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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: XSEED Games / Marvelous Interactive
Developed By: K2 (Japan) / Marvelous Interactive
Genre: RPG
Players: 1-2
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 & Up)
Release Date: October 1, 2008
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Website: Link
Written By: Matthew Prunty

Back in April 2007, XSEED Games and K2 released Valhalla Knights for the PSP, an epic RPG title which saw the protagonist set out on a long, enduring journey in hopes of regaining his memory. Though the first title within the series, it played host to vast array of customizations and intense battles, which were the highlights of the title. Being an RPG title, it rather lacked within the story department, which led many gamers to look past this title. Fast forward a year and we have XSEED Games and Marvelous Entertainment releasing a sequel, known as Valhalla Knights 2, hoping to recapture the best parts of the first installment, while trying to fix some of the issues that plagued the prequel.

Before you can jump into VK2, you must spend some time developing your character via the character creation option. Just like in the first installment, you must choose one of the five races (Human, Dwarf, Halfling, Elf and Machine) to play as. Depending on which race you choose, you will have access to different abilities, armor, and weaponry and job classes. For those who have played traditional RPG titles before, you know all about the job classes (fighter, mage, thief, etc.). If you decide to go as an elf, you can still be a fighter, but considering you have the strongest level of magic out of all the races, you may want to opt to be a mage instead. Once you have your character locked into place, you will be able to begin your epic journey.

Just like the first installment, VK2 boasts an original story, created by scenario writer of Final Fantasy XII, in which man must fight for survival against a Goddess who is power hungry. The opening scenes within Valhalla Knights 2 is a beautifully rendered CGI sequence in which we see a Goddess coming down from the heavens, only to condemn mankind with despair by unleashing an army of monsters upon the world. Any and everything that was in her way, her army of monsters destroyed without hesitation. When all seemed lost, the Witch of the Crystal arrived to take on the goddess and her army of minions. Though outgunned by the Goddess, the Witch was able to inflict damage to the Goddess, resulting in her fleeing the world before it was destroyed.

As time passes, it was revealed that those who worshipped the Goddess were being hunted down and executed for committing crimes against the world. Because of the rage and hatred that fills their hearts and minds, they often times would commit heinous acts, one being burning down the orphanage in which you (main character) stayed. Before being able to cause harm to you and a fellow orphan, a group of government adventurers known as Latroci, came to your rescue. After this incident, you decide to become a Latroci, in hopes of becoming a hero and vanquishing the Goddess once and for all.

While most of your gaming experience will be spent within dungeons, there will be moments where you will have to venture to your hub city. Your hub city is in place for you to be able to restore health (at the inn), purchase weapons and/or equipment before setting out on quests, and hire to team members (via the guild). Depending on the quest you are undertaking, you will find eager fighters willing to join your team without any stipulations, while there will be moments where you will have to pay someone in order for them to join up with you to complete your quest. Once you access the dungeon from the hub city, itís all serious business.

For those new to Valhalla Knights, you need to know that you wonít be able to simply tackle a quest and successfully complete it on the first play through unless you do quite a bit of grinding within the dungeons. Though it has been done, you run a high risk of dying numerous times while trying to complete your quests. The best tactic is the level of your party by going in and out of dungeons, simply just killing monsters and collecting weapons and armor. Once you have leveled up to a solid point, you can go through the same dungeon to complete the required quests.

While there is some puzzle solving within the dungeons, the main challenge comes from utilizing the combat system within battle. To into battle, simply run into your opponent, which will initiate a battle sequence within an arena. Within this arena, you will have free control over your character, allowing you to deliver attacks, while trying to dodge the enemyís attacks. Going into your first battles, you will be limited to basic melee attacks, which can get the job done, but as your progress from battle to battle, they do become harder to complete, thus requiring you to utilize newly gained skills, weaponry and armor to vanquish your opponents in style. However, if you should die within battle, you will bear witness to one of several hardships within VK2. Your character is revived back at the inn at the expense of half your total money you have on you. While early on, this isnít a big deal, but when you sell off weaponry and armor that isnít needed; you can build up some serious amounts of money, only to lose half of it at the price of death. This can be seen as a strategic maneuver by the developers to keep gamers thinking about what they buy, sell, and collect, but at the cost of half your money, it can pain to deal with.

As more and more players join your team, you will realize that managing your very own stats, as well as their stats can be very cumbersome at times. If you are using Mages and Priests within your team, in order to build their arsenal of spells you have to track down magical spell books to improve their knowledge. Another issue with the ďmicromanagingĒ of each character is that you have to constantly be on the lookout for new armor, weapons, higher levels of magic, etc. because the further you get in the game, the more obvious it will be that your current equipment wonít match up very well to the opposition.

The visuals within VK2 are pretty good for an RPG title on the PSP, but nothing that will have you mesmerized. The character models and monster are nicely rendered, whether it be in-game action, or within the status screens. The utilization of the PSPís hardware by K2 allows for little to no slowdowns within the character/monster animations during the game, especially within epic battles where there is a lot going-on on the screen. While lots of color was utilized within the environments and the character/monster models and animations, most of the environments you explore utilize bland textures, resulting in a less immersive visual experience.

The audio is a hit and miss when it comes to VK2. You will find enjoyment within the sound effects used to help tell the story on the battlefield. You can hear the clanking of swords, a swooshing sound when you use a fire attack; all of which makes the battles seem more lifelike and intriguing. In regards to the musical score, it has its moments, but it seems to lack an emotional connection the gameplay, something that RPGs try to incorporate to help tell the story.

With more than 50 hours worth of gameplay, more than 245 different monster types, and over 10,000 different combinations, Iím sure there is something to justify playing VK2 more than once. As you progress through the game, new job classes (Enchanter, Guard, and Monk) and races (Akatoki, Canine) are available to utilize, which helps to keep battles interesting and your character a force to be reckoned with. By also being able to add an additional 2 job classes to your character (total of 3), more flexibility is given to the gamer on how they want their character fight. Not stopping there, there is always tons of loot to be picked up along the way, which can fetch a pretty penny when you sell it, while at the same time you run the risk of finding some equipment that would boost stats greatly.


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