Valkyrie Elysium Review – Odin’s Chosen Reborn

A Detailed Review Of The Brand New Action JRPG, Valkyrie Elysium

Being a fan massive of Action RPGs, I’ve come to greatly appreciate the impact of the Devil May Cry Franchise and Bayonetta, which are two cult-classic series with a lot of style. But there is another game that features a similar style to these titles with its latest installment, and that is the fifth entry in the Valkyrie series, which is making a comeback to mainstream platforms. So I present to you our Valkyrie Elysium Review.

This game features a whole new setting with some of the same story beats you saw in previous games, such as being the protector of Valhalla and preventing its demise at the hands of Ragnarok. Instead of being a tactical turn-based JRPG however, Elysium opts for a much more dynamic action combat approach and at times, you will notice the game looks largely similar to the likes of the Nier series.

So without further delay, let’s dive into this review.

Story And Setting

Valkyrie Elysium Review
The legendary Yggdrasil Tree.

During the golden age of humanity, the God known as Odin and his brothers slayed Ymir and brought upon the dawn of a new civilization for humanity by forging it under the jurisdiction of the Yggdrasil tree. For those unaware of Norse Mythology, the Yggdrasil is a prominent aspect of the culture as it laid the foundations for the realms of Asgard, Midgard, Nifelheim, and others in its wake. The people in each of those realms lived in peaceful bliss and sincerity until another inevitable calamity would threaten their existence once more.

This new evil was the monstrous wolf known as Fenrir and together with its demonic forces, it had come to destroy the world that Odin and his people had forged. The two sides waged war until nothing was left standing, as they broke apart lands and seas, shattering almost everything in their path to topple each other at the very end. The fight was not to last as at the peak of it all, the Gjallarhorn was blown, signaling the end of times known as Ragnarok. It was an ancient prophecy that would be fulfilled in order to return the world back to a clean slate, as it would mean the end of the Norse Gods at the hands of the vile demons.

Valkyrie Elysium
Odin And Valkyrie.

However, the All-father, Odin defied his fate before he could enter the gates at Valhalla by creating a new class of Demi-Gods that would aid him in protecting his sacred lands once again. One of these is our main protagonist of the game, Maria, a Valkyrie that swears her oath and allegiance as Odin’s liberator. So with her new-found powers, she journies across the lands to discover the backlash caused by events past, and destroy the last living remnants of evil that still seem to pose an impending threat to the world.

Along the way, the Valkyrie will meet several iconic characters from the mythology as well as recruit several allies in her battles against her foes. These include the Einherjar; who are essentially mystical fallen warriors that will aid you in your quest. These warriors have their sleuth of specialties which we will go over in a bit in the gameplay section.

The storytelling is primarily divided into multiple chapters and has a few different endings that most players will like or dislike depending on what they think of them. Unfortunately, there is no New Game+, so you will have to reload the save file you made during the final chapter if you want to achieve an alternate ending.

Side quests
lingering Souls Of NPCs Will Offer Side Quests.

But regardless of which you get, the storytelling was pretty much average at best for me personally as I rarely found anything that kept me invested aside from the lore and world-building. What kept me hooked was that there were several traces of the past that you could stumble upon during exploration, and they would offer interesting insight and information about the inhabitants and their once peaceful society. It would often make me think about games like Nier Automata where unraveling the philosophical secrets of humanity brought me closer to understanding the main thought-provoking themes of the game.

However, it is worth mentioning that our new Valkyrie isn’t the most bearable protagonist. It is understandable that she acts robotically and delivers cheesy one-liners after each battle because after all, she is literally a being manifested by Odin’s powers. But it all got too annoying to the point where I wished the developers would’ve added an option to mute our heroine.

Gameplay

Valkyrie Elysium gameplay
Gameplay.

The core differences that Valkyrie Elysium displays in order to set itself apart from the previous titles lie in combat. It follows a much more action hack and slash design with a few elements largely taken from popular action titles such as Dante’s Inferno and the classic God Of War series. You will mostly be controlling Maria herself at the start, but later on, you will be able to command and access the Einherjar who will basically be summoned to even out the tides of battles.

These warriors can dish out powerful skills and abilities with elemental attacks that will easily be able to expose enemies to their weaknesses and status ailments. They will also be important to solve short puzzles such as building a walkway or platform and doing some ranged attacks. Keep in mind that you will only be able to summon them if you have enough MP, so you will need to carefully plan when to summon them as they will be the key to delivering huge chunks of damage to bosses and other difficult enemies.

Combat
The Intuitive Combat.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that you can tweak the arsenal of Maria and these warriors using the varied skill tree system. These skills are divided into three different types called Attack, Defense, and Support which allow you to freely customize Maria’s moves by giving her a double jump, new combos, and increasing her resistance to certain attacks. Moreover, you will also be able to modify a plethora of other components such as auto-summoning the Einherjar during battle and more.

In order to purchase these skills, you will need to collect a variety of gems throughout the game which can be found by slaying enemies, opening chests, and destroying objects while traversing the world. The gems themselves are categorized into different colors, and some of these you will need to separately acquire to be able to boost the effectiveness of your sword and other weapons.

Just be sure to always invest in skills on the fly as there can be several times when you will reach the limit of the gems in your inventory.

Valkyrie Elysium review
The Skill Trees.

When it comes to the overall progression and level design, Elysium just does not resonate too well in that department as there aren’t a lot of intriguing aspects when exploring the maps in the game. It feels empty and generic, making it look like a disgrace in comparison to other titles such as the beautifully designed Final Fantasy 7 Remake. It doesn’t feel fun at all when the main point of exploration is a couple of battle instances littered throughout the map and a couple of extremely childish puzzles.

Not to mention the game spoon-feeds you with a crazy amount of consumable items to fill up your divine arts and health so that you can dish out spells and keep your heroine healthy at all times. At certain times, it becomes frustrating when every hidden chest you open will reward you with the 10th elixir in the entire level. The game of course wants its players to be comfortable with the gameplay, but this is certainly one element that will destroy the motivation of hardcore players or even some who prefer actual meaningful rewards for their careful exploration.

Valkyrie Elysium World
The World.

There are tons of occurrences where you will be able to obtain side quests from NPCs, but they offer little to no rewards or progression incentives as well. Ultimately everything falls flat on its back once you reach the endgame as the story is fairly predictable and dull, but most importantly, it holds back the appreciation for the combat which is surprisingly robust but clunky in some parts. You will undoubtedly enjoy filling up the stagger bar of enemies and stunning them for stylish combos and attacks, but more often than not, there are several instances where it just won’t engage with you.

Lastly, the game’s idea of fleshing out characters is disappointing because as you discover more Einharjars and recruit them into your party, instead of presenting them with their own character arcs, you are forced to play out their stories from the codex of the game from the menu. It only adds more fuel to the flame because underneath it all, the game is good to some extent but being held back by a few tedious elements, kills the vibe of it all.

Visuals And Performance

Valkyrie Elysium visuals
The Visuals.

From a visual standpoint, there is no denying the fact that the game looks absolutely gorgeous as the art style is a mixture of different anime aesthetics. The levels and architecture themselves are wonderfully designed so that each setpiece feels distinctive from the others. The art direction is also greatly complemented by the stellar soundtrack, as it was one of the few reasons I was able to stick with the game for so long.

I played Valkyrie Elysium on my PS5 as the PC version is still a ways away. The game does a fairly great job at running at a smooth 60FPS outside of combat, but sadly there were quite a few times where I suffered from constant frame drops during moments with a lot of enemies. This is a game where you will consistently be dishing out spells and particle-heavy attacks, so that’s quite disappointing to see.

Thankfully there aren’t any other game-breaking issues to be found in this game that can hinder the little ounce of enjoyment found in it.

Verdict

The verdict
Verdict.

Valkyrie Elysium feels like a title that deserved a lot better than what it got. You can easily tell how much effort and attention to detail went into the game for the series revival, but in the end, it will probably be just another game lost to time due to its faults.

The storytelling is bleak and uninterested for the most part, but the lore is interesting enough to keep you engaged for a while. The combat is also decent but feels disjointed due to the performance issues and overall progression system holding it back. But when it works, it feels really fun as you mow down enemies in quick succession and lay down hellfire on them with your Einherjar backing you up in every fight.

The developers at Soleil have put together a passionate foundation for the series moving forward., but it hardly feels like anything special when compared to past entries. So with my review of Valkyrie Elysium, it is safe to say that the game is all style but hardly offers any sort of substance alongside it.

This wraps up our Valkyrie Elysium review. While you’re here, why not check out some of our other articles.

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Valkyrie Elysium Review
Overall
2.5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Valkyrie Elysium feels like a title that deserved a lot better than what it got. You can easily tell how much effort and attention to detail went into the game for the series revival, but in the end, it will probably be just another game lost to time due to its faults.

Pros

  • Beautifully Designed Levels.
  • Fun Combat.
  • Background Lore.

Cons

  • Uninspired Storytelling.
  • Exploration Is Lacklusterous.
  • Dull Main Character.
  • Gameplay Lacks Depth.
  • Performance Issues.

Usama Qaiser


He is eccentric about Action games like Yakuza as well as his favorite JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Persona. Nowadays you can find him focusing his mana on writing guides at eXputer. Usama Gamer Tag: LIONT4MER Steam PlayStation Profile Xbox Profile

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