Valkyrie Elysium (PlayStation 5) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 02.11.2022

Review for Valkyrie Elysium on PlayStation 5

It's been a while since the Valkyrie series last had a new entry - since the PS2 days in fact. It made its niche with its unique story-driven and turn-based game design. Now Valkyrie returns on PlayStation 5, published by Square Enix. This new game is promising to be a jump-in point for new players as well as an intriguing side-story for fans. However, is it able to hold itself in as high regard as the Profile games? Cubed3 takes a look at Valkyrie Elysium through a copy generously provided by Square Enix.

Odin seeks to save the world from Ragnarok. He created the Valkyrie, demi-god warriors, to go to Midgard and fight the demonic threats. This is the premise of pretty much the entire Valkyrie series and this title sees a new Valkyrie created and sent to Midgard to fight and purify. The story has a great and varied cast each with differing personalities and goals. Much of this is presented through dialogue boxes but there are proper cutscenes interspersed that give moments more flourish. Players gain control in a tutorial setting where Odin is teaching Valkyrie about her goal and powers.

This tutorial section is very thorough to the point of feeling dreadfully drawn out. Especially considering much of its messaging is repeated in the first level, which also makes that level feel less interesting. Back on track, the tutorial reveals a lot of the base powers Valkyrie will have as well as some of the Einherjar that players will encounter through the journey. Essentially, this level boils down to fighting in an enclosed arena, running a few feet, and fighting in another. During which messages pop-up and have to be dismissed. This is fine but the way it's presented is unforgivably tedious and really undersells the core experience. Really this tutorial level should be skippable.

Once the game gets going for real, the experience improves with the introduction of collectibles. There are a variety of collectibles ranging from experience orbs and crystals to various spiritual flowers. As Valkyrie collects experience, she can channel these into defence, attack and support. Each of these offers various stat boosts as well as skills. One of the first the player should aim for is the double jump as it greatly increases the fluidity of traversal. The crystals can also be used at save points to upgrade weapons. This typically doubles their strength and is well worth it. That however is the end of the meta gaming.

Screenshot for Valkyrie Elysium on PlayStation 5

Visually there is a weird mishmash of quality. There's a lot of muddy texture work in the first levels yet a good amount of detail on the characters, creating a mismatch in the styling that is quite hard to ignore. As the game progresses however, things get more homogenous and the environments more complex. Levels are not overly complex and usually have a single path to the goal but with small side routes to collectables and side quests. There is an amount of complex and interesting environments, each of which brings a "whoa" moment and the game lets the player take a lot more agency. It is however mired in what feels like PS2/3 era game design and visuals. There are many who will look at Silmeria, the second game in the series, and enjoy its detailed and fantastically alive visuals much more than this experience.

Where this becomes muddled is its lack of faith to the series' very unique gameplay systems from the first two games. They featured strategic semi-turn-based combat and a mix of side-scrolling exploration and 3D moments. So, while Elysium feels a bit like a modern game, it doesn't feel like a Valkyrie game. It seems like Square Enix is set on turning most games to action games whether it suits the game or not, in this case to the detriment and reduced uniqueness of this game.

Screenshot for Valkyrie Elysium on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Odd design choices lead to a not so stellar action game with an unfortunately generic, asset-y world design. Valkyrie Elysium has great moments but is stuck in a mediocre shell that is missing the unique draws of the previous entries in the series. Once the story gets moving it's a good Valkyrie story, but a lack of polish leaves this game floundering instead of standing tall.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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