Despite the fact that there are several excellent Japanese role-playing games on the equipment of other companies, it seems that Sony has been a monopolist in this genre for some time. From the amazing Midgar in Final Fantasy 7 to the lesser—known story in Breath of Fire 3, there were a dime a dozen impressions of Japanese role-playing games on the original PlayStation, and most often they were much more than the sum of their parts. Sony’s exclusive offerings are often criticized for an unambiguous approach to the design of AAA games, and third—person action/adventure is the taste of the generation, but the recent announcement of Valkyrie Elysium can be a catalyst for real change.
As the latest installment of a long-running franchise, Valkyrie Elysium has a rich history that it can use to ensure critical and commercial success. There are fewer Japanese role-playing games today than there were in the late 1990s, and while much of the reason for this is due to the fact that other genres are gaining popularity and widespread attention, games like Final Fantasy 16 and Tales of Arise show that there is a thirst for more spiky hair, turn-based battles and carefully crafted villains among gamers in 2022. Valkyrie Elysium may well turn out to be just another game that will appeal exclusively to JRPG fans, but it has every chance to do much more.
Valkyrie Elysium is the latest and (hopefully) the best
Officially unveiled at Sony State of Play in March 2022, Valkyrie Elysium is the fifth game in the series, and while it bears similarities to what came before on a mythological level, it’s likely to be very different from its predecessors. Instead of the turn-based combat system perfectly implemented in Valkyrie Profile 2000, the new game seems to be more similar to later Tales games, where time attacks and building a combo counter are much more important than choosing the right option on the menu screen.
This is in stark contrast to earlier recordings and may be a change that existing property fans will need some time to get used to. Valkyrie 2 profile: Silmeria still uses a different system, so the fresh Valkyrie Elysium mechanics don’t look like they’re uprooting something tried and tested that fans have loved for years. In Valkyrie Elysium, which takes place in Scandinavian mythology, recently popularized by God of War, familiar elements may appear to those who have not even heard of this property, which means that a simple whisper of characters such as Odin, Thor, Balder and Freya can be exciting. for those who usually do not find pleasure in the JRPG genre.
The PlayStation was a JRPG machine
Although Japanese role-playing games may have strong roots in the Nintendo Entertainment System with the release of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest on the console, it was only later that the JRPG formula was really refined. Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Final Fantasy 6 and Super Mario RPG were significant improvements to the SNES compared to past offerings, and many believe that this was the generation that possessed the best games in the genre to date. However, the move to a 3D environment was a leap that Nintendo struggled to make work for JRPGs, where the original PlayStation flourished.
It’s no secret that the visuals of Final Fantasy 7 leave much to be desired today, but its gameplay was everything that fans loved about role-playing games on Super Nintendo. The later installments of the Final Fantasy series have undergone improvements in aesthetics, and the PlayStation has given Square Enix, as well as other developers, the space they need to grow and improve, while the Nintendo 64 simply did not have enough power for this. Valkyrie Profile was one of the many standout JRPGs on PS One, sharing the spotlight with Wild ARMs, Vagrant Story and Xenogears, among others. Valkyrie Elysium under the same banner may become a suitable re-entry point into an ecosystem that has been densely filled with excellent role-playing games, and, even better, may provoke increased interest in like-minded games in the future.