“Valhalla Knights 2” is a role-playing game (RPG) for the Playstation Portable released by Xseed games and is the sequel to 2007s “Valhalla Knights.” Despite the many flaws it had, the original “Valhalla Knights” became a popular role-playing game (RPG).
While “Valhalla Knights 2” does show some improvements over the original game, it still suffers from a number of boneheaded design choices that will undoubtedly ruin the game for people who did not play the original game.
However, those who are willing to give the game some time will likely find that its strong character creation and customization system mostly makes up for the game’s major shortcomings.
Unlike the original Valhalla Knights, “Valhalla Knights 2” has a story that gives a premise to all the dungeon-crawling you get to do in the game. The story tells of a wrathful goddess who besieged the world with destruction and chaos. Fortunately, before the goddess can completely destroy the world, a witch known simply as the Witch of the Crystal manages to drive back the goddess and gives the world time to rebuild until it can grow strong enough to finish the goddess off.
Years later, the main character, which you create from scratch at the start of the game, has his or her orphanage burned down by soldiers looking for heretics, that is, those who still worship the goddess. After being saved by the Lactroci, who are adventurers who work for the government, the main character gains the desire to join the Lactroci ranks, become a hero, and assist in defeating the goddess.
The story material used here is far from the best seen in RPGs, but ultimately “Valhalla Knights 2’s” story is a decent one, and is an improvement over its predecessor.
If there is any major flaw with the story, it is the pace at which it moves. This is because many of the quests in the game have absolutely no relation to the main storyline. As a result, the story generally moves as slow as molasses.
When you first start the game, you are swiftly introduced to “Valhalla Knights 2’s” character creation and customization system, which is unquestionably the game’s strongest aspect. The game offers seven races to choose from, including humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, machines, and more. The game also offers 10 job classes, including fighter, mage, thief, advanced jobs like knight and enchanter and more.
The character customization in “Valhalla Knights 2” is quite robust. Given enough time and experience, all of your characters can take up to three jobs to change what abilities they have at their disposal, which gives you a lot of freedom in how your characters develop. The game even lets you edit and improve each character’s artificial intelligence (AI), which is a nice touch.
The best thing about “Valhalla Knights 2’s” character creation and customization is that, with only a few exceptions, all of the characters you enlist into your party are created using this versatile system. This means that your party, which can have up to six active members at any time, can be completely custom-tailored to how you want to play the game. The character customization goes a long way to making the dungeon-crawling much more endearing.
“Valhalla Knights 2” is a “dungeon crawler,” so the bulk of your time in the game will be spent accepting quests and then entering the various dungeons in the game to complete them.
Unlike many other RPGs, “Valhalla Knights 2” has no random encounters. Instead, all enemy encounters are visible in the world and can be walked into to initiate combat, or can be avoided all together.
The combat in “Valhalla Knights 2” is done completely in real time. Your party faces enemy groups containing up to six enemies. In combat, you control one party member of your choice while all your other party members are controlled by the AI.
This is a very simple system that works well enough and can be enjoyable due to its blisteringly fast pace. Ultimately, the combat system is probably too fast for its own good. Battles move so quickly that basic actions such as item usage and even spell usage are a bit too sluggish in practice, despite the fact that shortcuts are provided. Unless you quickly memorize these shortcuts and the game’s clunky combat interface, you will probably find yourself leaving these actions to the AI.
“Valhalla Knights 2” also suffers from a number of major shortcomings with the game’s quest structure. The majority of the quests task you to defeat a specific amount of enemies, find a specific item, and more. But the game also includes a bevy of pointless fetch quests which are completely devoid of any dungeon exploration and combat. These quests would have been more bearable if they advanced the storyline more often, but most of them do not, leaving the question of why Xseed decided to include them in the game.
Along with the single player story, “Valhalla Knights 2” also offers ad-hoc multiplayer modes for up to two players. The multiplayer uses the characters that players have created during the single player and allows players to either pit their parties against each other, or play through a variety of cooperative missions.
The big show stopper for the multiplayer is a complete lack of balance for parties of different levels. The difficulty in multiplayer is set by the highest levels of the characters being used. So if someone uses a party at a much lower level than someone else’s, they are guaranteed to have a hard time.
An even more serious issue with “Valhalla Knights 2” is with the dungeons themselves and the complete lack of a reliable teleport system. Since you are forced to travel through earlier dungeons to reach the more advanced ones, there are plenty of long and boring walks in the game. You also have to tolerate this when going back to town, since the item that allows you to teleport back to town is expensive and relatively rare. It is also incredibly unfortunate that the game only has one lone save slot for saved data.
The graphics in “Valhalla Knights 2” are below par, although there are a few graphical aspects that are done well. The character models have a decent amount of detail to them, especially considering that their appearance changes depending on their equipment. The animation however, ranges from decent to laughably bad. The game includes a wide variety of environments, including a forest, a swamp, caves, and more, but they all suffer from hordes of low-resolution textures. Matters are only made worse by the fact that there can also be large amounts of slowdown during battles in certain environments.
The audio in “Valhalla Knights 2” is more consistent than the graphics, though this unfortunately does not amount to much. The music in the game is unimpressive, though it fortunately never gets annoying either. The sound effects also fail to stand out, but are still decent.
Whether “Valhalla Knights 2” is worth checking out ultimately depends on whether or not you are willing to put some time into playing it and experiencing the character creation and customization systems used. People who are willing to do this may find that the character customization in the game is capable of single-handedly making up for most of the game’s flaws.
If you are a fan of the original game, or want a dungeon crawler that you can really sink some time into, Valhalla Knights 2 is ultimately worth a look. Anyone else interested in the game however should rent it first to see how they like the character customization before dedicating themselves to a purchase.
Release Date: Oct 1.
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for everyone 10 and older, alcohol and tobacco reference, mild language, violence
Retail Price: $29.99
Availability: Retail stores and online vendors.
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars