Valhalla Knights - hands-on

The town and castle architecture is of a royal-Victorian era and you have a map in the upper-right hand corner to help you keep track of accessible doorways. All of which is rendered very nicely on the PSP. It looks great. Fountains spewing water and blades of light shine through windows demonstrate awesome graphical touches that really stood out to us.

Thankfully there are no random battles, which will help when your Priestess is on her last legs. Monsters lumber around and heading into them initiates a separate, real-time battle screen where you can move wherever you want on the field and cycle through your party members on the fly (everyone you aren't controlling will still keep brawling, thankfully). The face buttons deal out regular and special attacks, while the D-pad is used for support commands when you want your team to heal, or focus on a specific enemy. Bringing up either menu pauses the action, which is good - you'll need a breather, as you'll be doing plenty of fighting and leveling up from the outset, and this thing is damn hard at times.

Valhalla Knights is already out in Japan and it's coming stateside on March 6th. The game looks great in motion aside from some touchy camera issues -like getting hung up around corners. Check back for an official review this spring and be prepared to dust that PSP off and show it some love.