Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED Review

Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED brings the classic run-and-gun SNES mecha title to modern systems with a proper localization for the first time. Does it still hold up? Read our review to find out!


Published: March 30, 2023 7:30 AM /

Reviewed By:


Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED Key Art

Mecha anime is something of an acquired taste. Even among anime fans, it seems that you have to really want to get into a mecha show to really get hooked on the genre. That said, the sentiment is not always the same in video games. A lot more people are willing to accept giant robots shooting each other in a game, despite the continued prevalence of darker and more serious themes that the genre is known for. Back in the day, one such game was Assault Suits Valken, a SNES action game bought to the west as Cybernator. Now, it’s back with Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED, a proper translation to modern systems, but does the game hold up to modern standards? 

Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED - Your Typical Mecha Storyline

Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED Screenshot Showing Character Portrait and Dialogue
The inclusion of character portraits helps you to get to know the different characters. 

Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED is a mecha game through and through, bearing many of the story hallmarks of other series. There’s a war between earth and its colonies, young people are tasked with piloting giant bipedal combat suits in space to win wars, and there’s generally a lot of death and destruction all over the place. You control Jake, one such young Assault Suit pilot who must complete his missions to keep earth safe and hopefully survive long enough to enjoy it. 

Assault Suits Valken is a run-and-gun action game, with you taking control of the titular Assault Suit. You get a suite of weapons and abilities at your disposal, even from the outset, but as you complete missions, you can find even more weapons and upgrade them to make them more devastating. To start with, you have access to a shield, a Valken gun, and a dash move, and you'll need to use all through to blast your way through enemies without dying. Pretty much as soon as the game starts, you’re thrown into a level and can start blasting away at enemies, but your health will need to last you a long time, so avoiding damage is incredibly important.

The Great Gamefeel of Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED 

Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED screenshot showing main character robot suit firing a laser at a shuttle
Your weapons end up feeling pretty powerful by the game's later stages. 

It feels good to zip around the battlefield blasting enemies to pieces, but you have to constantly keep your shield popping up to be at the ready. If you don’t, you’ll probably die before you can ever make all that much progress. There are healing power-ups to be found, but they’re pretty rare, managing your health can make the game one hell of a challenge if you’re careless. On the plus side, if you’re into that sort of thing, this modern re-release includes the now-standard feature of a pause/save-state feature, so you can save scum your way through the game if you’d prefer to. In all honestly, it’s a good way to learn patterns in preparation for doing complete runs if you prefer a gentle start. 

The gameplay is pretty top-notch, even by modern game standards, but there are also some changes in Assault Suits Valken that are a welcome sight for anyone who played the original Cybernator version. Back in the day, a lot of content was cut or censored from the western release, including a decent chunk of the story, several scenes, and the inclusion of character portraits during conversations in missions. All of these omissions have been corrected in this version, making it the definitive version for anyone who was wondering about the cut content. 

Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED Has One Hell of a Soundtrack

Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED main menu showing music player image gallery and movie gallery icons with an image from the game in the background
All of the available extras are pretty great as well. 

Musically and graphically, Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED still holds up incredibly well. The music has been given a fresh update, with more orchestral additions available if you fancy it. Of course, if you prefer the old style, it’s also still available, at least in the music player. Either way, it’s pretty easy on the eye and has some very interesting enemy and mech design choices. Generally, things are also just well animated, especially the human-sized sprites that run around your feet as you stomp your way through the levels.

Additionally, this re-release includes a whole slew of historical features, from music players of the fantastic soundtrack to scans of the Japanese manuals from the game’s original release, which have been translated for the first time. There’s also a collection of high-quality concept art and advertisement artwork, both new and old. That’s not even the end of the extras, with game playthrough videos and interviews with the director, Satoshi Nakai. If you ever played Cybernator as a kid and wanted to know more about where it came from or what it was about, then this is a release that holds a plethora of answers for you. 

The Verdict

Overall, Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED is a fantastic release. The gameplay is fast-paced and challenging, and the game still looks and sounds amazing even by modern standards, of course, with the fresh coat of paint to the music and resolution helping in that regard. If you ever came across Cybernator in your youth or have an interest in mecha games to try out, then you should get your hands on this. It’s stacked with an insane amount of extra content and is easily the best version of the game that has ever been put out. 


TechRaptor reviewed Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher. 

Review Summary

8.0
Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED is a cracking re-release of an already excellent action game. With the story fully localized and uncensored, fans of the genre need to give this smooth-playing game a try. (Review Policy)

Pros

  • Smooth and Challenging Gameplay
  • Amazing soundtrack
  • Packed with extra content
  • Fully localized and uncensored

Cons

  • Seemingly no option to change between soundtracks during gameplay

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| Staff Writer

Will has been writing about video games professionally since 2016 and has covered everything from AAA game reviews to industry events and everything in… More about William