Valkyrie Sky

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UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available

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Overview

Valkyrie Sky Overview

Valkyrie Sky is a unique blend of the classic arcade shoot em’ up and MMO genres. Fans of the genre should definitely be able to find something to like in Valkyrie Sky, as it’s currently the first and only game of its kind. Perhaps Valkyrie Sky’s most unique aspect is that even though it’s an MMO it still retains the classical arcade ‘feel’.  The game’s four playable class types are:

Swordsman - They specialize in close range attacks. The three Swordsman classes are Fighter, Knight and Defender.

Summoner – They can summon various monsters to fight for them. The three Summoner classes are Summoner, Conjurer or Tamer.

Magician - They can attack many targets simultaneously with their powerful magic. The three magician classes are Mage, Sorcerer and Wizard.

Bowman – They are long-range attackers with various powerful buffs and skills. The three bowman classes are Archer, Hunter and Ranger.

Valkyrie Sky Screenshots

Valkyrie Sky Featured Video

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Full Review

Valkyrie Sky Review

By Omer Altay

Valkyrie Sky is an incredibly unique, 3D horizontal “shoot em’ up” style MMO with many MMORPG elements. It resembles classical arcade games like R-Type, Robotron 2084 and Scramble, but for those unfamiliar with the niche genre, ‘Shoot em’ up’ games are extremely straight forward – players have to reach the end of each stage while defeating waves and waves of enemies, while at the same time dodging their bullet fire. The player in most of these classical arcade games is almost always a lone gunship against hordes of enemy aircraft. If you’re still confused, just check out the gameplay screenshot below and it may clear things up. Like Ragnarok Online and Grand Fantasia, Valkyrie Sky is loosely based on Norse mythology.

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An MMO Shoot Em’ Up? Awesome

After playing Valkyrie Sky for a couple of hours, one thing that I really want to emphasize is that Valkyrie Sky is a one-of-a-kind MMO. It’s the only shoot em’ up MMO currently on the market. What I really like about the game is that it’s extremely modern. The game’s developers did an excellent job porting the classic genre which was popularized back in 1980s and 1990s into the 21st century.  Even though much of the actual gameplay takes place across ‘instanced’ levels, Valkyrie Sky also has a persistent world both inside and outside of town. Only the missions are instanced.

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Valkyrie Sky has an excellent amount of variety. Players start off their adventure by first selecting one of the game’s twelve starting character classes. Unfortunately, the game has zero individual customization in terms of appearance, but the game’s many classes and deep skill customization later on in the game more than make up for lack of appearance customization. Upon choosing and naming a character, players start off in the town of Flyghelm and are given a chance to complete the game’s tutorial. There’s really no reason to skip it, as it’s both short and informative.

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Adventuring in the World of Erden

Although Valkyrie Sky needs a bit more direction, the gameplay itself is genuinely fun. Before diving right into that, though, players should stop by the Council Entrance in Flyghelm, as that’s where players can obtain quests. Most of the game’s quests involve killing enemies that players would otherwise kill anyway while treking through individual stages. Where Valkyrie Sky shines brightest is its unique gameplay. Each of the game’s guard posts, which are scattered across the world of Erden, have multiple different maps (think Worlds?) and each of those ‘maps’ have four stages each (levels) and a boss stage at the end. Players can opt to complete these stages alone or with a party (maximum party size is 4). The first few stages can be completed alone easily, but the later levels are extremely difficult to complete solo. Luckily, It’s quite easy to find others in Valkyrie Sky as the game has a built in ‘find party’ feature.

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In the spirit of classical shoot em’ ups, players in Valkyrie Sky die very fast. In fact, getting hit by just two stray bullets or enemies is almost guaranteed to finish up even a full HP bar. This adds excitement to the game, as well as frustration.  I say frustration because trying to keep track of all the happenings with four players on the screen, as well as a dozen enemies, can be absurdly difficult – especially when every player is firing at enemies nonstop, which only further clutters the screen. Luckily, navigating the chaos is made a bit easier by the game’s simple controls. Players can move around with either the mouse or with the directional keys. I personally found the directional keys a lot easier to use.

