Valkyrie Sky ReviewBy: Zanpakutou posted at Feb 12, 2009 6:22 am
This is my first MMO review in a while. Valkyrie Sky is an MMO version of what is almost a dead form of gaming. This type of game I am referring to is more commonly known as a vertical shoot em up. Other games that fall under this category are Aero Fighters and Giga Wing. Valkyrie Sky is similar to these other games but combines it with elements of a traditional MMO making it an odd product of the two. Game and game was the host of this “closed beta”. They say it was a closed beta but anyone with a game and game account can join so it wasn't really it a closed beta.
N/A – I didn't pay attention to what they said because it wasn't interesting. There's just a tutorial and you're basically off to run errands (quest) for people.
The graphics are quite poor for an MMO in this day and age. Its not very smooth and the effects used are dated. The characters are all copies of each other with the exception being the weapons. Armor changes the way characters look, but these are quite limited in possibilities so clones of characters are seen everywhere. There is no character customization at all. Each class looks a certain way and thats it. Some people have a slightly different look because they obtained items from stages, but even then there is only a total of like 3 variations. Each set of stages uses more or less the same background with a different set of monster spawns. The monster spawns don't look all that great either. The bosses are sometimes interesting, but most aren't.
Name your character and you're off. It starts off with a tutorial giving you information on all the basics and rewarding you with a useless title, a tiny amount of money, and some identifying scrolls. Whenever you log in, you start back in the main town. From there you can visit shops, accept quests, or leave for a stage to play. Each stage is separated into basically 4 difficulties and has a matching set of quests for each one. Progression is fairly linear but the problem is that each area has at least 2 names. 1 referring to the location, and 1 referring to the set of stages that go along with that area. Each area has 4 sets of stages. The 2nd set are not accessible until the level requirement is met which would basically require you to complete all the 1st set stages anyways.
There are 4 basic classes. Each class uses different stats for different things. These classes are warrior, summoner, mage, and archer. Archer plays more like the traditional shooters. Summoner and mage are similar in many aspects in the beginning except mage has a piercing ability to its attack. Warrior is the one with the most significant difference. It uses close ranged attacks and has the ability to destroy enemy bullets. The others do not have this ability. Each class also has a selection of advanced classes which they can switch to once stat requirements are met and they have the required amount of money. These classes have different skills. Usually its a decision between 2 polar opposites such as offense or defense in the case of warrior and focused attack or area of effect attack in the case of the summoner. All of these classes share the same equipment as their basic class. Based on the in game interface, there remains many locked classes which are unobtainable yet.
NOTE: Classes are gender restricted. Swordsman and Summoner are always female. Mage and Archer are always male. There is no option to change this and there won't be based on the details and plans from the Korean version.
The skill system is a bit odd. Each skill has a different number of JP required to upgrade the skill. Each upgrade adds 1 use to the skill. When the dots under the skill name fills up, the skill upgrades to the next level. However, if you use the skill, it will drop to the previous level and you can use the weaker version of it. Each time the cooldown on the skill ends, you get 1 use of the skill back. Some skills can easily be spammed 8 times in a row in the same level. Others might only get 1 or 2. Using skills will grant mastery, but I don't know what that does.
To play any stage, you must enter the area first. From there you can organize parties and such. The problem is the general chat. The general chat is not restricted to just those in the general area. It links several areas together so sometimes you can't see the person talking or they might be in a completely different area than you but you still get their message. Once everyone is ready, the group leader can start the stage or it can be soloed. To start a stage, you must have the required amount of stamina. Stamina usage is doubled at nights but stamina regenerates at a fairly decent rate at night. Stamina can be recovered with any of the skills such as cooking and playing music. Instruments can be costly, but they greatly affect your ability to play music. In a way stamina is a way to stop people from playing 24/7 or botting, but its more of a nuisance than a useful feature.
There is also an ability called Valkyrie Power (VP). By killing enemies, you absorb these things and your VP charges up. Once it is filled, you can use your VP and during this time, your speed and power is increased. If you have an Ultimate Attack, you can also use it while VP is activated. During the length of the beta, I did not get an Ultimate Attack though. It requires leveling up all of your character's skills to a certain level before you obtain the Ultimate Attack. I believe it was level 5 for all skills.
Every area of the game is set up the same way. Enter a lobby, start a stage. Logging off will reset the area and you have to start over from stage 1. Each stage is about equal in length. At the end of stage 3 is a mid boss for the area. At the end of the Boss area (stage 5) is the true boss of the area. The bosses are tough at first, but once some decent skills are acquired, the bosses turn into complete jokes. Skill spam will defeat any boss especially with a swordsman in the front line. Each player is given an individual score and an overall rating at the end is based on everyone's contribution. Loot is divided between players so it doesn't matter who picks up what. It will be randomly distributed at the end. The weight limit is a pain in the ass but luckily storage is easily accessible from anywhere. Stages provide little exp and most of it is obtained from questing. Because of this, leveling gets boring fast. You will have to take up a craft or get friends fast for motivation to keep going. If you don't Valkyrie Sky can get boring fast.
By completing certain goals in game, you can earn a title. Titles provide different bonuses to your character which are very useful. Most titles have a description of what it does and what you must do to obtain it. There are some titles which remain locked and no information is provided on how to obtain it, but when conditions are met, you will automatically obtain it.
The sound in the towns and world map is pleasant and quite repetitive, but I haven't gotten bored of it yet. However, the sound in stages gets boring fast. Its quite repetitive and the sound of 4 swordsmen constantly slashing gets annoying fast. When I play stages I eventually have to turn the sound off because it gets annoying. The music is much better to make up for it if you play with just sound effects off.
Valkyrie Sky is a remake of the classic shooter for the MMO world. If you like classic arcade games, Valkyrie Sky is probably a good game for you. Unfortunately, the pointless stamina system is there for pure annoyance and forces players to take up one of the pointless professions in game or you can find someone to leech off of since plenty of people play music for free in towns. The tutorial is straight forward and good for new players to learn the basics. If you have friends to play with, this will be a great game, otherwise you might want to look elsewhere.
6/10 – Its a nice attempt at a vertical shooter, but lack of character customization, the pointless stamina system, poor tutorials, and quest focus rather than stage focus destroyed its potential.
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