By: Uma Smith
Those that are big on fantasy action RPG games may or may not have found Valhalla Knights to be a delight back in the PSP days. However, developer XSEED is attempting to change all that with Valhalla Knights 3 for the PlayStation Vita. With a deeper degree of character and party customization, will the series finally prevail with this very title?
While the basic control mechanics are easy to figure out, it’s a real pity that there’s no option for customization offered in Valhalla Knights 3. Nevertheless, the button layout is at least arranged in a manner that you’d expect from a game like this. Switching between party members is executed with the select button while attacks are done with the face buttons. In addition, the interface of the menus is quite intuitive as well as organized, thereby avoiding the tedious task of shuffling between menus. All this contributes to a basically effective combat control scheme that makes it possible for players to jump in right away.
In regards to the presentation, Valhalla Knights 3 looks like a game straight out of the PSP era. The graphics are pretty much textured, the animations are a bit wobbly, and the expression on the characters’ faces appears as if they were mannequins of some sort. While this may be acceptable for PSP standards, this is the Vita that we’re talking about. As such, there’s a greater expectation for higher visual quality.
Luckily the audio does go a long way in keeping things lively in Valhalla Knights 3. The soundtrack sets the mood appropriately while the sound effects leave a deeper impact during one’s gameplay experience. Even so, the voice acting could use a little improvement.
Valhalla Knights 3 is set in a city developed around the Carceron Prison, which is controlled by convicts. Your character has been summoned to enter into this prison as a spy and find a secret treasure that can grant your wish. You have four races and seven classes to choose from, including humans, elves, and dwarves. Each character can acquire two secondary classes, thereby letting you choose amongst the available skills, special attack moves, and spells. While the ability to customize is always a good thing, there is one disturbing aspect of this feature: the fact that choosing a female gender would result in weaker strength. Right off the bat, this can be quite the turn-off for a woman.
When you enter into battles, you’ll be performing a combination of both weak and strong attacks while acquiring XP as you progress. You’ll have special abilities that you will have to choose from and boost up. Additionally, there is a meter that, when filled to the maximum, can inflict a significant amount of damage onto your enemies. Your success depends heavily on how well you develop your character. So, if you do come in unprepared before a powerful enemy, you may prove yourself to be an unworthy opponent.
However, Valhalla Knights 3 isn’t completely about the battles. Occasionally, you’ll be engaging in quests and even revisiting the prison to fulfill some objectives. These can include trading goods, reviving a fellow comrade, or (for you fellows), spending some “quality time” with the hostesses. In the latter, you’ll be going into the red light district and engaging in some peculiar activities with the female clerks. By the looks of it, Valhalla Knights 3 may be very appealing to a certain audience (read: males). To those of you who find this distasteful (including myself), you can always avoid this feature of the game, but it will make the journey a bit more difficult.
At its core, the experience behind Valhalla Knights 3 can end up feeling repetitive and tedious. Although there seems to be an attempt to make the gameplay diverse, it feels as if the wrong elements have been meshed together. There is at least support for online multiplayer, which lets you bring your character alongside a number of prisoners into battle against other players to test your skills. If it weren’t for this particular feature, the game would be in danger of losing players’ attention spans.
Although Valhalla Knights 3 is not necessarily a bad game, it does potentially turn off female gamers while, at the same time, pique the interests of boys. Still, if you can overlook some of the technical downfalls behind the game’s graphics as well as its repetitive gameplay, you may find this to be a worthwhile RPG that offers a great degree of character customization.