Save State Revisits 2D Action Metroidvania Valdis Story: Abyssal City

Welcome back to Save State, where I find random things in my library to chatter excitedly about at least twice a month. Going through some older games on my account, I found one that I greatly enjoyed quite a while ago but likely stopped playing due to my need at the time to move two states away for a new job.

The title for the subject of this week is Valdis Story: Abyssal City, which is apparently almost 11 years old now. A Metroidvania with a great focus on 2D action that I picked up on sale in 2016, Valdis Story has an incredible combat system that I still, even 8 years later, haven’t found something that quite replicates this enjoyable experience. When I originally got Valdis Story, I played it through with only one of the characters, and I was so surprised by how different the other characters controlled and performed in combat that I stuck with them for another entire playthrough.

The plot of Valdis Story is actually pretty decent, with bosses having some dialogue with your chosen protagonist, as well as there being some lore dumps in these books that you can find throughout the world. Of course, story isn’t typically the reason one would delve into these 2D action Metroidvanias (or labyrinthine platformers, if you’re savvy), and what Valdis Story really does to set itself apart is with its combat. In Valdis Story, you can pick one of four different protagonists who all play differently from one another in a combat system that I affectionately refer to as “2D Devil May Cry-lite.”

Each character has their unique weapons you can choose from, and each weapon has specific attack animations and combo strings, giving loads of depth, customizability, and replayability to the title. Armor and accessories overlap among the various characters, but the weapons choice controls your move set for taking on enemies and what combat options you have at your disposal. If you need more customization, you can upgrade your weapons and select skills from each character’s skill trees to better fit your play style.

Wyatt, the character I played back in 2016 going by my old save files, has fully upgraded dual blades which allow you to slice and dice enemies, launch them into the air, and continue abusing them while airborne. Conversely, if you want a slower, harder hitting weapon, you can always whip out Wyatt’s great sword, or if that’s too much innuendo for you, his golden shell weapon provides you with a parry-centric play style that dishes out big damage as a reward for blocking enemy attacks.

Since each of the four main characters has five different weapons that they have access to, and each weapon can be upgraded and specialized in conjunction with the rest of your items and 3 skill trees to form a very powerful build, each character has a lot of options. Of course, loads of options would be mediocre if not for good systems to use them in, but thankfully that’s where Valdis Story shines the brightest. While moving from location to location involves some great platforming segments and wailing on enemies, the bosses are where you’ll be tasked with showing your full grasp of Valdis Story’s combat system.

Defeating bosses and doing well can give you a whole host of tangible bonuses like permanent stat increases, but the bosses of Valdis Story will really test your skills and understanding of the combat system. Learning when to commit an attack and try to parry are important if you want to kill the bosses presented to you throughout the story and are especially important if you want to challenge the powerful secret bosses, too.

It’s just really fun to dash through hallways, collecting all of the items you come across like a rabid loot goblin while also punching the lights out of random birds and knights you encounter. There is obstacles, traps, and enemies that you can plow your way through while you backtrack to find even more goodies with new traversal abilities you’ve unlocked. You can even take care of side quests by defeating various roaming monsters, collecting items, etc., which can all provide you with great rewards you can immediately use to upgrade your gear and to better bash in the face of the next boss you encounter.

Valdis Story: Abyssal City is one of those games I rarely ever hear someone talk about, but it’s a whole lot of fun if you enjoy the involved 2D combat system with labyrinthine platforming and exploration. It really just is the best of both worlds, with gorgeous visuals and great musical themes for both combat encounters and ambient exploration tracks. Valdis Story really nails about everything you’d hope a $15 game would get right, and even delivers high replayability due to each character playing completely different from one another.

With that, I think it’s time to bring this entry of Save State to a close. Valdis Story: Abyssal City is one of those titles that really impressed me when I found it out of the blue. I found myself enjoying the challenging combat, and especially the story, a lot more than I expected to and thought it would be perfect to talk about this week. Join us here again in two weeks’ time when I find yet another thing in my backlog to gush about for multiple pages of text. Until next time!

Platforms: , , ,
Share this GiN Article on your favorite social media network: