Valhollian is a JP-exclusive game which blends elements of Fire Emblem and Shining Force. It’s a rather challenging SRPG, especially for newcomers to the genre. Thankfully, you’re allowed the convenience of saving any time you want. Developed by one of the most obscure gaming companies ever (Datt Japan), it nonetheless offers some interesting ideas such as a combination system wherein you can pair up two units to attack the same enemy for extra damage, building up their “Match” (basically, Shining Force 3 bonds or Fire Emblem supports) in doing so. As another nice feature, characters all develop quite distinctly, providing you a good mix of melee and ranged units. Some units can give themselves extra turns after attacking, some have potent AoEs, others have awesome physical power, and one can even teleport your other units ANYWHERE on the map!
Given the indie nature of the game, it naturally has some imperfections: character selection is limited to just 12, with no party-building and very little unit management; the story isn’t fantastic, although it does have some good parts; enemies take a little too long to think and move; and you can tell that the devs reused quite a few assets, given the limited enemy selection. Nevertheless, Valhollian is a polished game, boasting impressive visuals (by Saturn standards), innovative ideas, and a somewhat unique format which places more emphasis on resource management/conservation rather than grand strategy. It’s a very easy recommendation for just about any SRPG fan out there.
It may not be the greatest SRPG of all time, but it’s a more-than-worthy entry to the genre and proof positive that the Sega Saturn is a tragically underexposed console.
Console: Sega Saturn
Developers: Datt Japan
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SRPG Academy’s character guide
Listen to the soundtrack here