Chimera, eventually discovering you have a traitor in your midst - and it's up to you to try and figure out who, before it's too late.
How do you play Dark Rose Valkyrie?
Heavily story driven, and with complex, turn-based battles, Dark Rose Valkyrie is a traditional role playing adventure through and through. After accepting a mission back at base, it's up to you to head out into the maze-like dungeons, rundown cities and sprawling parks in search of your mission objective - generally a particularly powerful 'boss' enemy. Enemies roam each area, and colliding with one triggers a transition into a battle, where you and your companions take it in turns to attack, defend and sling special moves at enemies. Choosing from a list of moves, each attack has a specific 'charge time' associated with it, with weaker moves taking less time to charge up than the stronger, heavier damage-dealing attacks. Balancing the charge time with the respective damage done is a large part of the strategy in Dark Rose Valkyrie.
Outside of battles, the game takes on a much more 'visual novel', interactive story feel, as you get to spend time with your team mates, and build up relationships with them - which can sometimes turn to romance, depending on the character in question. While chatting with them, you'll have a choice of a few different responses in reply, and choosing the correct one will bring the two of you closer, and help you learn more about your companions. Getting to know them is especially important later on too, when it comes to figuring out who the traitor is in your midst. Paying close attention to their responses and figuring out the inconsistencies in what they say will let you uncover the Judas.
How easy is Dark Rose Valkyrie to pick up and play?
While Dark Rose Valkyrie offers a choice of difficulties to play on - easy, hard and very hard - it's more the complex nature of its battle system and the occasional enemy difficulty spikes (enemies that can kill in one hit sometimes rear their heads in early dungeons) that provide most of the complexity here. Complex elemental strengths and weaknesses, combined with individual character variations, and highly customisable and tweakable weapons mean that there's often a lot to think about mid-battle, with many interlocking systems to take into account. Healing spells are initially very weak, while few damage-dealing moves hit more than one enemy in a crowd, meaning that larger mobs of enemies can be problematic in the early days. Destructible clothes, which take damage as your character does, become less good at absorbing damage as they wear down, and while you can repair them, it's a pretty costly endeavour, sometimes leaving you with a choice of either blowing all your cash on fixing and strengthening your uniforms or fighting enemies in your lingerie.
- "Until now, meals for me were about who I was eating with, and how important the conversation was, so I saw the food itself as secondary."
- "Yes. My sister used to compliment my writing when we were little, so I started learning calligraphy as a hobby."
- "Good. Accept the rest of your missions from the Command Room. Report back to me once you've completed them all."
On the whole, Dark Rose Valkyrie sits somewhere in the middle in terms of mature content - there's the odd utterance of words like sh*t and a*shole as well as some violence, occasionally bloody. Players battle with various fantastical beasts, monsters and enemy soldiers using guns, swords and giant fists, accompanied by bright light effects and impact sounds. One cutscene shows a character repeatedly shooting another with a pistol as a pool of blood forms.
Dark Rose Valkyrie also features plenty of what's known as "fan service" - or scantily clad female characters. As your outfits can be destroyed mid battle, you'll often be left fighting in your underwear, complete with close-up shots at the exact moment their clothes break. Obligatory beach and hot spring scenes crop up too, which show the ladies in skimpy swimsuits bending over provocatively or bobbing about naked, with water hiding anything too risque.