Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Valhalla Knights

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre Image            Valhalla Knights launched late in 2007 on European shores. Developed by Marvellous Interactive, the title was released in Japan in August 2006 and published by XSEED Games in the US of April 2007, so it’s clear the localisation process has taken quite some time. The responsibility of which falls to Rising Star Games’ in the UK, a publishing company becoming synonymous with bringing titles appreciated by the Hardcore to our shop shelves, despite to odd dip into the Causal Gamer market with titles such as Super Swing Golf. Valhalla Knights, however, fits quite snugly into the former category, through-and-through a Role-Playing Game for the Hardcore Gamer.

            Since the title’s arrival in the UK, a sequel has been firmly Electronic Theatre Imageannounced, and the original Valhalla Knights can be found at a budget price at many retailers, and so the title may well seem to offer value-for-money, but can it compete with the bigger budget PlayStation Portable Role-Playing Games like Crisis Core –Final Fantasy VII– and Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness?

As the game begins, the player is immediately thrown into a Battle Sequence featuring a rather cluttered Menu arrangement, and leaving the player work out the basics of the Real-Time Combat System for themselves. The X Button executes basic attacks, while the R Button locks onto an enemy, and this is all the player will need to proceed.

After the rather brash introduction to the combat, the player is then asked to create a character. The Character Creation System is wonderful – allowing for amazing depth and casting the player as commander of how they choose to play the game. Further to this, when a character gains enough EXP from defeating enemies to allow them to Level-Up, Bonus Points are grantedElectronic Theatre Image with which the player may allocate to their chosen attributes at will – further customising their character on top of a basic model. However, the fly-in-the-ointment here is the sheer lack of information. While Role-Playing Game fans may well be aware of what differences the Fighter and Thief Job Classes carry, a player new to the genre may not, and so a four-word explanation really wouldn’t suffice.

The town your hero awakens in acts as the HUB for the title, from which Quests can be selected from the local Guild, as well offering additional party members, and items can be purchased from the store before continuing the main plotline. Suffering from amnesia, Valhalla Knights takes the player on a journey to piece together your memory, with nearly every twist being decidedly predictable. While enjoyable in its small doses, the story unfolding in Valhalla Knights certainly won’t win any awards.

The player has an advisor of sorts – a The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Navi-inspired ethereal being who dispenses advice. Unfortunately, the player is unable to call upon their guide when most needed – such as when lost for an objective – and his presence is most notably interjected when the player already has a full agenda. Control of your party can be left to the Artificial Intelligence – which will perform an adequate job – should the player wish, however to do so is to miss yet another layer of deeply customisable attributes. Players can not only perform all the usual item-swapping and Levelling-Up tricks that are often offered over party members in Role-Playing Games, but also take control of another character mid-battle and launch a new offensive or create a distraction, allowing for some deeply tactical play.

Enemies can be identified on the player’s Mini-Map as bright red dots, meaning a more subtle player may well be able to avoid combat when necessary – which becomesElectronic Theatre Image handy towards the end of the game. The death of your entire party sends you reeling back to the Inn – minus a fee – to begin your journey again. To begin with, this is of little consequence, but as your journey continues and fewer Warp Points become available, the lack of mid-dungeon revival options soon begins to grate.

Valhalla Knights is a fantastic looking game – easily one of the best on the PlayStation Portable. The Character Models are well drawn and the equipment given to a character is visible at all times, which, much like Rising Star Games’ recent Wii Role-Playing Game release, Baroque, adds a customisable layer of detail to a pre-constructed Character Model. The soundtrack is predictable Japanese Role-Playing Game fodder, but doesn’t detract from the on-screen action.

Hardcore Gamers looking for a new Role-Playing Game challenge on the PlayStation Portable have little other option; but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Valhalla Knights performs well to standard, but has little flair and exercises few truly original ideas. Casual Gamers need not apply, but for those wanting little more that a predictable Role-Playing Game romp could do much worse.Electronic Theatre Image




















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