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Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga Review


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On 11/08/2009 at 10:30 PM by Nick DiMola

This "action-RPG" includes more running and standing around than action.
RECOMMENDATION:

Not Recommended.

Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga is the third iteration of the Valhalla Knights series, which up until now, have lived solely on the PSP. Each entry in the series is a part of the action-RPG genre featuring a mission-based structure. Eldar Saga falls in line with its predecessor but now features a seamless battle system that occurs in realtime.

Fans of the Monster Hunter series and other MMO-like games will immediately see some parallels. The biggest difference being that Valhalla Knights has almost no redeeming qualities. Unfortunately, Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga is rife with issues. Combat is clunky and unenjoyable, the game's missions are shallow, the presentation is subpar, and the game as a whole is problematic.

Upon starting Valhalla Knights, I had high hopes for the game. Action-RPGs are typically an enjoyable romp, and one that has a focus on co-operative play via WiFi sounded even better. However, as I began the game, my excitement quickly began to drain.

It's hard not to notice just how poor the game's visuals are. The open field where most of the dirty work is done, is extremely drab with little to draw the players attention. Additionally, there is constant pop-in with far away characters, most of which are barely distinguishable. Naturally, with a game of this nature, part of the enjoyment to be had is exploring the environment and appreciating the vast world. The game's awful presentation dissuades players from ever being able to do this.

The gameplay is equally unimpressive. With Eldar Saga incorporating a new realtime battle mechanic, it's unfortunate to see that it also falls flat. Players will have a hard time properly engaging enemies, and an even harder time sticking with them, thanks to the slow movement and combat. There is also little strategy involved in combat other than locking on and mashing the attack button.

Players will do an unnecessary amount of running around just to reach an area in order to kill a mundane enemy or two for a mission. This element is extremely unenjoyable, especially when bringing a mercenary along on the mission. The mercenaries will take care of most of the work, making the game feel like an extended escort mission wherein the escorted NPC does everything that should be fun for the player to accomplish.

Unfortunately, while players run back and forth across the massive plains, their health will not increase. Instead, they must stand completely still in order to regain health without the aid of items. Given the fact that some encounters will leave players with little health, they will undoubtedly waste a good amount of time standing around waiting.

All the aforementioned issues are also very much present within the game's co-operative mode. Instead of the Wi-Fi multiplayer allowing players to take on quests with random strangers, they are forced to exchange Wii Friend Codes. Even worse, if players do have the opportunity to check out co-operative play, they'll be sorely disappointed by the lack of communication via Wii Speak, a feature that could have made multiplayer far more enjoyable.

A host of other problems plague the title, including massive slowdown in the overworld, and little-to-no instruction on how to progress in the game. While the developers were successful in creating a desolate and drab land, it provides for an uninteresting atmosphere that houses next to no one to interact with. This lack of interaction is frustrating, making the game feel extremely soulless.

While Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga isn't broken per se, it is completely devoid of enjoyment. Players are not likely to find even a single redeeming characteristic of the game, and are best off avoiding the title regardless of how interesting or unique the game may seem in concept.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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