For a series that has switched from turn-based JRPGs to a more tactical approach to combat, the transition of Valkyrie Elysium to a fast and furious action RPG feels quite natural. However, even though this entry is much shorter in length compared to it’s predecessors, the game does eventually start to overstay it’s welcome.
Chaining Combos Into Valhalla
Clocking in at around 8 hours with multiple endings to unlock, this title follows a linear level and design structure similar to Devil May Cry. Although it does contain traditional RPG elements like levelling up equipment and skill trees or using items and magic to rip through an enemy’s defences, the big draw of this game is the battle system.
The slick-looking combos and executions can be easily pulled off using an assortment of weapons that would make uncle Dante proud, and the bosses are no slouch either. Even on normal mode, these guys will give you a decent run for your coin. That being said, when Valkyrie has two support fighters to call upon around chapter 3, you essentially just need to lock on and mash the square button out of existence to purge the riffraff.
In between battles, Valkyrie can head off the beaten path to check out the Norse-inspired architecture and their surroundings for some lite exploration. Around the map, she can find treasures to help expand her arsenal, skill tree and HP/MP limits on occasion, as well as open up side-quests from NPCs. They do mainly consist of fetching collectables or killing a bunch of enemies to reach a specific area, but the rewards they hand out are certainly worth the effort.
One Step Forward, Three Steps Back
While the gameplay itself is undoubtedly fun and frenetic for a few hours, once the lustre of combat and basic exploration starts to wane, the dull story and underdeveloped characters won’t do much to keep you invested. The voice-acting and lip sync is also pretty bad at times and the black outlines used on characters and environments do take some getting used to.
Fortunately, the music and world design of Valkyrie Elysium is absolutely gorgeous. It’s big-time choirs and woodwind-themed instrumentation will definitely give players goosebumps, as the varied locales and vistas immerse the audience in that classic melancholic atmosphere the series is known for.
On PS4 however, the loading screens in between chapters are almost a minute long and the frame rate can vary at certain intervals during mob encounters. The PS5 edition stays at a silky smooth 60FPS though and it does sharpen up the drab-looking textures on PS4, especially when the camera zooms into an object or character model.
The framework of Valkyrie Profile does lend itself well to the action RPG genre, but this latest entry in the series simply needed more time in the oven. It’s battle system of combos, grappling hooks and magic is quite enjoyable for the first couple of hours, but the formula starts to wear thin once Valkyrie’s allies enter the picture in chapter 3. While the general presentation and music make for a distinctly curated ambience, the story, characters, gameplay and side content won’t compel players to seek out this title’s multiple endings.
By Anthony Culinas – Reviewed on PlayStation 4
Valkyrie Elysium is a decent action RPG that’s rather short in length, but it’s combo-based combat grows stale several hours before the credits roll. The game nails the melancholic, Norse-inspired atmosphere of the series, although the story, characters and side-quests that appear in these lands are anything but legendary. So if you don’t enjoy the combat, then there’s little else to latch onto.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Square Enix. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.