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We spent some time together Valkyrie Elysium and its new demo ahead of its release this month.
The demo begins ominously with an animated sequence explaining the events of Ragnarok and how Odin and Fenrir fought to the death. In his final moments, Odin creates a new legion of warriors meant to manage all his creations. It is implied that the Valkyrie are these warriors.
There is not much story presented after this explanatory introduction. The main character’s name is even mentioned and is referred to only as “Valkyrie”. Gameplay begins almost immediately and is hands-off for the majority of the demo.
Fans of Valkyrie profile games will be at a loss. The way the demo unfolds, that’s clear Valkyrie Elysium will have little or no connections to Lenneth or Silmeria.
The events surrounding Odin and Ragnarok are inconsistent with previous games, and even his design is more reminiscent of the historical depictions than the appearance of the father in the PlayStation game.
Valkyrie profile was a series of games that began as a turn-based RPG and gradually moved towards action since the first sequel on the PlayStation 2. While Valkyrie Elysium may seem like a reboot, but it adapts many ideas to its full stylish action combat.
Einherjar used to be recruitable party members for turn-based battles, now they are extensions of Valkyrie’s abilities. Instantly callable from mapped face buttons; Einherjar have their own elemental properties and cause different effects on enemies.
Valkyrie Elysium‘s demo shows that with just a few Einherjar, the fight has a lot of depth and potential.
String combos are simple, but using these warriors’ souls effectively mid-combo for juggling and crowd control is fruitful with possibilities. Valkyrie also has a grappling hook where she can quickly zip from enemy to enemy and cover a lot of ground effectively.
The flow of combat feels smooth and satisfying. Valkyrie always has a lot of options at her disposal, even this early in the game in a demo no less.
There is room for improvement. Valkyrie Elysium is no Devil May Cry 5; cancel feels a little on the slow side, which is unbecoming of a powerful goddess. Her movements can also feel a bit sluggish and it takes a little too long before she starts her sprint.
For what this demo version of Valkyrie Elysium offers, there may be ways for the final game to expand and refine this solid foundation. The visuals won’t impress anyone.
The graphics in Valkyrie Elysium looks like something from the seventh console generation and has that overly clean sheen that was present in most games from that era.
Character models look solid, but aren’t amazing like most late-gen PlayStation 4 Square Enix games. Valkyrie has an attractive figure and the artists clearly put a lot of effort into making sure she looked good from most angles.
Her draping attire sashays and flutters, but not realistically. The team makes Valkyrie Elysium is a small team and is likely working under tight constraints and has a deadline to meet.
Their efforts are commendable and if this was an indie game it would be impressive.
The production quality in general is all over the place. Some images look incredible and are dense with fine details.
The ornate structures and otherworldly vistas suggest there’s a confident artistic vision at work, but then Valkyrie has a really silly Naruto-style run and Valkyrie Elysium become comical.
With a deeper look at the last game, Valkyrie Elysium can come together and feel more like a coherent vision. There are some nuances of Stranger of paradise here.
The uneven production values and emphasis on over-the-top brutal action make Valkyrie feel like Jack Garland’s sister.
From his Dark souls-esque UI design and Devil May Cry-inspired action, Valkyrie Elysium looks like a mix of different action game pastiches. There’s also a grappling hook, something so many games have now that it’s becoming a cliché – even Eternal doom had one.
Aside from the use of Einherjar and Matoi Sakuraba’s music, there isn’t much that connects Valkyrie Elysium to Profile. There may be more to it, and in context the things in the demo will make more sense, but it’s hard to wonder how all these elements will connect to the larger story.
Valkyrie Elysium is set to launch first on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on September 29, while Windows PC (via Steam) version will be released on November 11, 2022.