Parents' Guide to

Valkyrie Elysium

By Dwayne Jenkins, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Action game features stellar, customizable combat.

Valkyrie Elysium Cover

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This game might not be pushing any new boundaries, but what it offers is a satisfying, complete experience that doesn't overstay its welcome. Valkyrie Elysium starts by giving players a taste of the power they could have, then allows them to slowly build themselves up by upgrading skills and recruiting einherjar, warriors in Norse mythology whose spirits are strong enough to retain their combat abilities even after death. Players can choose a more offensive or defensive play style -- or can opt to mix both to make the most of their skills. The combat also refreshingly leans more toward nuance and on-the-fly thinking rather than mindless button-mashing. Most enemies are weak against a certain element, and there are many instances where players are faced with a variety of enemies with different weaknesses to exploit. When the sleek, fast-paced combat combines with the learning curve of figuring out how to best deal with a group of enemies, magic happens, as moment-to-moment combat is easily this game's bread and butter.

The main narrative may be relatively simple and easy to follow when defining the Valkyrie's motivations and how she changes throughout, but the game really shines with the supporting characters. The einherjar you'll recruit all have their own backstories, which are revealed gradually and build to satisfying conclusions. Better still, their involvement in the larger story doesn't end when you recruit them, as they're crucial in humanizing someone who doesn't know what it is to be a flawed, yet layered, human. Paired with everything else, the einherjar cement this experience as a standout by how well they provide depth and purpose to what would otherwise be a simply decent action RPG -- both in the ebb and flow of the high-octane, flashy gameplay and the game's overall narrative. Valkyrie Elysium may not be the shiniest or most innovative game to come out on current-gen consoles, but it offers refreshing little wrinkles that will appeal to anyone who wants to play a no-nonsense, pure action RPG that has all the frills and fun necessary to keep players enticed from beginning to end.

Game Details

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