RPGamer as a site has never been terribly fond of the Valhalla Knights series, but we seem to be in the minority since XSEED keeps bringing out each game in the series. For the third title, we're seeing a jump from the PSP to the Wii, and the net result is a game that feels much like the previous Valhalla titles while bringing a breath of fresh air into the series: Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga
The first major change is to party size. Gone are the frantic battles in which up to six party members must be controlled at a dizzying pace. Instead, the player takes control of a single hero; they may, later in the game, choose to hire up to two mercenaries but this is totally optional. Also gone are the separated battle screens -- combat is now action-RPG oriented and can occur anywhere in a zone. We were quickly surrounded by three killer fluffy bunnies and two butterflies, dying a very embarrassing death. No matter, we resurrected in town and ventured back out to a different area; there the enemies were much weaker and the fluffy bunnies in question ran away in fear from my level 6 might -- rawr! Once the character's TP meter was filled, with a shake of the Wiimote a powerful attack was unleashed upon unsuspecting foes.
The game allows for two player online co-op, but does not support local co-op play, an oddity I'm still scratching my head over. The voice acting (what will be in the game, anyways) is English only, but there won't be much voice work outside of the opening narrative and battle cries. The emphasis of the game is definitely on exploration; the former VK games only had one town, whereas there are a multitude in the new game. Each town will have a guild, and each will provide quests to the player as they explore Eldar and discover the secrets around them.
There are five basic jobs which a character can begin with, with additional advanced jobs becoming available as the game progresses. Initially, players will only be able to select a Human male character, but as they meet other humans along with the various elves, dwarves, etc. of the world these genders and races will also unlock and become available to play, with the caveat that any new character will begin at level 1 and must be progressed forward from there. Weather effects are present throughout the world to add flavour to the zones, and for the fashion conscious there's plenty of matching armour sets to acquire as the player goes along.
Those interested in this Wii-waggler should watch their calenders for a firm release date; I wasn't able to pry anything more out of Ken then a vague "Fall some time" launch window, but I'm confident as soon as a month or date is finalized we'll be one of the first to know. It will be interesting to see how many people make the jump from the previous Sony handheld games onto a Nintendo console.