Review by Neh_Nekojin
"This dungeon crawler makes me feel like crawling in my skin."
To tell the truth, I was quite excited about Valhalla Knights for a long time, but then I started to hear some disturbing reports about the quality of the game. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a shot anyway. What I found is a slightly above average game with some serious balance and difficulty issues. Let's take a look.
The graphics in VK shine for a fully 3D dungeon crawler. The character models are attractive and everything you equip shows up on your in game avatar. Dungeons can get a little dull but it's not as bad as I've seen in some games. The various monster models are not bad, but they definitely use some quite a few palette swaps, or add a minor detail that you may not always catch. They're not the best graphics on the system but they're definitely not bad at all.
The game falls apart here a bit. While I didn't expect anything epic, the music is for the most part totally forgettable. The sound effects are not that great either, with the sword swings in particular being bad. However, nothing incredibly grating on the ears is here, so it's at least average.
For the most part, the game plays well and is easy to control. It's tough to make sure you hit the enemy you want in battle, sometimes, as even locking on just makes you face the enemy. You might still hit something you didn't mean to, especially with a special attack, which can be deadly if you needed to take out a specific target. One huge issue I have with this game is the camera during the field portions. It's very easy to have the camera get caught up on a room doorway or something and start spazzing out, and eventually you end up running back into the room. It's an easy fix by going into FP mode for a second, but it shouldn't be an issue at all.
Here is where the game loses most of its points. There is an incredible amount of character customization in this game, but sadly you won't even care about half the stats you can increase. You'll be pumping one of three main stats depending on your class, so it's really just an illusion of freedom. There are several classes available in the game, 4 initial ones (one of which is useless because you can't even get a weapon for its specialty until a few hours into the game) and 4-5 advanced classes you can earn by finding cards from enemies. The game pretty much forces you to have a Priest in your group as well. The main issue with using a party in this game is levelling speed. As you add more members to your party, the amount of Exp you gain is actually reduced, and then further divided among party members. It's a maddening gameplay mechanic that serves no real purpose but to inflate the hour count of the game. The battles for the most part aren't challenging at all, but if you try to fight something that gives decent experience for a 4-5 character group, you may get destroyed. This leads to a LOT of grinding. Some people don't mind this, but the majority of players will. It's not fun for most people to fight endless battles, getting 20 exp a fight, when you need 1500 exp to level.
If the battles were engaging, it might be more fun, but most of them just turn into a button mashing fest, where you may or may not try to actually avoid taking damage (it usually doesn't matter as your Priest is usually pretty good about healing you and MP charges as you walk around the dungeon).
If the tough as nails grinding doesn't faze you, this is an extremely long lived game and well worth your time and money. The graphics are good, the music is passable, and the gameplay may just be your forte. But for the average gamer, Valhalla Knights asks too much, for too little in immediate returns and gratification.
This is a slightly above average game that doesn't have much to set it apart from the rest of the pack. If you don't mind a tough grind, confusing quests, and dwarves that are taller than you are (what?), it's a decent game and worth your time. Those of you who want the next quick, easy RPG fix may want to look elsewhere.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 04/23/07
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