Valkyrie Elysium is the latest title coming out of the Square Enix camp that is a third-person action-adventure JRPG that has a Norse mythological theme and setting. It has a unique art style which appears to be a mix of detailed 3D visuals with an animated style as well. Some of the character models have an animated feel to them while the environments have a realistic one. The main character has a wonderfully detailed design, not so much in the hair and facial details, but more so in the armor than anything. From what I’ve seen so far in regards to the level design didn’t necessarily impress me either. It’s not an open-world JRPG and nor does it have a sandbox feel to it, but rather a more linear design that gives you little to explore on your own.
Everything looks washed out, even in areas that are supposed to pop and be full of color. I think a colorful world that can put you in awe combined with the interesting character designs will work wonderfully and feel just right. The main thing with this demo is the gameplay and, in my opinion, an interesting yet very large world that was built in a linear fashion. Valkyrie’s character model has an average feel to it; combat is more than satisfactory.
The combat is very similar to some of the other major titles from Square Enix such as Kingdom Hearts and some of the newer Final Fantasy titles. What makes this combat system really fun is the ability to combo both light and heavy attacks with some of the more hard-hitting moves, topped off with a little bit of magic and summoning help as the cherry on top. You can also zipline your way across the battlefield between enemies by using them as anchor points. Utilize this as part of your moveset to continue your ongoing combo and rack up more points for an even better score and more damage!
Both of your summoned characters are assigned different elements that you can use against enemies that would suffer major damage which is helpful against multiple enemies or even mini-bosses. What I found interesting from my experience with the demo, is having the ability to use a summon in one part of the game, but not being able to do it in another level – particularly the juiciest part of the demo. Another thing to take note of is there isn’t a leveling system in this game. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means Valkyrie’s stats are based on the upgrades through her skill tree rather than grinding out experience points to become stronger. The key here seem to be farming materials such as gems and other items to level up your weapons and Valkyrie via the skill tree.
The skill tree is quite simple to grasp as there are only three columns. These upgrades would increase her attack, defense, health, and magic. You can also acquire new abilities to assist you in your battles such as learning new attacks or evasive maneuvers for some added defense. While advancing in the demo I was able to acquire a new weapon and also learn some new attacks for that weapon. Each weapon has its own button inputs for various combos and attacks, including finishing moves if your enemy has less health. You also have the freedom to alternate between weapons during battle but you can’t continue a combo by switching weapons.
There are benefits to using different weapons, which the game tells you once you acquire a new weapon. One of those benefits being certain enemies take more damage from the weapon you’re using, while your main weapon could be slower to attack but hits harder, another can do less damage but also allows you to attack more frequently. Using different weapons didn’t feel like a drag to use, instead, it is more enjoyable and fun to use. Like any RPG out there, you are given side quests – I imagine some aren’t worth the time while others are, and based on the demo, that is the case here. Upon completing the sidequest in the demo, I was able to get more items and materials to upgrade my character and weapons, and also obtain an item that increases my health bar.
From what I gathered from this demo in regards to the story, Odin created and commanded Valkyrie to purify the world of undead souls and ultimately change the fate of the gods and humans, saving them both from the impending doom known as Ragnarök. As you may know based on the title, this game deals with Norse mythology and lore. How accurate is it? Only time will tell when this game ships on September 29, 2022. I would encourage you to try the demo for yourself and see if you like it, and from personal experience, I feel this is a game that could be well worth the price tag!