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Progression and Character Growth

One thing worth pointing out is that the experience rate in Valkyrie Sky is a bit slow, but completing quests makes the game’s pace a bit more bearable. Players receive five ability points each level, and can distribute those into any one of the game’s five stats; STR, DEX, INT, CHR and LUK. Each new level also rewards players with a single Job Point (JP) which can be used to learn new skills or advance current ones. Each class only has four skills, which is a bit of a disappointment, but the fact that players can change classes and retain their skills increases the total number of skills available to them drastically.  Players will often have to complete the same set of stages more than once to level up enough to begin adventuring in more difficult areas, which can make things a bit repetitive.

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One interesting feature in Valkyrie Sky is the game’s ‘Titles’ system. Players unlock new titles by completing various difficult tasks and can ‘wear’ these titles and receive special bonuses for doing so. For example, the ‘Iron Heart’ title is acquired after a full party clears a stage without anyone using their ultimate skill. Equipping the title improves your character’s ultimate by skill by +10. Think of these titles as achievements.  I’d love to see the ‘Title’ system in Valkyrie Sky be used in other MMOs as well. It would work particularly well in MMOFPS games like Wolfteam and Sudden Attack. Players could be rewarded for getting long kill sprees.

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Exploring the World of Valkyrie Sky

Traveling between towns and guardposts in Valkyrie Sky is accomplished in one of two ways. Players can simply hold their ‘space’ key to enter the game’s ‘world map’ (Sky Field) and fly to their destination manually, or they could use the teleporter inside of each town and guard post. Think of these teleporters as the gryphons from World of Warcraft. Before they can be used, you physically need to activate them by first exploring the area manually. Plus, it costs Gran, the game’s currency, to activate new teleporters. Plus, just using a teleporter also costs a bit of money. Personally, it’s really not worth using these teleporters early on because the cost out significantly outweighs the benefits. This is mainly because money is tight during the first ten or so levels. Going from town to town without a teleporter is quite easy, though as the world map isn’t that big.

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Stamina System

One aspect of Valkyrie Sky which I dislike a bit is the game’s ‘stamina’ system. Players have a maximum of 400 stamina points and regenerate these points over time. Just entering a stage in Valkyrie Sky costs a few stamina points. The more difficult a stage is, the more stamina it requires just to enter that stage. Also, keep in mind stamina is consumed twice as fast during ‘night time’ in the game. All of this sort of discourages ‘level grinding’, but I feel that limiting how often someone can ‘play’ a game is a bit ridiculous, especially when you’re in a party and all of a sudden you run out of stamina. If this happens, the party leader will likely kick you out of the group (because unless everyone in the party has enough stamina to enter a stage, no one can enter it). I do rememebr Atlantica Online implemented a similar system, but they did it much better because even if you ran out of stamina in Atlantica, only your experience gain will be reduced, and you could still physically play the game. To be fair, players can increase their stamina regeneration by playing a musical instrument, fishing or even cooking.

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Last Minute Thoughts

My biggest complaint with games like Valkyrie Sky and Lunia is that they’re way too linear. I stage-based linear gameplay isn’t bad, but upon completing all of the game’s stages there’s little left to do. To be fair, the life skills (fishing, playing music and cooking) can be mastered, and players can also participate in the game’s PvP. Players can also get a taste of the in-depth pet system in Valkyrie Sky after reaching level 11. Pets can be enormously helpful in difficult stages, as they also attack enemies and even experience and level up themselves. Another little thing worth pointing out is that the game’s musical score is actually quite good. The game’s translations are also quite bad, but luckily there isn’t a lot of reading to do in the game.

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Final Verdict – Good

Valkyrie Sky is without a doubt one of the most unique MMOs out there. The game has a great deal of variety and the core gameplay is both fun and fluid. I’d like to see more content in the game, as after finishing all of the game’s ‘stages’ there is little to do. The game is still well worth checking out.

Screenshots

Valkyrie Sky Screenshots

Videos

Valkyrie Sky Videos

Gameplay Trailer

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Valkyrie Sky Feature Video

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Links

Valkyrie Sky Links

Valkyrie Sky Official Site

System Requirements

Valkyrie Sky System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 2000
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2 Ghz or AMD 2000+
RAM: 512 MB
HDD: 450 MB Free
Graphics Card: Geforce2 Mx440 or ATI Radeon 7500

Recommended Specifications:
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 2000
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.4 Ghz
RAM: 1024 MB (1 GB) Free
HDD: 1000 MB Free
Graphics Card: Geforce 6600GT  or ATI Radeon 9800XT

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