Title: Valhalla Knights 3
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher (Developer): XSeed (K2)
ESRB Rating: Mature for Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes and Violence
Valhalla Knights 3 left me in a state of confusion. It’s a Vita game, but looks like it barely made it out of the PS1 era. At the same time, it can appeal to those who get satisfaction out of grinding for extended periods of time. This isn’t the kind of game that’s good for pick up and play sessions. You need to devote a sizable amount of time to this game. If you manage to make it that far, you’ll find it difficult to really dislike it due to your investment. But if you’re just curious as to whether this game is worth it, just know I don’t think it is.
Bad first impression
The story is not all that interesting. You’re searching for this lost treasure by acquiring leads you learn from your time in a prison called Carceron. This isn’t like a typical prison. There aren’t any guards shuffling criminals back and forth into cells. Carceron is like a small town that sprung up inside an old castle. There are shops, territories run by mob-like families and an arena to compete in. It’s not too unlike the typical town setting in other RPGs. Outside the prison is a dull and flat natural environment where hostile forces wander about waiting for something to kill them. It’s always dangerous to go outside on missions, but you’ll have to do this a lot if you want to get some quality gear.
There are plenty of character customization options in Valhalla Knights 3. In addition to choosing the type of class you want to play as, there are lots of armor and weapons to be had. The problem is these things don’t come cheap. There are essentially two sections within the prison with different tiers of shops. In the beginning, you’ll be buying gear from the slums of the prison. When you make enough cash, you can move on to the shops in the upper part of the prison. This is a grinding task in its own right, but it’s made even worse by load times.
I’ve never seen a Vita game with so many darn loading screens. If you walk into a building, there’s a loading screen. Moving from one part of the prison to another is another loading screen. Going out into the world to beat up on things requires another loading screen. I don’t mind not being able to seamlessly transition from one area to the next all the time, but I got really tired of waiting several seconds every time I wanted to go somewhere new.
A confusing grind
Valhalla Knights 3 also does a really bad job of explaining how to do things. You have a CPU-controlled party with you all the time, but you can switch in between them when it’s appropriate for the situation. Everyone tends to have a different specialty, but I just had trouble keeping it all straight. The menus are confusing and micro managing everyone became a chore.
The combat is what I hoped was a redeeming factor. Wrong again. First, the camera is weird. It’s too close to your character. Your attacks vary from light to heavy and you can do combos as well. But again, it’s just not that fun. There are also difficulty spikes that makes it all feel not worth it. I don’t understand why you have to grind so hard for new gear and levels to beat a boss that that’s supposed to be at your level. I’m sorry, but that’s not fun to me.
The missions also get tedious. I remember when I had to run around the prison and find people to bring to this priest. The problem was there was nothing to show me who I was looking for and where they could be. I wondered around that prison talking to everyone I saw and hoped one of them was the right person. That means I went through long loading screens while trying to keep track of everywhere I was. It was awful.
In a prison that mostly consists of men with sharp weapons, there apparently needed to be some ladies to take the edge off. The female shopkeepers in Valhalla Knights 3 come off as prostitutes that have to be showered with gifts. And that’s after you pay them an upfront fee to buy things from them in the first place. What’s that about?
Eventually all your gift giving flattery pays off with a mini game called Sexy Time. This is the opportunity to show the girls “some love” by tapping all over her. Be careful though! There are prying eyes everywhere, and you have to stop when she tells you to. You’ll get items for doing the deep correctly, but it’s just a ridiculous and offensive concept in general. Don’t play this in public unless you want to come off as a very creepy individual.
I don’t like this game. When it’s not being offensive, it’s an unattractive, confusing mess that’s not fit for the Vita.