Initial release date: September 29, 2022
Series: Valkyrie Profile
Composer: Motoi Sakuraba
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows
Genres: Action role-playing game, Adventure game, Fighting game
Developers: Soleil, Square Enix
Publishers: Square Enix, SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
"Review Copy Provided By Square-Enix"
The Valkyrie Profile franchise is one of Square-Enix's most beloved series and yet in its 20-year history, has only ever had 3 entries (an enhanced rerelease of the first on the PSP and now PS4/5) and a failed mobile game. You would think that a series as loved as this would have way more entries than what it does but sadly it does not, which is even more surprising to me when Valkyrie Elysium was announced in the beginning of 2022 as I was under the impression that the series was long since dead and forgotten by Square-Enix (something that a lot of us fans take issue with when it comes to them and their long dormant IPs). With a slight name change and radically different gameplay engine and effectively a different genre than previous entries, does Valkyrie Elysium live up to the pedigree of its predecessors or will it become another bargain bin title within a few weeks or months? Let’s find out!
The story of Valkyrie Elysium has you in the role of the Valkyrie Nora as she is tasked with aiding the weakened Odin in reclaiming order to the world by purifying the souls within Midgard while also fighting against an undead threat that can end the world by bringing about the Ragnarok.
The gameplay of Valkyrie Elysium is starkly different from the previous three games as this is a through and through action RPG that is remarkably similar in many ways to what you would find in Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, or even Square’s own NieR Automata. You can dish out light and heavy attacks as well as chain them together to form various combo strings. Valkyrie seems to have met Nero from Devil May Cry and copied his Devil Bringer’s abilities as she has a move that allows her to close the distance between her and her enemies at the press of a button which spices up the combat. This is also helpful outside of battle as it allows you to scale areas to progress forward. You have access to magical abilities such as lighting and the sort of which are mapped to your face buttons in conjunction with the L1 button and can be added to your combo strings for maximum damage.
Valkyrie can dodge as well as parry attacks and can even lock-on to specific parts of enemies which is especially useful in boss fights as you can target certain areas of bosses that are weak points of which can change the flow of battle with an example of this being when you fight the stone golem and if you target his legs you can drop him to his knees allowing you to go after his head. As you defeat enemies you will gain a variety of gems and other items of which can be used to upgrade weapons and abilities. You will gather runes throughout your journey and can use them to further upgrade your weapons.
One of the aspects I enjoy in this game is how you can summon allies or einherjars to assist you in battles. Its a series staple given how Valkyrie’s role is to gather the spirits of fallen warriors to fight in the afterlife, so it makes battles way more dynamic when you can call in one or more allies to help you take down the various hordes thrown at you. The einherjars are also helpful outside of battle as they are helpful in traversal as well as discovering various hidden secrets through your journey.
Outside of combat, there is a hub world that allows you to select your main quests as well as side quests that are often in levels that are fairly linear with them being a very straight forward A-B type of affair that occasionally allows you to deviate to alternate pathways that will yield some nice items to get but also lead to dead ends.
When it comes to the graphics, I’d say the game looks pretty good with a lot of detail in their clothes and character models as a whole. The easiest way I can describe this is that if you took Valkyrie Profile 2’s style and modernized it then you get Valkyrie Elysium. Where the game falls short visually is the bland environments you’re often in with a lot of drab and dull tones of grey and brown. Another issue with the game is the hilariously bad lip syncing as what you hear and the lip flaps moving are never in sync. Beyond the above issues, the game is really good. What about the OST and voice acting? The voice acting is very good with each of the voice actors matching the characters they are portraying and delivering the lines in a very believable manner. When it comes to the OST, well what can I say? This series has always been phenomenal, and the OST of Valkyrie Elysium is no exception as Motoi Sakuraba doesn't make a bad OST.
If you picked up the Digital Deluxe edition then you were given some bonus items along with a full digital copy of the PSP remake of the first game, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. If you got a base coipy of the game, then you can pay $20 for the Digital Deluxe Edition upgrade and get Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth.
Valkyrie Elysium is not your standard Valkyrie game, yet that doesn’t make it a terrible game by any means. A lot of franchises end up changing their formula after several entries to try and see if they can experiment with the gameplay of which this was incredibly common in the 80s, 90s, and early 00s where companies didn’t mind taking chances and so I have no issue with this becoming an action RPG instead of a RPG. Valkyrie Elysium doesn’t reinvent the wheel and incorporates a lot of what you’ve seen in other titles and yet again, this isn't a bad thing especially in a post Final Fantasy VII Remake world. Valkyrie Elysium brings you a fun, if by the books story, excellent combat with added flavor from the series, impressive graphics, and above all, respects your time and as a gamer thats all I can ask for. Definitely make sure you check out this game!