by Adam Wall
Have you ever been excited about a game and then wanted to poke your eyes out after playing it for a couple of hours? If not, I suggest you pick up a copy of Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga and then you can feel like I did. Because there is no point in fluffing up something with little value, I’ll just lay it out there.
One, the story is ridiculously derivative. Perhaps the co-publishing partnership of Marvelous Entertainment and XSEED Games ought to have better vetted this game before sending it to market. It feels like they should have at least hired some decent writers to clean up the translation of the Japanese to English.
Two, if I wanted to play a dankly colored game that makes me feel like I’m endlessly wandering through fog on the black-and-white moors of England…well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t and leave it at that (although the sentence I just wrote is so much more deeply poetic than all of anything I saw in this game).
Three, the only, and I mean only, bright spot in the game is the real-time navigation and visual acquisition of enemies while wandering around versus the usual blind-side of any other RPG I’ve played. It is nice to know an attack is coming or can be avoided and that the fighting once begun is not turn-based but actually a real-time battle.
Four, number three is almost instantly negated by the ridiculous in-game menu navigation (bolstered by a poorly organized 40-page booklet). I’d say literally here but I know what the word actually means. Nearly everything you do in this game has to be verified or backed out of with A button or B button commands letting the game know that you’ve read each and every sentence of dialogue or that yes, you’re done taking a cure vial and would like to continue swinging the sword.
Five, this game is on the flippin’ Wii of all consoles! Utilize the capabilities of the system! People didn’t buy the PlayStation 3 to play Pong and I didn’t buy a Wii so I could play a game that is designed around a classic remote control. They integrated real-time sword fights into play and what am I doing? I’m pressing A for a quick attack, B for a strong attack, and wiggling the remote for a special attack if I’ve saved up enough power! That’s all they’ve got? Methinks they pressed development too quickly.
There’s no hook with this game. Parts of the learning curve are steep and confusing and the landscape is drab, derivative, repetitive, and nothing about the game play is efficient or enticing. There are bits and pieces of great design and forethought. But they are teeny, tiny details. In an electronically rendered fantasy world where the designers could have done anything they wanted in creating a beautiful, engaging environment, they lost the forest for the trees.
Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga is rated T for Teen and is available on store shelves now. A copy of this game was provided to The Married Gamers from XSEED Games for the purposes of review and evaluation.
Married Gamers Grade: D+