VALKYRIE ELYSIUM is the newest entry to the Valkyrie franchise of games by Square Enix.
With this game sitting in the action RPG genre, it’s a little different than its turn-based predecessors. While I sadly have not played the old games, fans of the previous games will recognise familiar special movies reimagined into this 3D hack and slash adventure.
When you first begin the game, you will be given an overview of the story and then playthrough a tutorial that takes about 30 minutes to complete. Honestly, I felt it was a bit too long and some abilities could have been taught to me organically as I played through the main chapters. While it was a good opportunity to get a good handle on the basic controls, the combos it taught me in quick succession were almost immediately forgotten.
Plus, the ability to summon Einherjar was not even available to me when I began the real game, which was a little bit annoying. As I began Chapter 1, I actually thought I had made a mistake and unequipped them when I was unable to use an ability I was just taught in the tutorial. It wasn’t until I completed Chapter 2 that I finally unlocked it.
The story is a somewhat generic “world ending” scenario and Valkyrie herself doesn’t seem to have much of an interesting personality at the start of the game. But it’s not completely terrible and it’s okay enough to plod your way through, as the gameplay is pretty fun. Small titbits of story are also found by interacting with blue flowers you find throughout the questing areas, although it’s just a small dialogue box with a deceased person’s thoughts and I feel there would have been some nicer ways to implement this that didn’t feel so bland.
The combat in this game is definitely the most enjoyable part of it. Zipping around with the Soul Chain to reach new areas, or to advance upon enemies that are far away really make the battles quite speedy. The spells and summons are easy to access, and you can switch weapons mid battle as well. My only gripe is that while you are in tight alleyways, it’s hard to see where all your enemies are, as the camera tends to zoom in too close, so you may want to lure them into more open areas.
There’s plenty of things to work towards that will make yourself stronger, such as Valkyrie’s Skill Tree and your weapons. Each weapon has its own set of combos, and this will unlock as you upgrade them. To upgrade everything, you will need to find gems, which drop from enemies but also can be found by smashing boxes and barrels.
The character model for Valkyrie herself is quite lovely and it’s nice to see what the latest hardware can handle. Visually the game is stunning. The outdoor environments you find yourself battling in are quite beautiful with the lush green and flowery fields. But in contrast, the indoor areas are very dull, and the drab colour palettes and repetitive brick walls are a little disappointing. I get that this is the world on the brink of destruction but that does not mean that castles and other buildings should be completely devoid of colour or decorations.
Overall, VALKYRIE ELYSIUM truly shines in its gameplay but lacks a little in depth in its story. Those that just want a great action game will have fun ploughing through enemies and taking down big bosses.
VALKYRIE ELYSIUM is available as a physical and digital Standard Edition on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, with a digital-only Standard Edition set for PC via Steam.
VALKYRIE ELYSIUM is available now on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, and will be available on PC via Steam from November 11, 2022.