The Valiant from THQ Nordic and Kite Games is a medieval-themed real-time strategy on PlayStation 5. Learn more in our The Valiant review!
The Valiant from THQ Nordic and Kite Games is a medieval-themed real-time strategy on PlayStation 5. The game was originally released on PC in 2022, and it’s now made the jump to Sony’s latest console. There are four different options for you to take on what The Valiant has to offer. First up is Campaign Mode, which will have you taking on the role of virtuous knight Theoderich von Akenburg, who must assemble a mighty warband to take on a quest of the utmost importance. The second one is Skirmish Mode, for which you’ll have to fight against and try to defeat AI opponents as you make the most of what you’ve learned about how The Valiant’s gameplay loop works. Another option is Competitive Mode, which will test your skills in PvP matches for up to 4 players. The last one is, well, Last Man Standing Mode, for which you will have two comrades by your side as you try to defend a trio of supply wagons from wave after wave of enemies.
Since the game has landed on PlayStation 5 from PC, that means that the controls had to be adapted for console gaming. There’s a LOT for you to do with your DualSense during your time with The Valiant. The left analog stick can be used to navigate the camera, while the right one is used for a focused snap. By pressing the L1 button and then using the right analog stick, you can rotate the camera. Pressing the L1 button and then the L2 or R2 buttons will allow you to zoom in and out as needed.
You’ll be controlling different squads, so you’ll have to command them with the Square button to make the most of their strengths and abilities. The D-Pad will make it possible to select squads by pressing left or right as needed. You can select all squads by pressing and holding the down direction on the D-Pad. Pressing up will allow you to jump to the selected squad. A squad’s main ability is mapped to the Triangle button. There’s also a secondary ability mapped to the X button and even an accessory ability set to the Circle button. These last two are only available when you’re playing in the Last Man Standing Mode.
Heroes and elite squads will automatically gain Vengeance during combat. Once fully charged, all of that Vengeance can be used to activate a Retribution ability. Retribution abilities are very powerful skills that can deal massive melee damage around heroes or boost damage dealt by ranged heroes. Once your Retribution ability is fully charged, press the L1 and R1 buttons at the same time to unleash it. And no, you should not “save it for later” because when outside of battle, Vengeance will decay at a fast pace!
Other than the first battle during the prologue – which will serve as a short tutorial – you won’t be able to survive and overcome the odds thrown your way if you don’t increase your numbers. This is why you must make the most of the buildings at your disposal so that you can recruit additional squads for your army by spending your hard-earned gold coins. Get yourself some additional swordsmen for close-range combat, or go with some archers that can unleash a steady volley of arrows.
Let’s take a step back and talk about abilities for a bit. Just mashing buttons as you order this or that squad to attack enemies will not be enough since your opponents will be able to retaliate with great strength since they’re going to easily outnumber you most of the time. This is when abilities come into play and show you why they’re so valuable, no matter the size of the army you go up against.
As for abilities themselves, your main hero Theoderich von Akenburg has a very powerful ability called Devotion that will recover the vigor and Fortitude of all friendly squads within its range – a must for saving squads that might be ambushed or that would otherwise be overwhelmed. But don’t forget to use the abilities of your other squads as well! Take, for example, swordsmen. They have a very useful shield bass ability that will knock down enemy squads in front of them while also dealing considerable damage.
Spearmen are also a valuable squad since they have a longer attack range – but are slower to attack – and have an ability that allows them to throw javelins at enemies, which will keep them from moving for a bit. This is a crucial ability that can keep charging enemies from getting too close for comfort so that you can use your other squads to swarm them before they even get a chance to know what hit them.
Archers are also a very important squad. They can launch arrows at your enemies from a safe distance, which is why I advise that you keep at least one squad of swordsmen or spearmen near your archers. Why? Because in case a group of enemies rushes toward your archers, you’ll at least have some squads to defend them before they automatically change from long-range to close-range attacks. Archers also have an ability that allows them to launch a volley of arrows over a wide area, which can easily turn the tide of battle.
As you complete each mission, you will be rewarded with experience points. These are obtained for completing the mission itself, for not losing any health points with your heroes during the mission, and for completing medal challenges. You can also find gear in each mission, so you should search every area of the map to make sure you’re not leaving something valuable behind!
By gaining enough experience points, your heroes will level up. Doing this will reward them with Skill Points that can be spent at each of their Skill Trees in order to unlock abilities and talents to aid them on their quest. For Theoderich, you could unlock the Battle Awareness talent, which makes it possible for him to receive 25% less damage when fighting more than one opponent. Or maybe you want to be a bit more aggressive and would like to add the Rigorous Retribution talent, which will refund 20% vengeance after activating Retribution. An example of an ability would be the Banner of Suppression which allows you to place a banner at the target location that blocks the abilities of enemy squads. Since only one Banner of any kind can be present at any time, you will need to choose wisely!
If you want to 100% the game, then you’re going to have to replay each mission at least once. Why is that, you might ask? Because once you complete a mission, you’ll unlock challenges for it! Challenges are additional objectives you can work on taking as you replay a mission. The reason they unlock after completing a mission is that they considerably increase the difficulty. Completing a mission is hard enough as it is, but having to do it while, say, not being able to regenerate Fortitude outside of combat or only being allowed to use your hero squad, will definitely put your skills to the test.
Trophy-wise, this game has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy waiting for you. The list is split into 17 Bronze trophies, 8 Silver trophies, and 6 Gold trophies. The objectives you’ll need to take care of are, for example, completing your first single-player campaign mission, unlocking an ability on a hero’s skill tree, using a throwable item for the first time, defeating your first enemy squad, forming a bond with 10 different friendly squads, completing the campaign on the easy difficulty setting, finishing a mission after completing all 3 challenges, defeating an enemy squad that is retreating, defeating a boss on the hard difficulty setting, and completing the campaign while playing on hard.
The Valiant brings us a solid medieval-themed real-time strategy that will place you in the role of Theoderich von Akenburg, who must come out of retirement to fight his former brother-in-arms for the greater good. As you command a variety of squads with different strengths, weaknesses, and abilities to consider, you will need to give it your all to survive the onslaught of enemies coming for your head. What is there to complain about the game? Well, since it’s made the jump from PC to console, that means that a very common issue is present in The Valiant: tiny text. This is usually the case for games ported from PC to console, but it’s something that can hopefully be fixed with a patch. The Valiant is out today on PlayStation 5 with a $24.99 price tag.
This The Valiant review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by THQ Nordic.