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Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga (Wii) artwork

Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga (Wii) review


"It's unfortunate, too, because underneath all the crap lies the framework for what could be a very good game. You have your typical classes such as fighter, mage, and priest, who each have their own experience levels. You're free to change your class whenever you wish by heading to the guild and paying a fee. Each time your chosen class gains a level, you get skill points that you can distribute among different abilities that class posseses. Once you know a skill, you're able to set it in one of several slots, regardless of class. It goes without saying that this system allows you to customize your character in a variety of ways, and once you begin to unlock some of the more advanced classes like samurai and godhand, your ability to customize will only increase. "



CLOMP. CLOMP. CLOMP.

The noise reverberates against your eardrums. Just what is that godawful sound? Is it a metal pipe smashing against a wooden floorboard? A carpenter hammering in his last nail before he heads to the pub for a flagon of ale?Neither. It's the sound of your footsteps.

Since the dawn of 3D gaming, I've taken the various pits and pats of footfalls for granted. Whether it was Nintendo 64-era Mario jogging across the lush emerald fields in his first 3D outing, or Vaan and his party traversing Byzantine structures in Final Fantasy XII, game developers never seemed to screw up something as simple as the sound of walking. Then came Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga. The noise that will come from your TV as you try to stroll through the cobblestone streets of your starting hub city will be of a blood-curdling, headache-inducing nature. It won't be long before you reach for your mute button and silence both the footsteps and the gorgeous background melodies from Motoi Sakuraba.

To be fair, the annoying sound effects would be tolerable if that were the only area that Valhalla Knights got wrong. It isn't. When you start your game, you're thrust into the shoes of a generic guy named Arthur, who's actually quite customizable. You'll get to pick from a variety of faces, hairstyles, colours, and even the sound of his grunts. His purpose? Reunite the four warring factions and bring peace to the land.

Which is laughable, since Arthur never really does that. He'll end up getting to bang a chick from one of the four races (Human, Halfling, Elf, and Dwarf), and then it's Arthur's descendant you play in EPISODE TWO who ends up setting out to save Eldar... Which apparently consists of doing a giant chain of boring quests that all feel exactly the same. Whether you're off to maim over-sized rabbits or to run errands back and forth between cities, all of the quests have a very World of Warcraft feel to them, in that you're basically doing the same thing over and over, but with different monsters to kill or items to collect each time. Not to mention the writing is laughably bad. When the game isn't throwing dialogue at you like "Perhaps I was wrong about you. Let's be friends!", then it's borrowing the Harry Potter font to make a big, bold statement every time you accept a quest from the local guild:

QUESTS START

Yes, it's pluralized. Even if you only accept one quest.

Eldar Saga's biggest problem is that it wants desperately to be an MMORPG, when it isn't. The heavily quest-based gameplay and lack of any coherent storyline holding plot points together blends with a poorly implemented online mode to create an adventure that becomes a messy amalgamation of genres. It's unfortunate, too, because underneath all the crap lies the framework for what could be a very good game. You have your typical classes such as fighter, mage, and priest, who each have their own experience levels. You're free to change your class whenever you wish by heading to the guild and paying a fee. Each time your chosen class gains a level, you get skill points that you can distribute among different abilities that class posseses. Once you know a skill, you're able to set it in one of several slots, regardless of class. It goes without saying that this system allows you to customize your character in a variety of ways, and once you begin to unlock some of the more advanced classes like samurai and godhand, your ability to customize will only increase.

But all that potential is ruined by terrible aesthetic and overall design. This title is definitely not one you'll want to CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP your way to Gamestop to pick up.

Rating: 3/10

espiga's avatar
Freelance review by Kyle Stepp (March 16, 2010)

Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.

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