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Valkyrie Elysium Overview – Destructoid
Paging Jay Sherman to the evaluate, Jay Sherman, please report back to the evaluate
Ohhhhh. These are the identical builders who made Samurai Jack: Battle By Time.
Now, this all is smart.
Valkyrie Elysium (PC, PS4, PS5 [reviewed])
Writer: Sq. Enix
Launched: September 29, 2022 on PS5 & PS4, November 11, 2022 for PC
Let’s not beat across the bush on this one: Valkyrie Elysium isn’t sport. Outdoors of 1 particular enemy design, there isn’t a single factor I like about it. Not the characters, not the graphics, not the story, not the extent design, not the world-building, and no, not even the fight. From high to backside, that is about as mediocre of an motion RPG title that you just’re going to search out in the marketplace, one that may arguably be satisfactory if it had been rushed out the door to fulfill the launch date of the PS3 fairly than one releasing greater than two years into the life-cycle of the PS5.
Valkyrie Elysium isn’t a sport I loved enjoying, and it’s one I’m even much less smitten by writing about.
Story spoilers forward
So what precisely is flawed with it? Effectively, quite a bit. Let’s begin with the story, which places you within the footwear of a Valkyrie who’s despatched to cleanse the world of souls earlier than Ragnarok. Whereas she initially swears her allegiance to her creator, the All-Father Odin, she quickly comes to know that issues usually are not precisely as they appear. And as she begins to uncover the reality behind her mission, you’ll doubtless come to phrases with the reality that you just’ve seen this hackneyed story a dozen instances earlier than. Valkyrie Elysium has an immediately forgettable narrative, one with all of the emotional depth of an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles.
Valkyrie herself is a part of the issue. She isn’t a really compelling protagonist, made all of the much less fascinating by the paint-by-numbers character arc she’s caught in. The remainder of the solid doesn’t fare significantly better. Her recruitable allies referred to as Einherjar don’t actually deliver a lot to the desk, and the All-Father Odin would possibly as nicely have an enormous, neon signal over his Viserys Targaryen-looking ass that reads “Evil.”
After all, it takes some time for that revelation to play out. Within the meantime, you’ll be down in Midgard to smacking round some baddies throughout a frustratingly small variety of ranges. When you’ve got performed the demo, which covers the primary chapter, know that you’ve basically performed the second chapter as nicely. That’s as a result of Valkyrie Elysium reuses ranges fairly than giving every of the sport’s 9 chapters a singular setting. And it doesn’t reuse the degrees later within the sport. It reuses them immediately. Chapters 1 and a pair of are each set on the identical map, as are chapters 3 and 4, 6 and seven, and eight and 9.
Certain, there are slight variations between visits, but it surely doesn’t assist with the sense of déjà vu. It could be one factor if I returned to a beforehand visited space a lot later in my journey, however to go proper again after I simply completed an hour-long trek by the stage actually blurs the strains between chapters, making them really feel as if they’re for much longer than they really are. And that’s to say nothing of what number of instances you’ll revisit elements of those levels for every particular person side-quest you unlock.
It could in all probability be higher if any of those ranges had been fascinating locations to be in. However they’re not. They’re simply massive, linear, largely brown and grey paths that lead you from one enemy encounter to the following. There isn’t any dramatic structure to admire or hidden paths that assist inform the story of this dying world. It’s just about simply funneling you from combat to combat with a naked minimal quantity of exploration wanted to search out chests and the Hole Blossoms that provide the slightest of glimpses into the lives of those that have handed into the afterlife.
You give me butterflies, however I don’t actually need them
The truth is, these ranges are so primary of their idea and format, they really negate the aim of one of many sport’s mechanics. Relying on which chapter you’re enjoying, you’ll be tasked with discovering some keepsakes for every of the Einherjar you unlock. Holding down the R3 and L3 buttons will summon little butterflies that information you towards the following souvenir you want. On the primary map, with its awkward format of a small city space the place all of the buildings look the identical, that is mandatory as a result of it’s really easy to get misplaced. However due to how linear the remainder of the levels are, there isn’t a want to make use of this function past chapter 2. Each souvenir you want for the opposite three Einherjar is definitely discovered alongside the one path you’re allowed to take by every stage. It’s arduous to not marvel if the butterflies had been solely added as a result of playtesters saved getting caught searching for all of Einherjar Eygon’s junk.
That wouldn’t be a difficulty if the artwork path for this sport allowed for a extra distinct-looking world. Admittedly, there may be an fascinating conflict of artwork kinds that makes Valkyrie Elysium stand out within the present gaming panorama. However simply because it’s distinctive doesn’t imply it’s good, and plenty of areas you’ll enterprise by are fairly underwhelming when their huge vistas are masked by the haze within the distance.
That is my combat track
Lastly, let’s have a look at fight. I’ve seen individuals on-line saying it’s the saving grace of this sport. On the floor, the fight in Valkyrie Elysium appears to be like prefer it may very well be a type of difficult, easy-to-learn-difficult-to-master kinds of setups. However once I truly dug into the sport and unlocked extra of Valkyrie’s arsenal, I discovered it actually doesn’t evolve past a easy two-button hack ’n’ slash regardless of all the things being thrown into the combo.
For a lot of the sport, you’ll have a number of primary assaults at your disposal. Valkyrie can equip two weapons at any time, as much as 4 “Divine Arts” (magic) assaults, and her 4 Einherjar. The everyday enemy encounter will see you utilizing all three in tandem. As all enemies have an elemental weak spot that’s clearly displayed while you lock onto them, essentially the most environment friendly approach by every battle is to make use of Arts or an Einherjar to assault a foe with no matter component they’re weak towards till they enter the crushed part the place you be capable of shortly whittle down their well being bar together with your melee weapon. It doesn’t matter what form of fight state of affairs you’re in, that may at all times be one of the best technique for getting by it.
In principle, that sounds prefer it may very well be a deep and rewarding system to be taught. However in apply, the fights you could have in chapter 9 don’t differ that a lot from those you could have in chapter two. Regardless of new enemy varieties being launched and a big selection of elemental weaknesses to think about, Valkyrie Elysium’s fight is way too primary to be that participating. The 2-button combo system simply didn’t do it for me right here. Even when contemplating the Soul Chain mechanic, which lets Valkyrie zip throughout the battlefield to assault foes and hold her combo rising, there wasn’t a single second on this sport the place I assumed I used to be having any enjoyable with it. Fight is extra routine than the rest, even once I was discovering new strikes and Arts for my hero to make use of in battle.
Valkyrie has three ability bushes you’ll unlock utilizing gems collected in each stage. As you’re employed your approach down every tree, she’ll unlock quite a few methods to mechanically summon her Einherjar throughout fight that picks away at no matter little problem there. The Einherjar develop in power every time they’re summoned, and I discovered my staff was vastly overpowered for no matter grunts I used to be preventing by the point I reached the ultimate two chapters of the sport. I breezed by most of my battles, solely ever stopping my fixed onslaught to enter the menu so I might change up Divine Arts. There are a variety of elemental weaknesses to maintain monitor of right here, and I spent way more time than I might have appreciated to swapping out Arts on the pause display screen.
There may be much more I might harp on with this sport, however I truthfully don’t have it in me to be this damaging anymore. Regardless of the cliche of the indignant online game reviewer who “doesn’t even like video video games,” it’s not that enjoyable tearing down the work of people that haven’t finished something catastrophically flawed. As a result of there may be nothing about Valkyrie Elysium that’s outright dangerous or damaged. It’s simply the expertise as an entire is so dreadfully uninteresting.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]