Dark Rose Valkyrie is one of those JRPGs that adds plenty of visual novel elements. Our avatar, Asahi Shiramine, is supposed to be doing his best to get close to his team. After all, the evaluation screen shows how much everyone does or doesn’t trust you and you will need to carry out investigations to find which party member might be an infected traitor. But what makes it unique is an opportunity to see the best and worst of each character.
In Dark Rose Valkyrie, members of the Test Raid Force have a Valkyrie System OS installed into their brains. (Only a few people are actually able to handle this.) It’s a necessity to handle the TCS weapons to fight the Chimera. This means they will experience a rather unusual side effect. The mental strain causes split personalities in users. While this is absolutely an excuse to increase the number of character stereotypes present in the game and offer up more fanservice, it also helps round out each character by giving them depths you might not have otherwise thought they had.
Take Ai. Ai is the default Dark Rose Valkyrie heroine. It’s blatant. She’s a kind leader who is caring, responsible, smart, and well-rounded. She’s constantly reaching out to Asahi and the other people on the team. Frankly, she’s too good to be true. Until her split personality kicks in. Then, all she wants is to be left alone to do her job. She wants nothing to do with anyone and will threaten people with physical harm and death if they don’t go away. While it may seem like an excuse to make someone incredibly accessible fit into the tsundere trope, I can identify with that. I have, from time to time, been accused of being too kind. But sometimes, I purposely go out of my way to be kind when I’m actually feeling like I want nothing more than to be alone, because I feel like I would be insensitive or selfish if I did aggressively isolate myself. There is sometimes a part of me that goes, “I am just done today.” But then, because it is my job or I feel a duty to family or friends, I will keep on being kind and open.
Yue is another example of the split personality perhaps revealing true, inner feelings. She is a consummate soldier. She does everything by the books. In her conversations with Asahi in Dark Rose Valkyrie, she is equal parts appalled and disgusted if you try to make things personal, rather than professional. But when her split personality kicks in, we see an example of why she might be so set on always being the perfect soldier. She panics when placed in situations where there is no protocol in place. She needs guidance and order, and we see her more emotional and human side.
One of the characters that’s difficult to get to know is Coo. She’s a quiet young woman who usually relies on Amal to speak for her. In her early conversations with Asahi, she’ll try to avoid answering and talking. But, she’s also absolutely brilliant. Her reputation and stats affirm that. Naturally, this means her other self is completely self assured. She knows she is brilliant and believes that means she should be in charge. It is difficult to fault her confidence, as it is accurate. She isn’t exactly mean or cruel, but more blunt and open. It could be a part of her knows how good she is, but her normal personality and shyness temper that.
Amal, Coo’s older sibling, is another situation where we see a character trying to get attention. I would almost say his split personality is an exacerbation of his normal one. Amal is used to being everything for Coo. He developed his entire personality for her. When he meets Asahi, he is determined to immediately develop some sort of relationship with him, calling him a big bro. When the split personality kicks in, you get a yandere. Amal wants all of your attention. You can’t pay attention to the other characters. He is all you need. It’s the extreme case of someone who has already shown himself to be a people pleaser.
With Luna, we get an idea of preconceived notions that may have been instilled in her as part of her upbringing. She is a member of one of Dark Rose Valkyrie’s three major families. When we see her, she’s always very open. She insists Asahi and her be on a first-name basis. She enjoys eating with everyone in the cafeteria. It is as though she relishes a normal life where she is everyone’s equal. Except when her split personality kicks in, she’s suddenly demanding people treat her like royalty. She holds her name and status over others. Maybe she’s always fighting back against that in her mind? Perhaps she is enjoying this little “vacation” where she gets to be normal, but a part of her still misses that life where she had servants aiding her.
Sure, this is a way of covering more bases with a small number of characters. Dark Rose Valkyrie is trying to make you care about and connect with people, so when you find the traitor it will hit harder. But, some of these split personalities really make sense. You can really see why people act the way they do.
Dark Rose Valkyrie is available for the PlayStation 4.