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Occupy Your Days with Valhalla Knights 2

While at E3 in 2006, I spoke to a number of journalists who raved about Monster Hunter; Capcom’s RPG that had an enormous amount of depth for the patient fan. They had sunk hours into the Japanese version, and were eagerly awaiting the U.S. translation. I purchased Monster Hunter at release, and was mystified at the kudos it had received. Although I could appreciate the depth and attention to minutia, I didn’t enjoy playing the game. I loved Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Disgaea for the intricate worlds these titles created, but Monster Hunter’s fundamentals seemed deficient- combat was clunky, and the game’s story moved at a snail’s pace. Whereas Bethesda’s interpretation of the role-playing fundamentals engaged me, Capcom’s construction choices merely left me perplexed.

So with a minor amount of trepidation, I approached Valhalla Knight 2, a RPG for the PSP that has been frequently compared to Monster Hunter for both its depth and its MMO-like aesthetics. As the opening cinema played, with a level of CGI that rivaled Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, my outlook slowly began to improve.

                                            Combat is fast and furious. Blink and you might miss it.

The title’s narrative begins as a goddess descends upon the fantasy world, unleashing her wrath upon its citizens. A mysterious woman sacrifices herself by conjuring a giant blade that stops the angry goddess. Time passes as the protagonist is introduced in an era where some still worship the dispatched deity.

Upon starting the game, players are given a myriad of customization options to personalize their character. Players first choose a gender and race, followed by an occupational class. Physical appearances can be customized by choosing one of six faces and hair styles. Valhalla presents gamers with an unprecedented level of options in the handheld realm; character creation feels as intricate as a now-gen console title.

The title makes some unique design decisions. As players kill enemies, a treasure chest will appear where the defeated monster stood. When players open the chest they will receive generic items, that can’t be used until they are identified. The process of identification is performed in towns, or by uncovering single-use cards that identify items. Unlike most games that fill the players inventory with healing items, Valhalla players better leave the towns prepared; healing stations are painfully infrequent.

                                Ain’t no party, like a six man party, cause a six man party parties all night!

When players are defeated, which is inevitable in the early levels of the game, players will forfeit half their gold to the local innkeeper. Wise players will invest their gold in items, instead of being ‘liquid’; and carrying their money with them. Although this is an easy tactic to adjust to, it is incongruent with typical RPG clichés. Valhalla bravely marches to its own cadence.

Some other design choices are regrettable. Although the player has an on-screen map, with two levels of magnification, neither zoom level is adequate to gauge the party’s overall dungeon location. The map merely shows the area immediately surrounding the player, and the player will likely become disoriented when navigating a region for the first time. We would have liked a larger map, with indicators of quest objects.

                                                    Cute, little dogs as party members? Pure genius!

After some initial solo quests, players will soon acquire enough money to hire members via the local guild. A party may have up to six characters in its ranks; there is enough intricacy to keep the average stat-geek happy. Players can adjust party member’s positions, behaviors, and equipment. Enemy battles are usually avoidable, and once engaged, usually quick. Combat is a tit-for-tat, affair- you strike an enemy, and they strike back. Players can even turn on an auto-battle option if they want to speed through battles.

Graphically, Valhalla is a bit of a mixed bag. Towns and dungeons rely heavily on brown and grey tones, punctuated by the occasional radiance from treasure chests. Characters look hyper-animated; our sword-wielding warrior ran like an excited school boy. Overall, the game’s cities and dungeons are functional and show no signs of slowdown during navigation. The title uses a handful of inoffesive melodies in its sonic palette.

In summery, Valhalla Knights 2 is a difficult game to score. Some will be turned off by its dismissal of RPG staples; others may grow weary of its seemingly endless procession of quests. For others, the title’s approach and enormous amount of content are its main charm. If a 40+ hour series of quests gets your heart racing, I’d encourage you to try the game out. For Monster Hunter fans, the purchase of this game is a no-brainer.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. Never heard of it. I did hear of Monster Hunter, though.

  2. My friend loved Monster Hunter. Ill tell him about this.

  3. Not my kind of game.

  4. Good review. Sounds like a good game to pass the time.

  5. Awesome review, guys.

  6. I could never get into Monster Hunter either. I think it was a case of Americans thinking something was good just because it popular in Japan.

  7. Could be interesting. That’s less than a dollar an hour.

  8. Screenshots look so-so.

  9. Not enough action for me.

  10. Is this a new game? I never heard of the first one.

  11. I got the first one during Gamestops deals days. $14.99 and I liked it.

  12. Cute doggy

  13. decent enough review, there

  14. Not a game for me.

  15. Problem 1- Don’t trust a game journalist.

  16. i really enjoyed the first valhalla nights and have been waiting for the second to come out. its supposedly going to be a direct linked sequel.
    cant wait to try it out.

  17. I really enjoyed the first game, too. Going to buy this, but like the review said, this game isn’t for everybody. Only the hardcore need apply.

  18. Totally, agree with the review. This is not a game for everybody- RPG nuts will probably like it. I put 20 hours in so far, but I’m getting a bit tired.

  19. Customization in this game is out the window. Dogs as allies? I’m there!

  20. Sounds cool.

  21. Name reminds me of Valkyrie Profile. That was a good PSP game!

  22. Thanks for the review. Monster Hunter is an acquired taste. I really liked the second one.

  23. Monster Hunter 2 is actually pretty good if you get into it but the first one sucked. Good Review though.

  24. Pics looks washed out, did you capture them in-house?

  25. I’m hopelessly addicted to RPGs, I’m willing to try it.

  26. Sounds cool. I’ll probably rent it, before buying.

  27. Top pic is corrupt.

  28. Sorry, guys you are being way too nice. I played this game last week and it put me to sleep. Its a dreadful mess.

  29. I can tell by the screenshots, I probably won’t like this game. I do like RPG’s like the Tales series, and Oblivion, though

  30. You guys always review the game I’ve never heard of.

  31. May have to play it. DE you’re right Oblivion and Disgaea are some the best, deepest games around. They are both 40 hrs+ games, but don’t feel like it. Good review.

  32. The game sound interesting, and the review is excellent.

  33. I don’t know about the graphics, but free is free.

  34. Seems like a fun game with decent graphics.

  35. Monster Hunter was pretty good. I especially liked the weapons and armor you can get like a fatalis blade. However, it was kinda slow.

  36. That’s exactly why this site is bookmarked for me.

  37. I am impressed with the way it looks

  38. Dogs carrying giant hammers almost makes it a must buy. Nice shot, there.

  39. Oh boy, another game to buy.

  40. Never played the first one, but it sounds like I might enjoy it. I’ll have to give it a shot sometime!

  41. hmmm gotta go check this out

  42. I liked the first, but never finished it. Maybe I will get around to that soon.

  43. I really liked the first game, which I picked up at the Gamestop sale. I should probably like this one even more. Sounds great.

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  45. Monster Hunter is a Broadband-only online game that, much like Resident Evil: Outbreak, also has a single player game. The single player mode gives you but a taste of what the online game. I think that’s enough for an adventurous game.