This original IP from Marvelous Interactive and XSeed Games gives real time role-playing gamers a satisfying experience deep into a universe of demons, dark lords, lost memories and despair. Valhalla Knights is a pure surprise with many features that go beyond the calling of the PSP. Impressive, but not close to perfection, Valhalla Knights has something in common with a world that was forgotten from history.
Valhalla Knights is a return to the root of role-playing adventuring, party building, and character development packed with adequate real time action and full 3-D environments. Reminiscing of an MMORPG, you can custom build your own team to tackle the many challenges that await. Valhalla Knights is more than a character on a mindless adventure, Valhalla has some real depth and it will provide a challenge for even the hardcore experienced RPG gamers. Although, initially impressive Valhalla Knights does have a few tribulations that are hard to over come. Valhalla Knights is definitely a double edged sword, one edge sharp and polished and the other dull and rusted.
One of the sharp points of Valhalla Knights is the character creation aspect which includes a number of classes that are up gradable, races including gender choices and a full arsenal of weapons and equipment. Heavy weighted with a statistics, leveling up, and magic and weapon skills, Valhalla can compete with any full console or PC role-player. The character customization continues with adjustable A. I. behaviour which balances their attacks from weapon and magic, managed their team support, item use, HP recover and dispel conjuring. For your team, you can put together a group of six characters or less. These characters can be ones you have created yourself or acquired through questing. Valhalla definitely pumped more into this pint sized UMD then I expected. For this whole section, custom characters, Valhalla Knights is huge and everything you'd expect in a full scale RPG.
Digging a little deeper into the created characters is the job classes that can set up as initial class like fighter, mage, priest, and thief and then expand into new classes which even includes ninja. Besides you main class you can appoint sub-classes so your character can grow in new directions. All these job classes can be switched at any time bringing a real value to the game. In the beginning I suggest you make a fighter, and a supporting mage, priest character. The classes also have an effect on leveling up which allows you allocate your bonus points, and trust me you will become quite familiar with this screen while drudging through Valhalla. The game isn’t generous with the points, so you will notice it takes a long time for your character to build up. If you increase the size of your party then your experience points will be divided accordingly. The best advice is to play with three characters while switching their job class every level. This way you can try and power level and mage and a fighter at the same time. Really, the lack of points slows down Valhalla Knights and will mostly likely make the tedious job of leveling too much of a burden for some gamers. I know I was ready to pack it in on several instances.
The real time combat that accompanies Valhalla Knights is handled well with some extra nice touches like the ability to lock on ranged and close attacks. The battles can be fairly intense without the problem of random encounters; however the re-spawn rate is a little too frequent. The battle also seem to outclass the player around ever corner. Valhalla Knights is brutally tough for starting out and even after a few hours you will still be barley surviving battles and returning to the inn to rest, rinse and repeat.
In many ways Valhalla Knights starts develops a more dungeon crawl feeling then an actual RPG. The story aspects are light comparative to the amount of time you’ll spend running around an underground maze. The combat works in real time with the ability to pause the action to use items, or perform magic. During combat you will be whisked into a circular ring to battle to death. If you’re fighting slow creatures this will mainly be a run, attack and run. The one thing that bothered me about the combat is that you can not block. Characters can also be switched on the fly in the combat and out. This gives you the ability to switch it up every once and a while and play the other characters. Even though the battles can be frustrating and monotonous, this helps break the mould. All in all Valhalla Knights comes close to being a simple button masher, thankfully the variety of classes helps keep the on the borderline.
Before I move onto the graphics department of Valhalla, I run down the overall story of the game. It’s a tale of a place that was forgotten from history, a world of harmony that held happiness and peace between all races. [enter] The Dark Lord who tares apart the peace and take rule over all the creatures creating ‘The Cursed Land’. [enter] Your character a young warrior ready to do whatever it takes to regain a memory that has been lost, this pushes you further into adventure and dangerous peril. The plot moves on with more inter dimensional madness including samurais and robots and all things geektastic. Valhalla Knights is your typical re-telling of a story that has been told a thousand times before, the delivery is week, and non-involving, but if your in it for the leveling, customization and dungeon slashing, you will be appeased.
The graphic portion of Valhalla Knights is exceptional minus some camera qualms. The problems with the camera are not as surprise since this is a given with 3-D games on the PSP. Navigating around for the most part is free of any major camera problems, the main troubles come into play during the face paced combat. What helps the non-combat parts of Valhalla's camera is the ability to center the view, and go into a frozen first person look. For the majority it’s workable, with a few hiccups. Besides the camera every other aspect is impressive for the scale of the game. The character animations are wonderful, along with the character models. One question though, why does the human male character walk around with his pants undone? He’s even featured on the front of the games box art with his buckle off. Common now, I’m sure an adept adventure going into a battle with monsters and warriors could at least do up that buckle.
Load times are great on the PSP which is a surprise. Frame rate slowdown doesn’t occur too much until you get all characters in battle. It’s not enough to ruin the flow, but if I was to nitpick, it could be improved. The audio end of Valhalla produces a typical affair with medieval themed instrumental compositions with a similar vibe to the other in game sounds. Valhalla doesn’t have voice work, but that’s alright given the nature of the game.
The analogy, double edged sword best describes Valhalla Knights. Packed full of content, excellent graphics and robust character aspects meets up with overly challenging gameplay that takes away the initial fun level. Valhalla Knights turns into an affair that takes a lot of devotion and love, it you can stick with it; Valhalla will provide you with a satisfactory adventure.
Valhalla Knights should be directed towards the hardcore RPG fans, I’m afraid the tedious nature of Valhalla will take its toll with the casual gamers. Valhalla Knights is an outstanding product from Xseed that just need some minor adjusting. If this review is making Valhalla Knights glimmer then you should investigate the world of repetitive leveling and interesting character development. You might just deem Valhalla Knights worthy of your round table.
Gameplay: 6.5, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 7. Final: 7 / 10