Valkyrie Elysium: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sometimes all a game needs is hot characters and great combat.

Do you know those gaming moments when what you’re playing is so short yet fun that you can literally beat it in one or two sittings? That’s developer Soleil Ltd. and Square Enix’s Valkyrie Elysium. Now, I originally wasn’t going to write a review or anything for this, so I didn’t write any notes, which is unheard of for me. Thing is, I enjoyed it immensely, so like the game, I’ll write something short. Funny enough, and I hate repeating myself, especially in such a small period of time, but this game gave me the exact feeling I got playing Asterigos. With that said, let’s quickly get to it! And by quick, I mean quick for once, not another one of my 3000-word pieces where I go stupidly in-depth. Instead, it’ll be more like other video game reviewers: rushed, short, and lacking detail.

Odin Turning His Blind Eye To The Story!

Let’s start with the “bad” first: this will be quick. But before the story summary, a fast note. During gameplay you may want to start your favorite podcast. Because with a story like this, you rarely need to pay attention. You play as Maria: a Valkyrie Odin creates to stop the completion of Ragnarok while helping him heal. As Maria, you mindlessly run errands for Odin like a new character in an MMO. All while protecting and purifying souls. Along the way, you meet others that have their own agendas who either oppose or join you. Sorry, if you’re looking for a bigger, better Norse story with Ragnarok attached to it, that’s next month. Although it does improve later on, just never enough for you to care. Also, in our lord and savior’s year of 2022, WHY CAN’T I PAUSE THE GODDAMN CUTSCENE.

Valkyrie Elysium | Soleil Ltd. and Square Enix

A Renaissance Painting In Motion

Looks like we’re doing the reverse of, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. However, the graphics could be considered not bad and not good. So let’s call it “baod” Valkyrie Elysium is going for an interesting look that resembles cell shading while being its own thing. Kinda as if Babylon Fall’s Renaissance painting style actually worked. Sometimes the black borders of the buildings and other objects stick out in an ugly manner, but you just need to remember: you also hide blemishes that peak out; I know I do. Running this on a PS5 on a 4K Monitor does make the blemishes noticeable. However, at no point did the graphics bother me or make my eyes bleed. It helps that the game runs well with no noticeable FPS drops or crashes. Unlike a lot of other recent games.

Although the lip sync is off to the point, it’s a little off-putting and doesn’t improve the already drab cutscenes.

How The Hell Is Almost Everyone So Damn Fine!?

Odin is hot. Sound the Gjallarhorn, by golly, is the asshole All-Father looking good and quite young! Besides the gameplay, designs would be the second thing I like, A.K.A: The Good. This excels in the character’s main designs, especially Maria and Hilda. However, one of the few downsides in design is the locals. They are just boring. I get we’re just barely surviving during these troubling times, but give us some color, it’s understandable that everything’s sad and dreary, but that doesn’t mean make the landscape boring. Meaning: Get used to the same uninspired buildings and colors.

A lot of the same enemies are fought, and the designs aren’t bad, just used often. I understand people get annoyed by the lack of enemy variation, but it honestly never bothered me. I’m killing something most times, so I don’t care what it looks like unless it’s a boss.

Valkyrie Elysium | Soleil Ltd. and Square Enix
Daddy Odin

Buttery Smooth Fast Paced Fighting That’ll Please Any God

If Designs were “The Good,” gameplay would be “The Phenomenal.” Yes, I know that’s not part of the film title, but bear with me. Valkyrie Elysium’s gameplay may be one of the few reasons to play this. Finally, harking to what I hate doing, this feels like the PS2 era of hack and slash, whereas you’ll have addicting gameplay but a subpar story. I mean, seriously, what was God of War about? What was the devil in Devil May Cry crying about? Don’t lie, all you remember is those sick-ass SSS combos you were pulling while guzzling an unhealthy beverage and chips, then mom walks in in the middle of a God of War mini-game: you know the one…

I saved this for last because it’s literally the saving grace and the reason I enjoy it so much. I totally see myself replaying constantly to level everything up. Be that as it may, what makes Valkyrie Elysium’s combat so fun? First off, it is fast as hell. Nothing beats getting home from work and killing some demons/monsters with insane fast-paced combat to relax and let out your anger. But this next move is what really takes Valkyrie Elysium’s combat to the next level – the Soul Chain. Think Nero’s arm grab from DMC, but you fling towards them. Not only is this fun and fluid as hell, but it really helps chain your combos together.

Valkyrie Elysium | Soleil Ltd. and Square Enix
Valkyrie Elysium | Soleil Ltd. and Square Enix

Talking about combos: Valkyrie Elysium’s combo meter is incredibly relaxed. Once you get a combo going, the gauge stays for a while even when not hitting enemies. Plus, if you get hit once, it doesn’t stop; normally, it takes a few hits. But what is fighting without…magic? Here you have elemental magic that hits HARD. If you hit an enemy with enough magic, they’re weak against, they will have an elemental crush. This causes them to be stunned and give more gems (to level stuff up) when crushed. You get a lot of these spells but only have four buttons for them. This small amount is fine, as you can pause and quickly change the spells mid-combat.

Last but not least, in the positives: each weapon feels unique with different pros, cons, and moves lists. However, only being able to have two equipped limits your killing ability, but just like the spells, you can pause and swap.

Finally a quick list of the bad.

  • The run is slow as hell.
  • Why can’t I break stuff with my dodge? Stopping to hit stuff kills momentum.
  • Einherjar’s (Valkyrie Elysium’s summoning system) isn’t bad, but also not as fun as the other elements.
  • As usual with fast-paced action games, the camera can get incredibly annoying and get you killed.
  • For a game that encourages exploring, yet docks your mission rank for being slow: why is there no minimap? It gets annoying constantly checking the full map.

I Could Go On About The Action, But This Was A Jason Quickie (Review)

Okay, so I rarely say this because a lot of hard work goes into making games. But, with everything growing in prices, you really need to be picky with what games you pay full price and ones you wait for on sale. It’s all subjective to you, the person spending the money. You may not think a game deserves to be full price, yet another thinks the opposite. For me Valkyrie Elysium is worth the $60s for the amount of the game I have played and will play. After beating it once, I already want to beat and level everything up, then get the trophy. However, when a story is good, that’s great. But as much as I love a good story, gameplay matters most, and that’s where this game excels; it’s in the combat. So for someone wanting Valkyrie Elysium that cares more about story, or a fine mix of those, you won’t get that, and you’re better off waiting on a sale. I absolutely love the gameplay and feel justified in what I played. Be that as it may, others may want to wait for a sale.

If you’re interested in checking out Valkyrie Elysium, there is a demo on PS4/PS5 (the game is only on there and later on PC). The action alone is worth trying the demo, as it’s seriously a blast. I had no interest in the game until I played the demo and fell in love with the combat.

By Jason Jeffords Jr

Jason may not be good at making bios, but they sure can survive the frozen crime-ridden tundra and believes that they're semi-okay at writing about things they enjoy. Wanna see more of their word massacres? Check out their Twitter - @JJRwrites

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