Guaranteed to raise more than a few eyebrows…
Perhaps one of the lesser known RPG series, Valhalla Knights has yet to make a big splash in the videogames market. However, XSEED will be hoping that with this latest entry, Valhalla Knights 3, word will get around that this is a game for RPG fans to play on their PlayStation Vita. Word will undoubtedly get around, but perhaps for the wrong reasons…
The player will begin the game by creating a character. In a typical “Fantasy” style, the choice of race is initially limited to the standard Human, Dwarf, Elf or Halfling, although it should be pointed out that these races have been given a JRPG makeover which leaves them looking slightly unlike the races that we have all come to know from western fantasy. There are plenty of choices to be made by the player as they create their character, including a nice range of classes that set which skills the player will have and what their starting stats are. Handily, there will be the opportunity to change class later in the game, or modify it if the player finds their class not exactly suitable to their playstyle.
Also within the character creation options can be found the first eyebrow raising decision. Perhaps offering a glimpse of things to come, the game allows the player to adjust the size of the bust on their female character, growing it to comical size should they wish.
Still, breast size set to one side, there is a serious story going on here that the player will take a role in. The player is basically undercover within the game worlds’ largest and mostly deadly prison, tasked with searching for an artifact of immeasurable power that is presumably hidden in the caverns beneath. The player will be treated to some gritty scenes, both relating to the character’s past in order to build up a back story, and their current situation in the prison.
It is all a pretty grim business, but the developers have tried to lighten the mood with the occasional joke or inappropriately awkward situations to give the player a break. The regular japes from a companion, which can be annoying, are acceptable. However, and this is where even more eyebrows will raise, visiting what can only be described as a brothel for some much needed “relief” is where things get a little bit odd.
It’s all about improving relationships, y’know. The player will want to interact with the ladies found within for various, less unsavory reasons, such as trading. In an attempt to get more personal with the young lady, and thus enable various options, the player will have to work through the “Sexy Time” game, which will involve stroking and tapping the young lady on the screen until, well, satisfaction? If you can get the bad taste out of your mouth, you may be pleased to hear that going though this is optional.
The player will, when they are not engaging in “Sexy Time”, find themselves exploring the prison, the surrounding areas and the catacombs beneath. Players will build themselves a varied team of companions, which they can switch between during battles, and involve themselves in a multitude of fetch quests and the like. In many ways, Valhalla Knights 3 takes inspiration from many of the MMORPGs on the market with the level of grinding that is needed in-between following the main quests. It is expected that the player grind to achieve the level required for the difficult boss battles, although this is never pointed out and will result in some shock deaths for the uninformed.
The combat itself leans towards the button mashing formula. Presented in real time, players will find themselves relying more on the two main attack buttons, and the occasional class ability, than blocking or parrying. Most encounters will simply involve some frantic mashing of the attack buttons until it is over. Being able to switch between party members is nice, allowing the player options, and it is also possible to give orders to the other party members, although it is worth remembering that they are, for the most part, pretty thick.
Visually, Valhalla Knights 3 doesn’t feel like it was made for the Vita. The textures are muddy, the environments are dull and the game looks much more like your average PSP RPG than something made for Sony’s latest hardware. When you add to this the disappointing sound found in the game, which range from adequate to downright horrible, the overall presentation of the game is lacking. To top things off, the menus are bland and uninteresting, and there are some lengthy loading times to deal with.
One interesting addition that may attract a few players is the competitive online mode. Here, the player can actually take their team of seven online and pick a fight with another players team. Leaderboards can be climbed and there are even rewards available in game for competing in the online arena. It is a nice addition, but just a novelty which I doubt will last very long.
Valhalla Knights 3 may achieve notoriety for its “Sexy Time” mini-game, but the rest of this RPG really fails to offer anything new. The visual and sound quality leave a lot to be desired, the story is average and the combat can be repetitive. That being said, if you are a fan of the series, or if you are in the mood for a grinding adventure with a huge number of quests and some nice choices, then Valhalla Knights 3 would be worth checking out. Just don’t indulge in any “Sexy Time” with people around…