Dark Rose Valkyrie is a JRPG with visual novel elements developed by Compile Heart and published by Idea Factory. Alternative history games give developers a chance to explore a particular culture or period in time but with a twist. We’ve seen games like Resistance and Metro explore events in American and European history and Dark Rose Valkyrie follows that concept by exploring an alternate history of Japan in 1929. The game was released in Japan in July 2016, and is set to release in North American and Europe early next month. We’ve selected it as one of our Top 5 RPGs for the month of June, and have put together this preview to take a closer look at the game.
Developed by: Compile Heart
Published by: : Idea Factory
Release date: June 6th NA, June 9th EU
Dark Rose Valkryie Features
- Take the fight into Overdrive: Characters can transform into their stronger split personalities mid-battle, but be strategic – too many transformations will lead to Fatigue.
- Customize Combos: Customize attacks for each character, and do more damage with Riot Combos.
- A Traitor Amongst You: Depending on your choices, one team member will betray you. Find the traitor in visual-novel style interrogation sequences, and change the game’s ending.
- Languages: Enjoy English in-game text as well as English and original Japanese in-game voices.
Story & Setting
The game takes place in an alternative history of Japan in 1929 during which a meteor falls to the earth and begins the spread of a disease called Chimera, which transforms people into deadly and creatures. 3% of the world’s population dies and the infection spreads to many more. You take on the role of Asahi, a member of the Special Force Valkyrie and take up the mantel to eliminate the Chimera threat.
You will assemble a team of special force characters who make use of special weaponry to eliminate the Chimera-infected people, while also making sure that there are no traitors from within your force, as use of the weapons takes a severe mental toll on its wielders.
The Chimera virus infects humans and animals and alters their genetic structure, distorting those infected into monsters. Not simply mindless beasts, the virus also bestows intelligence and strength that far surpasses that of the normal human, despite withering away their humanity.
Dark Rose Valkyrie plays as a traditional JRPG but has several visual novel elements where you will be interviewing other characters to root out traitors within your ranks. The game alternates between these investigative segments and its deep JRPG combat battle system.
Dark Rose’s combat system is called the Tactical Field Battle System in which turn order changes in real time while allies and enemies fight mixed together. Each character’s icon moves up in real time along something called the Tactical Wait Gauge and once it reaches the turn start spot an action can be performed. How fast an icon moves up the gauge is based on the character’s speed.
Combos are the basic attacks of your force which are a series of pre-set attacks. You can chain up to 5 of these combos and once you select them you can alter the attack level for each. Through this you can really deeply customize your play style as you choose your mix of combos and their attack levels. Furthermore you have access to Riot combos which activate special effects that are based on a combination of specific attacks.
Arts are additional powerful attacks that you can use sometimes in concert with other party members which stop the movement of icons in the gauge. They’re more powerful than your standard combos and as a result are tied to AP, limiting how much you can use them. On the flip side you can spend TP points to trigger something called Ignition which increases the strength of the character. This buff is powerful but having it active will accumulate fatigue on your character which will eventually force you to cool down. Once you activate ignition, you can go into overdrive and really unleash the full power of your characters. This speeds up your turn order as well, allowing for more strategic use. This battle system is layered and deep and will take some time to get used to but it seems it can be a rewarding experience as you progress through your abilities.
Your party can take on formations that activate different effects for each character. These effects remain in place until 1 member gets knocked out. Enemies can also take advantage of these formation effects. You can set these formations before battle or spend TP to set them in the middle of an encounter.
The enemies you will encounter have their own mechanics to consider and they also will change in form and strength as darkness sets. They all possess a guard gauge, that when lowered to 0, puts them into a downed state, allowing the execution of a fifth combo. You can also use positioning to your advantage by initiating side attacks from party members and simultaneous attacks where you can team up against a single enemy or take on multiple enemies.
As mentioned, the TCS weapon takes a toll on those who wield it in the form of severe personality issues similar to that cause by Chimerization. Because of this struggle, there is a system in place for members of the Valkyrie Force to be interviewed regularly to spot early signs of the alteration.
As a core part of the gameplay, you will be interviewing members of the force, asking them a variety of questions. The answers you gather will be used to find contradictions within those responses. You will have a limited amount of times you can ask questions during the interview and you will choose who you ask questions of. You may ask all of your questions to one person or can ask several people one question. The system for discovering the traitor is flexible. There may also not be a liar at the moment, adding an extra element of intrigue.
You can have an NPC also assist you with these investigations allowing you to question 3 people at once initially. Eventually you’ll be able to upgrade the amount of investigations and improve their success rate. At times the investigations will fail, but when you do succeed you will be gathering valuable info.
Alternative history and retro-sci-fi fans of games will want to give Dark Rose Valkyrie a look, especially those that are fans of JRPG’s and visual novel elements. The battle system is deep, as is the upgrade system and the intriguing story, setting and unique interview system looks to be just as immersive. Dark Rose Valkryie is the next in a new resurgent wave of JRPGs for the current console generation and is the exact kind of game that can find cult success with western audiences.