It won’t be long before Valkyrie Elysium comes to PC and PlayStation consoles, as PS players will be able to dive in and check out the fantasy project by the end of the month. But before launch, we got a chance to check out a bunch of the game as part of a recent Square Enix event in London, and here we got a glimpse of the narrative, lore, combat and progression systems it will offer.
For those wondering what the hell is Valkyrie Elysium, the game is basically an anime action RPG with some J-RPG elements embedded in it. I mean, the game almost reminds you of a Dark Souls crossover with Genshin Impact, all with a slightly cel-shaded art direction, and some fighting styles and upgrade paths that feel very Final Fantasy. It’s an unusual combination, but it works really, really well, and the gameplay feels very engaging and unique because of it.
As you can probably tell from the “Valkyrie” part of the series title, Norse mythology is what this game revolves around, because here we find a story in which Odin, the Father of Almighty, created a perfect Tool, to bring peace in Midgard and stop Ragnarök: you, Valkyrie. To this end, you are sent into the mortal realm to seek out and destroy any undead souls or nasty creatures that plague the world, using your talents as a swordsman and magic wielder, but also with the help of those you can summon in battle. Spectral Einhar Warrior (think Final Fantasy Summons).
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The combat is fairly fast-paced, almost like a basher. You can use a variety of light and heavy melee combos with your sword, and then you can spice things up by casting divine art elemental spells like lightning strikes or fireballs, at the cost of some magic. And, as I mentioned before, it’s all about using Ain Hjal’s allies to do some extra damage, and each fighter is also full of elemental typing. It all flows together very smoothly and makes for a fast-paced, engaging, and deep combat suite that doesn’t feel sluggish and punishing like many action RPGs.
This also extends to exploration, as you can use Valkyrie’s abilities to jump and climb to new heights with her Soul Chain, or even use the Einherjar to bridge huge gaps or break through destructible walls/objects – all while is to find chests and loot that will be better and improve Valkyrie as an individual. You’ll want to do this because in treasure chests, you’ll come across new spells, weapons, and valuables that can be used to level up. This kit is pretty simple and revolves around using a combination of gems and other found loot to level up a weapon, making it more powerful and deadly in combat. As for Valkyrie himself, this progression kit is more of a simple upgrade tree where you can improve Divine Art, Einhar, and other parts of the Valkyrie kit, earning skill points by defeating enemies.
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Watch the variety of enemies you’ll have to face, which range from simple humanoid ghosts wielding swords, shields and bows, to nightmarish, terrifying creatures, often elemental charges, all the way to aerial gargoyle-style opponents, Even boss level enemies, they have more health and require more strategy to be at their best. To deal with the challenges of combat, many enemies do have weak spots that can be targeted, which often stun them or deal a lot of damage when destroyed, in addition to that, you can use Valkyrie’s divine arts and elemental skills to break defenses and Stun certain enemies as they use slow but heavy attacks.
I did mention before that the game has a cel shaded art style. It’s not quite up to Borderlands’ level, but it does give Valkyrie Elysium a very unique look, and it often wows you as you explore Midgard’s breathtaking vistas.
But all in all, I have to say that the Valkyrie Elysium was one of the best products from the Square Enix event I attended recently. It’s a game that I’m super excited to experience when it hits the PlayStation in a few weeks. It’s fast-paced, exciting, looks great, and is unique enough that it should be able to stand on its own in an increasingly crowded action-RPG scene.