Valhalla Knights Hands-On

We take a stroll through Xseed Games' upcoming PSP role-playing game.

Valhalla Knights is the upcoming PlayStation Portable role-playing game from publisher Xseed Games and developer Marvelous Entertainment. This original game was developed specifically for the PSP and plays around with many elements from the conventional RPG formula we've been seeing for years. We had the chance to try out a near-final version of the game and see how it's coming together.

With an amnesiac hero and a dark lord of terror, Valhalla Knights sounds like either an RPG or an ABC daytime soap.

The game's story draws on a couple of RPG staples: an amnesiac hero and an evil lord that shatters the idyllic life of a peaceful people. You'll play the role of said amnesiac who's on a hunt for his memories. Your search is guaranteed to be bumpy because the land is still suffering from the unsettling influence of the battle that ended the dark lord's reign. The good news is that a noble hero put him down. The bad news is that, metaphorically speaking, some eggs were broken to make the omelet that stopped the big bad lord. As a result, the land was messed up something good and has remained that way, giving everything a bleak layer of despair, which is not the ideal environment for an amnesiac looking to find his way in the world.

The action in the game follows the standard RPG conventions closely. Your time is going to be divided between talking to folks in town, taking on quests, adventuring, and coming back to town to work the whole cycle again. As you go about your business, you'll level up your character, get new gear, get yourself a party, and generally get bigger and better as you play. Though it sounds pretty standard, there are some nice touches included to keep things interesting. You'll be able to customize your amnesiac alter ego by picking his or her sex and class, as well as by tweaking his or her attributes. You'll also be able to do the same to the party members you get. You'll need traveling buddies to help out on the various quests you'll pick up at the local guild, which will send you into all manner of dangerous areas, stabbing and casting your way to your various goals.

The game's combat system is a real-time brawl between you and your party members and whatever evil critter crosses your path. You'll move around in real time and be able to melee your enemy assisted, when you bring them along, by your artificial-intelligence-controlled party members. Melee offers two options: a pretty meager normal attack and a special attack that unleashes a powerful blow. The one bit of the action that isn't real time, thankfully, is spell selection. Hitting up on the D pad will call up a spell menu and let you target enemies. While this is going on, the action freezes, so you don't get mowed down while doing your business. You'll still have to worry about casting the spell, which you can be knocked out of if you're too close to your enemy. Successfully defeating enemies yields experience that levels up your character. While leveling is pretty standard, Valhalla Knights lets you switch your character class as needed, which adds a bit of strategy into the mix.

The visuals in the game feature a stylized look that plays to the PSP's strengths. Characters are a little on the blocky side but do feature a good amount of detail. The environments are a good mix of sizes, offering wide-open spaces and more claustrophobic indoor areas. Although there are a decent number of non-player characters to interact with in the world, the locales we've explored so far are a little on the barren side. The enemies we've seen are run-of-the-mill slimes and assorted baddies that fall into the standard archetypes you'd expect out of an RPG. One thing that hurts the presentation is the game's color palette, which is muted. While it captures the "things are bad" vibe, it also gives the game a bland look.

Combat is a mostly real-time affair, and your characters will be dealing the pain with both melee and spell attacks.

The audio takes an understated approach that is pretty retro. You'll hear a mellow score that hits all the notes you'd expect in terms of themes. You'll get standard town themes, as well as combat music. Combat will be punctuated by attack effects for melee and spells. The one area that's pretty thin, though, is voice, of which there is next to none. Though it's a minor thing, it's a noticeable omission when you consider how accustomed we've become to hearing chatty PSP games.

Based on what we played, Valhalla Knights is shaping up to be a solid RPG for the PSP that should please fans of the genre. The game covers all its bases and has all the ingredients fans would want. The story covers familiar territory but looks like it's going to have some twists to keep it interesting. The gameplay is solid, though some may find it to be a bit too by the numbers in some areas. However, there's a fair amount of depth to be explored in the job-and-partner system to keep things engaging. While there are definitely some rough spots to it, Valhalla Knights looks as though it's going to offer the PSP some much-needed RPG action. Look for a full review of the game next month.

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Discussion

63 comments
Subtanarian
Subtanarian

Sounds like it will be an excellent RPG. I like the system so far, it sounds much like the original valkyrie profile games to me. Looks like there are some things that gamespot doesn't like about it but say it is great. I have faith that the flaws, if any will not be noticeable. Look forward to playing the game very much.

DanteDiPasquale
DanteDiPasquale

Valk Profile - Len was originally a Playstation game that I played the crap out of so I have little urge to run out and buy it again though I'm sure it has its additions. And this is hardly biased... at ALL in fact. Maybe if you consider the fact its done from a gamer's point of view and not some random Joe -- but thats what were looking for anyway.

