Valhalla Knights
Playstation Portable
Reviewed: 04/09/2007

Freaking finally, a non-port RPG for the PSP that is actually worthwhile.Valhalla Knights, publisher XSeed’s first outing on PSP, is mostly a dungeon crawler, as it features only a minimally deep storyline and one central town where the non-battle stuff goes down. Players will spend their time level grinding and building up an MMORPGlike team (thieves, mages, fighters and the like) to take through the game’s long, winding caverns. Indeed, as a “dungeon crawler,” one should expect no less.

Battles start the player off controlling the main character in a real-time system. Other party members are operated by A.I., though the player can issue special commands, set the party’s general strategy, and even take full control of another character in mid battle if desired. This isn’t often necessary, as the A.I. is competent enough. Character A.I. can be tweaked a bit by the player, using “thought points” to distribute how frequently the character will do certain type of actions. It feels a lot like an action RPG with a six-member party: pretty fast-paced and sometimes chaotic. Where the A.I. does come up a little short is when it controls a fighter; attacks don’t seem to come as frequently as they should. A player controlling a fighter-classed character can unleash two or three-hit combos in pretty rapid succession, but when the A.I. is running a fighter, that doesn’t seem to happen. So sadly, while there are several classes available, it’s much more advantageous for the player to control a character with melee in mind.

In this way, the battles can get repetitive over time. But again, given the long history and nature of this sub-genre, that should certainly be expected, and one would be silly to complain too hashly against Valhalla Knights in that area. Those about to play this should be well prepared for lots of battles and plenty of time spent grinding.

Screen Shot
Nice graphics without the common counterpoint of load times.

Graphics in Valhalla Knights are great. The game looks good, and yet keeps load times almost non-existant. Music and sound effects are alirght, though like some other aspects of the game, somewhat repeitive after a few hours of play. On the technical whole, this is a solid game.

The camera is controlled only with the R trigger, and rather than that button causing it to swing a certain direction, it simply resets directly behind the character. This can sometimes get annoying during travel and cause a few unexpected battles to start up. On the whole, the camera taken initial getting used to, but doesn’t cause any real problems.

With some heavy repetition and level grinding, Valhalla Knights appeals mostly to the crowd that already loves dungeon crawlers, but is an overall fun enough ride to perhaps lure a few converts. A lot of the repetition is forgiveable because it’s a handheld, and therefore its current formula makes it very playable in short bursts–ideal for travel. Those who want an engaging story should look elsewhere, but those looking for some good ol’ hacking and slashing, Valhalla Knights delivers.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Out of 10

See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Bad
Graphics Excellent
Sound/Music Average
Replay Value Below Average
The Verdict: 6