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Hands-on

PC Port Impressions: Dark Rose Valkyrie

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It’s only been a month sin­ce we play­ed the last Com­pi­le Heart release on PC, Cyber­di­men­si­on Nep­tu­nia, but here we are with the port of Dark Rose Val­ky­rie. Having alrea­dy dis­lik­ed Ome­ga Quin­tet, ano­t­her PS4 JRPG by Com­pi­le Heart brought to the PC late last year, we didn’t have high hopes for this latest port. After play­ing through the game for around 5 hours, I’m honest­ly sho­cked by just how poor a sta­te it has been released in.

The PC port

This had ori­gi­nal­ly been inten­ded to be a full review of Dark Rose Val­ky­rie. Sure, the game’s sto­ry and game­play aren’t exac­t­ly gre­at, but this is some­thing that we expec­ted. What we didn’t expect howe­ver is how bad­ly the game per­forms at all times. Tho­se that have play­ed pre­vious Com­pi­le Heart releases on PC have likely come to expect some tech­ni­cal issu­es here and the­re, but Dark Rose Val­ky­rie is by far the worst port yet from a tech­ni­cal stand­point.

The game’s issu­es are appa­rent after the ope­ning cuts­ce­nes have finis­hed, and you are thrust into batt­le for the first time. Even with only a hand­ful of cha­rac­ters on the screen at once, the frame­ra­te is alrea­dy wild­ly incon­sis­tent. Every sin­gle batt­le con­tains stut­te­ring, some­thing that only gets wor­se once lar­ger groups of enemies start sho­wing up. Stut­te­ring is also pre­sent in the field and is espe­ci­al­ly noti­ce­ab­le when loa­ding into an area. The frame­ra­te drops to sub 20 FPS for a good few seconds befo­re some­what level­ling out, though it never reaches 60 even in less detail­ed are­as.

If frame­ra­te issu­es were the only pro­blem then Dark Rose Val­ky­rie would at least be play­a­ble. Howe­ver, during our meag­re 5 hours with the game we encoun­te­red 3 dif­fe­rent cras­hes. For a JRPG that doesn’t allow you to save any­whe­re, this is a mas­si­ve pro­blem. We thank­ful­ly only lost a rela­tively small amount of pro­gress over­all, but kno­wing the game could crash at any point real­ly takes away the litt­le enjoy­ment we had left play­ing Dark Rose Val­ky­rie. Will the­se issu­es be fixed? The fact that the game was released in this sta­te, along with no men­ti­ons of future patches, makes impro­ve­ments to the port unli­kely.

The game

As for our impres­si­ons of the short time we spent Dark Rose Val­ky­rie, it’s not the worst Com­pi­le Heart game we’ve play­ed. Set in an alter­na­te uni­ver­se Japan, the world of Dark Rose Val­ky­rie is under thre­at from the Chi­me­ra virus that kills and muta­tes living crea­tures. Asahi Shira­mi­ne is the cap­tain of the new­ly crea­ted Val­ky­rie Force that can com­bat the Chi­me­ra, though he has litt­le actu­al batt­le expe­ri­ence and reli­es on his “begin­ners luck”.

The set­ting and plot is a some­what serious com­pa­red to other Com­pi­le Heart tit­les, though that doesn’t mean there’s no unne­cessa­ry fan­ser­vice. The clot­hing break sys­tem returns from Ome­ga Quin­tet, though it makes far less sen­se here con­si­de­ring the set­ting and tone of the sto­ry. At least there’s no rub­bing minigame (as far as we know).

Game­play is a mixed bag, though com­bat is far less com­pli­ca­ted than Ome­ga Quin­tet. Each cha­rac­ter can crea­te three dif­fe­rent com­bos using moves they unlock after level­ling up their stats. Each com­bo has a level from one to three, hig­her level com­bos taking more time to start during batt­le. Sin­ce you don’t have to crea­te the­se com­bos during each batt­le like Ome­ga Quin­tet com­bat is noti­ce­ab­ly fas­ter, though we still used auto batt­le and ani­ma­ti­on skips during regu­lar encoun­ters.

Visual­ly Dark Rose Val­ky­rie is an impro­ve­ment on Ome­ga Quin­tet, though it still looks like a bud­get PS3 game over­all. Cha­rac­ter models look noti­ce­ab­le dif­fe­rent from the excel­lent 2D por­traits, and envi­ron­ments are incredi­ble bland over­all. The con­stant stut­te­ring during the PC ver­si­on makes ever­ything look even wor­se too, espe­ci­al­ly during batt­les whe­re the came­ra is moving all the time.

Conclusion

I honest­ly can­not recom­mend this game to anyo­ne in its cur­rent sta­te, espe­ci­al­ly with the lack of any port-launch fixes. Tho­se that real­ly want to play Dark Rose Val­ky­rie should just pick up the PS4 ver­si­on that is likely far che­a­per than the PC pri­ce by now. Hope­ful­ly Idea Fac­to­ry learn from this release, though loo­king at their track record this will likely just be ano­t­her bro­ken PC port.

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