By Spencer . April 17, 2007 . 12:21am
Katie has been plugging through Valhalla Knights, while I just started playing the game this weekend. I think something that hasn’t been made clear about Valhalla Knights is that it is not a story driven RPG. There is a flimsy story where you play as a human hero with no memory who is guided by a mysterious voice as the setting, but if you are the kind of RPG fan who wants to “see what happens next” there isn’t much to see. Instead Valhalla Knights is more of a dungeon crawler with a real time combat system.
You start Valhalla Knights by making a hero, a ragged warrior or mage who only has a weapon to his/her name. There are four basic classes to choose from a fighter, priest, mage or thief. I’m not sure if I made a bad choice, but I made a thief who supposedly excels in ranged weapon combat. However, after exploring the Old Prison dungeon I haven’t found a single crossbow to try out. Instead I’ve been doing simple fetch quests at the guild. See the thing about Valhalla Knights is you can’t progress too far in the dungeons. You get to points where the monsters are clearly much stronger than you. Your only options are to spend time doing quests to gain gold and earn extra experience from fighting monsters or die trying to run to the next area. Starting out is rough and you will probably get wiped out unless you have a healer in your party. The smartest thing to do with the 500 gold you get when you start the game is spend it at the guild to recruit a new elf priest. Priests automatically come with the aid spell to recover HP and with it you will be able to survive in the dungeon longer. You might even consider saving the gold you earned from doing quests to get a third and fourth member (an offensive mage perhaps?) before purchasing any additional equipment.
The problem with the battles is you are going to face a pack of six slimes at once. If you’re alone and outnumbered the six slimes will chip away at your HP before you can defeat two of them. Battles in Valhalla Knights are in real time so you can run around in circles to dodge attacks but a magical circle prevents you from running away forever. When you want to attack you press O or X and if you press it in set intervals you can do mini combos. There are different ways to customize how your hero attacks, mostly by equipment. If you have a knife you do a slash than a thrust, if you equip a sword you have tow wide ranged slashes. Or you can maximize your horizontal range of attack by equipping two swords and do a scissor slice when you press O. Each hit charges up the skill gauge and when it is shining hit triangle to do a powerful finishing strike. If you’re playing a magic using character the pressing up on the D-pad brings up the magic menu. Spells take time to cast and if you are hit while chanting your spell will cancel. Once a battle is over the monster might turn into a chest and you can pick up bonus gold or a new item. Similar to Diablo and other dungeon RPGs many of the items you will find need to be appraised before using them. You can carry portable appraisal cards to unlock items right away or head back to the guild to find out if your shortsword is anything special.
Like other quest dependent games you’re always going back to the guild for a new mission or to the inn to recover HP and then you head back into the dungeon to face skeletons. There is a little more to Valhalla Knights like a clever artificial intelligence system where you distribute bonus thought points that boosts your party members AI and robots that I haven’t found yet. Still looking for robots.