Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hero of Legend's Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga Initial Impressions. Not too bad!

Platform: Wii
Publisher JP: MMV
Publisher PAL: Rising Star Games
Developer: MMV, K2 and Kurogane (Helping with NA localization)
Players: 1-2
Rating NA: T
Rating JP: B
Release Date NA: September 29th, 2009
Release Date PAL: ???
Release Date Japan: October 8th, 2009
Price USA: $39.99
Price Canada: $44.99
Price PAL: ???
Price JP: 7,140円

So I've only played about an hour of the game thus far, I finally found a brand-new, NON-gutted (opened) copy at my local Walmart. Only it and EBGames in Canada seem to sell it. :/ :(

So I popped it in, and noticed at first the audio got quieter than it seemed at first, I found out why. Turns out, there's an option in the Options section of the Title Screen where you can change the balance and volume with it between the music and the sound effects. Guess what? You can make it so that the sound effects are mute, thus, NO FOOTSTEP SOUNDS, CHECK MORE CAREFULLY REVIEWERS!!! :/

So, the game begins with a CG opening, a usual thing for the series.

Then you begin by selecting between:

Game Start

Options include:

Blood Display - Decide if you want the Blood Display on or off.
Screen Adjust - Shows a picture of the different shades of black, grey, and white so you can change your TV's picture so that you can see all the gradations.
Sound Balance - The one reviewers just happened to miss, as mentioned above, you can move the dial to the left for make the music louder and the SFX quieter, or to the right for vice-versa.

Gallery allows you to look at actual characters up close, this includes monsters! You have to actual encounter them to unlock them in here of course. ;)

So onto Game Start you begin by choosing a save file, and there are three in total, the middle one is the default. :P

Then you choose an episode, 1 or 2, yes you can do that from the beginning, strange I know.

Then you proceed to choosing how your character looks, you choose the character's Face, Hair (and Hair Color), and Voice. Strangely I heard a female sounding voice for one of the choices even though you're a Male, oooookay? You can only choose your gender in Episode 2.

Then you begin in the town of Vestlia and you can do things first like check out the item shop, the forge to repair swords and such, the Wi-Fi area, another place to change your hair and hair color and change Wi-Fi speech settings (not sure what this is yet), but to save, you have to find this drunken old man near the church area, and after saving you have the option of returning to the title screen, took me a bit of time before I found him. XD

Before heading out into the North Mór Plains (first major outdoor area), you're greeted by Sebastian (not the Crab XD) and he asks you to meet him at the Mansion to do a favor for his master. When you first enter the plains, it's empty of monsters even though you can fight.

About the fighting, you do a weak attack with A and a strong one with B, run and ascend and descend ledges with C, and Lock-on to enemies with Z. As Spencer of Siliconera noted, A and B attacks are quite slow, even the A ones, and you can do small combos by hitting the button multiple times and of course you press the button quickly, but if you miss, you have to do the whole combo (just up to 3 at the moment I think) before you can actually move. So it definitely needs getting used to.

As you fight, your Burst Meter gets full, and you get reminded of that by your hand twinkling and a ding-ding sound effect, took me a bit to figure what that meant. lol You activate it by WAGGLING!!! XD

So far you fight Vicious Killer Rabbits (Hares), Capybaras, Wild Birds, Wood Leeches, and... and...


Seriously, they jump out of the water and slap you around with their tails, and can jump EXTREMELY high DBZ-style, AND can flop back into the water if they end up on land! LOL

I'll stop here as I don't want to say anything about the story. :)

Now to the technical parts, this game supports 480p, 16:9 with very minor black bars, no Dolby Pro Logic II, and runs in 30 frames but can drop when it rains and just for a split second during fights, it also drops when using items.

My opinion on the graphics? Not that bad, it's nothing to complain about as I'm not one to bitch about them when I know that the developer (K2) was never a hardware pusher and this game was low-budget anyway! :) I was impressed by how much land there was to explore with zero load times, and the draw distance seemed really far, as I remember seeing the Knights who were blocking a crossing to the other side of the plains were viewable from all the way at the entrance to the plains, it was pretty far. Also I'm pretty sure the water's bump-mapped with some kind of reflecting going on. Animations are nice as well, and the characters do have good facial animations, there's no voice acting other than someone who narrates the beginning of the story, kinda like in Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire.

So it's been worth the searching for a new copy and paying the $45 price tag, as I am a big MMV fan, I have Rune Factory Frontier, Little King's Story, and now Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga, and next I'll get Muramasa: The Demon Blade and then of course, Arc Rise Fantasia! :D

And one last note, I noticed a teensy typo, the aforementioned master of Sebastian ask you to get "An Herb" :P Look, you've obtained "An Herb"! XD

That's it for now! :)