Valhalla Knights 2: Battle StanceESRB:
Developer: Xseed Games
Publisher: K2/ Marvelous Entertainment
PlayStation Store Download
2 players Versus Battle via Ad-Hoc
696MB game size
The PSP is a nice portable system. Some have cursed the UMD disks and Sony has been quite supportive of a digital download delivery system. A lot of game have coming out on the PSN Store for people to just download. One of the most recent games to join the digital ranks is Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance from XSeed games. The original Valhalla Knights has seen action on almost every platform available today. The franchise as a whole has received mixed reviews, but there are a core group of fans that love the series. The newest release is touted as an updated version Valhalla Knights 2 previously released on UMD. On the outside the game looks virtually unchanged but Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance attempts to take the exploration, customization, and party-based real-time combat of its predecessor to the next level. So what did I think of my time with the game? Read on to find out.
I was somewhat disappointed at the Valhalla Knight 2: Battle Stance’s graphic offerings. Right away I noticed how Spartan and uninteresting the backgrounds were. The buildings and structures in the game are razor sharp and look very good, but they are covered in a grayish to brownish hue throughout the game. Even when there is color it seems washed out and not as vibrant as it could be. It is somewhat disappointing as the PSP is capable of pushing some incredible graphic splendor. The game’s characters are rendered very well and have selectable stylized clothing which can be bought to make them unique from others. Although I liked the idea it is not very engaging though.
Technically speaking, Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance’s graphic engine is pretty solid. I found the loading times to be bearable thanks to the game being accessed off a memory card instead of a UMD. There are some signs of clipping with the worst showing up during battle scenes. There is also some noticeable frame rate drops throughout the whole game. All in all these shortcomings are not terrible, but they can be annoying at times. There is plenty of full motion cut scenes in the game which is kind of impressive coming off a card, but for the most part they are short and sweet.
Valhalla Knights has some cool and enjoyable music, but I did find the tunes to be hissy and somewhat compressed sounding. The same can be said for the sound effects throughout. The usual sounds of swords and shields are clear and suit the game’s theme, but they are not as clean sounding as they could be. I think a pure digital download title may have compression issues and I am hearing and seeing it in Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance. This may be just an isolated problem, as this is only my second PSN download game, perhaps other games don’t have this problem. Finally, the game has incredibly little in the way of voice work, and this hurts the narrative. It gets awful boring sometimes to read huge amounts of text.
Battle Stance is an enhanced version of the original Valhalla Knights 2 and this upgrade streamlines gameplay by reducing battle parties from six to four members for more party control, as well as adding warp points in various locations for expedited travel. Being able to travel this way really helps the games speed and playability. Having to control members over long distances on the maps can get a bit tedious, so the warp travel spots are not only a no-brainer, but a very welcomed change. They are scattered in quite convenient locations across the whole game, easy access to far away areas seem to be what the development crew focused on, and they did so with great results.
Combine this new warp system with new added customization options, new weapons, armour, quests and monsters, and this becomes the most complete Valhalla Knights experience yet. The game’s combat system in the past was a bit clunky, or so it seemed. The game now has a maximum party size of four members instead of six, allowing for a more deliberate pace and greater party control. I quite like the new streamlined look and feel of Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance, but unfortunately the gameplay is sadly lacking. I found the game it seemed stunted and slow, with very little flow. The real-time battles you get to engage in are cool but still lack punch, and unfortunately they can get boring quickly.
Not all is bad though my fellow readers, as Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance features a vast and expansive world to explore. I think fans of the series will want to indulge in the new races, job classes, weapons, magic spells, foes, armour and more within the story arc. There is a new customization tool for the appearance and status of characters, as well as 19 new weapons and 26 new armour and accessory additions. Other additional content includes 7 new monsters, 19 new quest items, 4 new event characters, 10 new single player quests, and 10 new multiplayer quests.
Speaking of multiplayer, Valhalla Knights has no online play with your friends or foes across the internet, but you can play a co-op game via the PSP’s ad-hoc mode. You can also play against your friend in a one-on-one versus battle. He or she must have the game on their PSP, as unfortunately there is no sharing.
Fans of the Valhalla Knights series will most likely love the new added content and streamlined control factors included in the new PSN digital download Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance. I for one liked the control, but the game otherwise did not grip me. The huge amounts of text to read are a bit of a kill-joy and missions soon become exercises in tedium. With marginable additions most gamers may pass on Battle Stance, but for those that are fans of the franchise, they will most likely find a lot to like here.