W_Claiborne
W_Claiborne

Biased repoting gamespot... very biased

eva360
eva360

The psp has a good RPG guys, it's called Valkarie Profile: Lenneth. Worth every last penny! I just bought it 3 weeks ago and it is awesome. Why is it awesome? Because the gameplay is good and the story is 1 of a kind. Nothing about that game is average and seen a million times. Pick it up next time your at the store.

cell-revo-
cell-revo-

They better not screw this game up, the psp needs a good rpg

R3volver
R3volver

w00t always good to see a new RPG. This one looks pretty good, so lets hope it plays good too.

Magna_Graecia
Magna_Graecia

Just the fact that it's an RPG without a %^&*ing number after its name is a promising sign. That alone makes it worth the price of admission! Now if you excuse me, I have to go reserve Disgaea for the PSP.. (^_^);

hazardious
hazardious

the name sounds cool .... but i really hope its a good rpg

Booomanx
Booomanx

I CAN'T WAIT EITHER!!!!!!!!!!!!

stubbies1
stubbies1

finally the psp needs a good rpg

Aang007
Aang007

are all you people fogeting!!!!!!!!!.......ELDER SCROLLS IS COMING TO PSP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO ELDER SCROLLS ROCKS THIS IS NOTHING COMPARED TO ELDER SCROLLS WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aang007
Aang007

i tottally agree with dominican princ 3 i love MGS portable ops! this looks like monster hunter freedom to me especially because the combat system this game has it looks exactly like monster hunter freedom combat wise.

GameBox47
GameBox47

Finnally, a great PSP RPG. Do you think there will be a demo?

Hive7311
Hive7311

GameStop still has it on preorder for August, so thats what I'm holding out for...

alzayem
alzayem

A reason to sit on my couch with my face stuck in my PSP again, I'll take it ! Still can't wait for FF Crisis Core though, and what in the world ever happened to Silent Hill Origins?? It's the reason I bought a PSP. Does anyone know? Konami even pulled it from their site.

Kikai_Viper
Kikai_Viper

I`ve played the Japanese version of this game a while back and it`s pretty standard alright. You`ll get everything you expect, except perhaps for some quirky changes to the standard formula (the dwarves are taller than everyone else! wtf?). Nevertheless, it`s an ok game with a fast paced combat system and it`s actually pretty hard. The only thing that irritated me with this game was the constant slow-downs that occured when you had a full party of six battling an equal amount of monsters. Horrible! Well, if you can live with that, it`s a decent, solid RPG game that, on one hand, won`t give you any surprises, but probably won`t dissapoint you either.

overachiever92
overachiever92

Sounds pretty by-the-books, and (dare I say?) boring. But, if they can pull it off correctly, this might just be that "perfect (if generic) RPG" that the PSP needs.

NinjaBlade753
NinjaBlade753

Sounds like this is a game thats worth getting a PSP for....finally.

DoMiNicaNprinc3
DoMiNicaNprinc3

truly dis is what we need more of for the psp and eventually I want 2 see the sequel to MGS portible ops (THIS HAS BEEN TRULY THE BEST GAME RELEASED YET FOR THE PSP)

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

A reason to sit on my couch with my face stuck in my PSP again, I'll take it ! Still can't wait for FF Crisis Core though, and what in the world ever happened to Silent Hill Origins?? It's the reason I bought a PSP. Does anyone know? Konami even pulled it from their site.

ArmanX18
ArmanX18

it looks good however i guess nothing will beat ff crisis core ;) but it looks pretty good

HellSin69
HellSin69

w00t for PSP rpgs i have a reason to pick up my PSP again

VanGriffin
VanGriffin

I want this one!! So happy to see an original PSP RPG again!

steve__2004
steve__2004

sounds good but it'll probably be bad :(

speculative
speculative

This looks like an interesting title. The PSP is definitely proving itself in the graphics department...

elliotballistic
elliotballistic

sweet! it's about time there was a great RPG for psp ^_^

goyolap
goyolap

It this game manage to get 8.7 it will be only worth playing rpg of the psp but from the looks of it can be great game but the story tell aaaaaaaa I forgot

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Well it looks alright. But amnesia? That's pretty unimaginative, that has been done so many times in RPGs it's getting a little annoying.

CrimzonTide
CrimzonTide

Well, Crisis Core isn't coming out so thats a hard thing to say...

mingfu
mingfu

worst rpg game!!!!!!! Crisis core is way better!!!!!!!!!

payforaday
payforaday

RPGs never turn out all that good on the PSP. Maybe this will be the first one to turn out great.

Blace_07
Blace_07

Game Informer said this game was horrible, so my I'm not going to be expecting much. (they gave it like a 4.5/10)

B-bad
B-bad

Cant wait to finally play it.

damann22
damann22

maybe thats the rpg that will be worthy to the psp

JustQuest
JustQuest

Looks pretty sweet im glad that the psp is getting a good share of enjoyable rpg's. :)

zsc4
zsc4

Sound cool, but its on PSP. O well I guess I wont be getting it :(

Dangalf
Dangalf

this preview sounds like they were trying to be positive as they could about another mediocre RPG

Dualmask
Dualmask

Looks interesting, real time combat and character customization are two of my favorite things... :)

nevereathim
nevereathim

Looking good, it's looking really good