Valkyrie Elysium review: a cult-classic made average

Valkyrie Elysium

MSRP $59.99

“Valkyrie Elysium delivers a median motion experience that fails to revive a classic RPG series.”


  • Beautiful world
  • Decent combat


  • Extremely basic story
  • Cardboard characters
  • Lack of depth
  • No exploration

Square Enix has been on a roll recently in terms of reviving dormant franchises and remaking its classics. That process kicked off in earnest with Final Fantasy VII Remake, but the corporate has kept things moving since then. There’s been a latest Front Mission here, one other Star Ocean there, and now an addition to the Valkyrie series with the recent release of Valkyrie Elysium.

The inherent trouble with this latest initiative is that these projects should live as much as all of the expectations and nostalgia its players still strongly feel. Within the case of Valkyrie Elysium‘s original predecessor, Valkyrie Profile, that’s an excellent larger problem on account of its cult classic status. The difference between these two isn’t just the generational gap or gameplay changes, but the dearth of effort and innovation that Valkyrie Elysium brings to the table in a world where we’ve seen Japanese role-playing games and motion integration perfected repeatedly.

Simplistic story

The biggest weakness of Valkyrie Elysium comes from its very simple story, which boils all the way down to “Ragnarok is coming. Go fight and save the world.” You play as Nora, a latest Valkyrie who has to finish this task as ordered by Odin. She follows this command until a predictable plot twist that you simply’ll see from a mile away turns her against the all-father.

Valkyrie recruiting a knight.

Everyone has a personality constructed out of cardboard, including the journey’s important hero, Nora Valkyrie. There have been no narrative hooks for me to get invested in, which made me feel like many of the development attention went to the combat and visuals as an alternative. That wouldn’t be an issue if this was a totally fleshed-out motion romp, but it surely struggles to deliver in that department too.

Average motion

When going into Valkyrie Elysium, all I could take into consideration was how far JRPGs have come as a genre. After tackling games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Scarlet Nexus, and Tales of Arise, I could only imagine how Elysium would follow of their footsteps and deliver an motion experience for casual and hardcore players while perfectly meshing with the role-playing genre. That is where Elysium really struggles.

Valkyrie Elysium took all of the depth I hoped to search out in a contemporary action-RPG and threw it to the side in favor of something that feels even emptier than what many expect from something like a Dynasty Warriors game. From a gameplay standpoint, it’s a bare experience. You’ll find no dodge cancels, jump cancels, huge combos, or advanced tactics here, making its combat a little bit of a button mash-fest.

valkyrie elysium gameplay fight

The simplistic approach to combat seems like it’s only built for one audience. Sure, players who need to turn off their brains and hit buttons can be fulfilled, but that’s about it. Even so, those players will still run into some issues. The explanation you possibly can’t cancel an motion is because you possibly can’t act out of an attack string. Once commands are input, Nora will complete that combo. That’s also why you possibly can’t dodge out of danger during an attack on enemies like you possibly can in a Bayonetta or some other more polished motion game. As an alternative, you’re limited to protect canceling, which is a nice, albeit more boring workaround that plays into the central issue of Valkyrie Elysium.

Most enemies are brainlessly easy to fight.

After playing through the sooner pieces of the sport in its demo, I hoped that as I unlocked more ability trees, weapons, Einherjar (assist attacks), and spells, these options would open up more. That just wasn’t the case. As an alternative, the sport’s combat mostly focuses on exploiting enemy element weaknesses.

Other than making boss life bars melt faster and freezing them to make a straightforward experience more effortless, that approach felt unnecessary. Most enemies are brainlessly easy to fight. I could just mash attacks and not using a thought unless I desired to add a little bit of flash to maintain myself entertained. I see a lot potential here, however the budget nature of the title really shows, which shouldn’t be the case.

An exquisite world wasted

If nothing else, Valkyrie Elysium does excel on an inventive level. In each combat and exploration (I exploit that word very loosely, as there’s not much to be done), I can’t deny the visual flair on display. The whole lot from lightning hitting demonic enemies to the sun peeking over a destroyed castle brings a painting-like beauty to the world. It’s an art style built out of limitation, because it’s masking a budget look, but it surely does it well.

Nora standing in a grassland infront of a ruined castle.

I can’t help but feel that each one of that beauty is squandered, as Valkyrie Elysium is all dressed up with nowhere to go. The primary map of the sport had me wandering aimlessly for a bit around equivalent buildings with no real landmarks to latch onto. That was followed by tons of linear levels that I needed to revisit repeatedly during subquests. This isn’t a regular JRPG experience where it is advisable to explore the world, but a more linear one which plays into its overall lack of options and budget nature. It doesn’t help that numerous its levels are only made up of dark hallways with nothing to take a look at inside them.

Valkyrie Elysium may be categorized as a missed opportunity. There’s a general feeling that it didn’t get the time or attention the series deserved, with the most important disappointment coming from its motion. After the discharge of so many great games that do what it tries to accomplish that significantly better, it’s hard to recommend it amongst a crowded field. Games like Scarlet Nexus and Tales of Arise just integrate motion combat and the JRPG formula significantly better, which makes Elysium feel dated. Elden Ring decorates and tells a story through its world in ways I wish this game even attempted.

Unlike these titles and former entries in its own series, Valkyrie Elysium tries to play it too protected. A scarcity of effort leaves the sport feeling like one in every of those completely average titles that were popular within the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era. And that’s what stings probably the most. It isn’t a terrible RPG by any means, but an utterly OK one if you happen to’re just trying to mash some buttons and do absolutely nothing else.

Valkyrie Elysium was reviewed on PS5.

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