19 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 8.5 hrs on record
Posted: Oct 6, 2018 @ 2:27pm
Product received for free

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Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story is a strange game that falls outside of expectations, plus a couple of annoying features that causes it to have a fair number of negative reviews upon its recent release. I have spent a few hours with this game and haven't made it very far, but far enough to know that I like it, and let me expound my reasons.

Think about fantasy genre with heroes, villains, mythical creatures, magic, and the like, imagine an RPG with a team of well-balanced heroes heading off on a quest, and pretend you are running an economy with a constant strain on material resources, time constraints, and a deep mountain of debt. This game tries to piece all of these together by installing you as the principal of the Valthirian Academy (or whatever you chose you name your school), and you have to balance, manage, fight, grind, only to stay afloat, while watching your biggest resource, those students that you have spent time and effort to guide and to raise from weaklings to heroes, graduate from the academy one by one. You are faced with the bigger headaches that nobody ever tells in a fantasy story. You are supposed to smile, be cool, and support the main character as he/she goes on a dragon-hunting quest or to search for the lost artifacts to save the world. But oh no, you are stuck to your office chairs and worrying about the little details of financial sense and the minutiae of the cogs of the overall machine that is your school. And your school is tasked with generating the next set of heroes that are needed in all walks of this fantasy world that you are in.

There are more involved RPG elements that are some active quests for your students, and so you are not sitting in your chair all day. On these quests, you will take a party of up to four of your students, you will control one and the rest are AI (you can freely select which student is your controlled character at any point during the quest), and you will go to a small area map where you have to accomplish the given tasks (or die trying). The combat is in real-time ARPG kind of format, and the fighting is perhaps a bit too simplistic, but this allows the more casual gamers to play as well. If you are really not into fighting enemies on your own, you can choose to hide behind the wall of your AI party members.

There seems to be a certain element of grinding involved, but it's not heavy, most of this is gathering resources, doing your crafting, waiting for funds to build appropriate buildings, upgrading your buildings and hero students, etc. At the same time you need to find a right balance, and that is the most difficult thing to do in this game. How you spend your resources will directly and indirectly influence a lot of your game as you move forward.

I see that people think that it should be a mobile game, in parts it may have that feel, but I think overall, it sits pretty well on PC. I like the details that are visible. But I agree that the simple combat in active quests as well as school management do have a finger-tapping feel. Perhaps this was intentional, perhaps it was not.

There is an in-game help screen that you can bring up in most places, you just press F1 and it will tell you the details of what you should be doing. So if you are clueless about how to go about doing something, I recommend that you look at these pages.

Controls
Gamepad or KB+Mouse both work, but the KB+M bindings could use a lot of improvements from the current set up. In particularly, mouse click should be used for combat attacking, and this is not the case.

Graphics and Music
I think the art work is fantastic, and I really enjoy it. While it may not be for everyone, I think it's bright colors and cuteness is a plus.
The music is pretty good, nothing outstanding.

Pricing
Quite reasonable. Base price of $14.99 USD seems quite reasonable for this game. There is no mobile release eve

Positives
+Cute graphics
+Non-conventional style of gameplay
+Well-designed and put together into one package
+Makes the player think seriously about certain decisions before mindlessly clicking.

Negatives
-Errand missions can cause a lot of frustration for the player in terms of real-life waiting. If you accidentally send all of your students in parties on errand missions, you have nothing to do but to wait for them to come back. I recommend that you be cautious at all times and never send all of your students away on errands. (Unless you have 30 minutes or so to kill while waiting for them to return.)
-Simple combat in active missions, I wish the fights were a bit more involved. But this is my take.
-Controls could use improvement, see above. I felt that the easiest way to play the active missions was the use of the gamepad. But keyboard and mouse was much simpler to use for the school management bits.
-Hints at being able to be better in many aspects, but perhaps fall a bit short for people who have expectations.

Conclusion
Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story is a game that is beautifully crafted with a neat set of ideas. It does well in some areas but falls short on others. You might wish to look at some videos of this game to see if you might like it, because it does have something unique to offer. If you are dead set on wanting to get a specific game out of this and don't see what you expected, then be prepared to be disappointed. The many elements means that the game would become overly burdensome should the details get to fine. So your students' inventories may be a little small, the fighting may be a little mundane, and the management situations may not make a ton of sense at times. But I think that the game works well as a whole. And I would give it 7/10 at this time.

Here's my recording of my very first look at this game and trying to stumble my way through the early stages:
https://youtu.be/tycvWiZr2to

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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