We’re a bit behind with the ol’ Valthirian Arc: School Story 2 PS5 review. My apologies. There wasn’t that much time to play between getting the code and the launch, so I wanted to give it a fair assessment. As it’s an RPG type, you can’t play for 20 minutes and have a clear understanding. That said…
You might already be ahead of the game, heard of School Story 1, or even played it. Not me. PQube were attached to it, so I couldn’t not have a look. However, it’s Agate Games who are behind this fantasy romp – it’s their baby, so let’s take a quick look at what it’s all about.
Unsurprisingly, you manage a school in Valthirian Arc: School Story 2. Once you choose a suitable avatar, you get acquainted with the tutorial. Initially, it makes sense, but getting lost around the screen real estate is easy. Not that it’s cluttered, per se, but there are options along all sides of the screen, and you have to press the respective buttons to access them.
Valthirian Arc: School Story 2 PS5 Review
Playing this on a smaller screen would be a nightmare, but fortunately, I was lucky to get a PS5 code to peek at. The visuals are nice, but there’s something about the game that feels very mobile-like and an element of the gameplay that’s on rails.
Using visual novel style storytelling, we’re introduced to our first student, Rodno – the guinea pig of combat. Characters like Rodno can be freely controlled as per any RPG, but pressing the square button will initiate a turn-based battle, often giving you a pre-emptive attack if the enemy hasn’t seen you.
Once again, it looks nice, but the combat is basic and uninspiring. When you get new students, you can take out a party and alternate between the attackers/defenders. However… the combat in Valthirian Arc: School Story 2 is unusual as you can control the same character repeatedly, meaning you’ll only opt to use the character with the highest damage, occasionally swapping to a support player to heal up.
It sounds simple, and while it is, the game will keep you on your toes as it’s somewhat unfair at the beginning as enemies are overpowered. The only way to combat this (heh), other than pure talent, is to grind enemies to level up. More importantly, and this is where the management kicks in, you can train your students and boost their skills.
At first, this means basic classes, but once they start unlocking new skills, you can choose a dedicated path – a specific skillset if you will. There are some issues with this, though. First of all, studying takes time, so there’s a lot of skipping forward. Secondly, it costs money, and your students award these unique crystals as their academic fees.
Time is vital in Valthirian Arc: School Story 2 as it is with practically any other game, as you have to fast forward seasons to level up, but also rest everyone. Battles take their toll and reduce stamina, as will studying. After so much, the students practically give up and relax in their dorms, making them unavailable.
…And The Rest
This proves a problem when you want to complete a quest: none are available, so you press triangle and advance the storyline, potentially missing time-restricted events and stories. I’m sure I missed quite a bit because my mage was sitting it out after reading too much. It’s pretty annoying.
And, while the story and characters are interesting enough, many interruptions with dialogue scenes spoil the game’s flow. There’s just too much restriction on what you can do and when you can do it. When not wrestling time, you’ll be researching advancements, working with other factions to give yourself a heads up on the battlefield, and, ideally, being a place that attracts more students.
Valthirian Arc: School Story 2 has a lot of lore to it, but it’s somewhat fragmented due to the tempo of the gameplay and awkward UI. It just felt too on the rails to get my teeth sunk in and far too much squandering of time to have students ready for some adventures. And don’t get me started on the mini-games. I didn’t enjoy those at all.
Unfortunately, Valthirian Arc: School Story 2 isn’t one of those games I can recommend. The pacing was off, combat was often monotonous (when I could get the students out of bed), and the story was sometimes almost alien to the gameplay. That doesn’t mean you should avoid it; it’s just not for me.