Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga

The game makes a lousy impression right off the bat

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XSEED Games Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga
  • XSEED Games Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga
  • XSEED Games Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga

Pros

  • Lots of stats, classes, items, and abilities to futz around with

Cons

  • Frustrating combat; hideous visuals; poor storytelling; irritating sound effects

Bottom Line

There's really no good reason to suffer Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga--it's ugly, broken, and seems hellbent on depriving you of fun at every opportunity.

Would you buy this?

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    TBA (AUD)
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"The most fun I had with Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga was watching a defeated enemy's corpse glitch through a suspended platform into the air below. The game crashed on a loading screen soon afterwards." Ouch. When the only entertainment you can derive from a game come from the ridiculous glitches and bugs, you know you're not in for a good time, as Heidi learned while playing through this terribly flawed RPG.

I usually have a lot of fun with dungeon-romping RPGs, particularly when the title offers lots of stats to augment, loot to collect, and elements to customise. But even when a game offers all of these, it's hard for me to find any fun when they're buried deep inside a hideously flawed game.

The game makes a lousy impression right off the bat. The art design was apparently headed by an individual whose unique colorblindness rendered them unable to see anything that wasn't dark gray or brown. The low-res textures don't help, either--I frequently lost track of what was going on thanks to unclear visuals. I've seen numerous 3D DS games that looked far more appealing than this.

I soon found that the gameplay was every bit as bad as the visuals. The combat is typical 3D action-RPG fare, albeit horribly broken. There isn't much strategy involved--you basically mash buttons and wait for things to die. But if you don't frequently lock-on to enemies, your attack combos will only end up slicing through air. And while your attacks will often be evaded, enemies seem to have 100% accuracy. You can't quick-dodge or actively guard an enemy's attack, either: you can only try to quickly retreat. Meanwhile, your weapons may break, leaving you seriously handicapped, but you can only change your equipment in towns. And should you die, you'll not only be penalised half your money, but several random items from your inventory. (At one point I had finished an objective in a dungeon only to die and revive with no recovery items, almost busted weapons, and no money to buy so much as a healing vial. I had little choice but to reset and try again.) And magic? Forget it--it's costly and slow. Even elements I usually like about dungeon-crawlers are busted: stats are too numerous and confusing, hard-won items and abilities often don't benefit your character the way you'd like, and you can't pick any race besides a human until you slog through the first half of the game and have a child to take over as the main character.

There just isn't anything redeeming about Valhalla Knights at all. The story (involving collecting magical fragments of an ancient meteorite) is dull, and the NPC interactions wholly forgettable. Even the music, done by famed composer Motoi Sakuraba is disappointing, with most BGM petering out after a few seconds to make way for loud, obnoxious ambient sounds and the constant banging of your character's footsteps. Oh, the footsteps. I know "lead foot" is an idiom, but whenever you walk it sounds like a large weight repeatedly smacking the ground and it never ceases. Even the Wi-Fi co-op sucks--you can only use it if you know another player with the game and have their friend code. If you manage to find a monster-mashing partner, the resulting experience just proves that misery loves company as you get to hear twice the thunderous feet-stomping.

There's really no good reason to suffer Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga--it's ugly, broken, and seems hellbent on depriving you of fun at every opportunity. Even if you're hard up for a Wii RPG, you're better off skipping it and never looking back. Meanwhile, I'll be hearing those footsteps echoing endlessly in my nightmares.

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