Valhalla Knights 3 Review

Good knights? Bad knights. Very bad knights.

There are some game series that befuddle with their ability to persist through the years. They repeat the same design mistakes they have always made, over and over, with seemingly nothing changing in spite of frequent fan feedback. One such series is Valhalla Knights. After two and a half mediocre-at-best PSP outings and an astonishingly miserable Wii spin-off, the series went quiet for three years, only to return to life like some sort of horrible Frankenstein's monster on the PS Vita. You would think those three years would be put to good use fixing the series' many, many problems for a new generation. Unfortunately, the Frankenstein's monster metaphor is particularly apt here: Valhalla Knights is a lumbering, ugly, patched-together mess. It's made up of some interesting concepts, but the specific parts that compose it are rotten.

There is no caption one could write to make this less embarrassing.

Valhalla Knights starts off with you creating a central player character. You are part of a team of spies infiltrating the prison city of Carceron, a hive of scum and villainy that has housed numerous scoundrels since it fell from grace during a war many years ago. The setting is one of the few interesting bits of Valhalla Knights 3: a palace transformed into a prison city in the aftermath of a war, with criminal "families" warring over territory and a legendary treasure said to rest somewhere deep within its walls.

As interesting as the concept is, the execution is thoroughly botched. Many stories have given us lawbreakers and career criminals who nonetheless manage to be appealing and interesting characters, but practically every person in Carceron--aside from the "service girls" in various locales--is unappealing at best and detestable at worst. The game also quickly squanders its own setting; the appeal of finding the secrets within a mysterious, cordoned-off prison town dissipates as soon as you step outside into the generic fantasy fields and caves where most of your quests take place.

The setting and class system, while great in theory, are attached to a game that is ugly, grind-heavy, laughably animated, and just plain unpleasant on numerous levels.

Once you get past the initial batch of tutorials and story (and load times, which are frequent and lengthy), you start digging into the gameplay of Valhalla Knights 3, only to find that it is also wholly unappealing. You start off by creating a character from one of several races and classes, each with its own attributes, stat bonuses, weapons, and skill trees. As you progress through the game, you can swap classes, unlock new races and classes, create and/or hire new party members to join your band under CPU control, and reassign both main classes and subclasses to your crew. The game does an awful job of explaining when and how you can do all of these things, however. At one point early on, I expended a bunch of money to assign my main character a subclass, but then discovered I could do nothing with it because the game hadn't told me that I could learn skills only from a main class.

It's a bunch of people in similarly colored armor smacking each other unconvincingly!

Classes have a direct effect on combat through their specialized weaponry and skills, and no two classes play the same way. While the variety is nice, there's no class or class combination that makes the fighting any more fun. Fighting in Valhalla Knights 3 is akin to that in other action role-playing games: attacks, spells, items, and skills are mapped to certain buttons (or button combinations), and you and your CPU-controlled band try to stay alive while beating down whatever foes are in the way. What becomes clear from the very first battle you enter is how hilariously awful the character and enemy animations are. Hits have little impact, with fighting and hit animations looking abysmal when compared to the sophisticated fighting animations of comparable games. Giving enemies a few soft smacks with a choppy punching combo and watching them topple over dead sucks all the thrill out of a fight. (Cutscenes look just as slapdash, if not more so because you can see the poor character modeling much more clearly.)

Adding to the annoyance are the game's bizarre AI and difficulty fluctuations. You can see enemies wandering the fields, but it's tough to tell when or how they will be aggressive toward you (unless, of course, you initiate combat first). They don't behave in any sort of believable way, either. I encountered instances when I could start a fight, kill some members of a band, run away, and then come back and loot the corpses while the leader was still wandering around, not bothering to strike back even when he saw me again. Also, there's not much of a difficulty curve. You can easily demolish every foe in each area the game leads you to, but the side and story quests that are presented to you in those same areas utterly crush you unless you spend time grinding. The game makes believe you are prepared for the challenge, only to pull the rug out from under you.

Hey bro, I'm over here. Been here for a while. You, uh, planning on attacking?

As if the game weren't already embarrassing enough, Valhalla Knights 3 tries to add some spice to the experience by attempting to be "sexy." Several of the higher-class stores and facilities in Carceron employ scantily clad, attractive women whom you pay an upfront fee to before you do your regular shopping. Besides buying items and upgrades, you can give presents to the ladies serving you. If they happen to like your gift enough, you enter a Sexy Time minigame where you use the Vita's touchscreen to rub the girls' bodies, stopping every so often to make sure nobody's catching you trying to get to first and second base. Succeed, and you go to the Inn in Carceron, and receive potential recruiting and item rewards. Sexy Time is accessed by both male and female main characters, but only female non-player characters can receive your affections; there are a few male NPCs you can give gifts to, but you're going to be sorely disappointed if you want equal opportunity Sexy Time. Sexy Time isn't fun--it's just sleazy and embarrassing.

Valhalla Knights 3 is a far cry from being any sort of enjoyable. The setting and class system, while great in theory, are attached to a game that is ugly, grind-heavy, laughably animated, and just plain unpleasant on numerous levels. When you've got a game that lacks an option to alter its obnoxiously slow text speed in favor of numerous options to change some characters' panty patterns, that's a good sign that its priorities aren't in the right place. Even if you're starved for Vita RPGs, Valhalla Knights 3 isn't worth your time.

The Good
Class system allows you to make a varied party of fighters
Prison city setting is a neat idea
The Bad
Balance is off the rails
Laughable combat animation sucks away the fun of fighting
Load times almost everywhere
Downright awful attempts at being sexy
3
Bad
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Heidi loves a good RPG... the operative word here being "good," which Valhalla Knights 3 is most definitely not. She tried her best to wring fun out of this game, as she has with previous Valhalla Knights, but the game failed to deliver over the 30 hours it took to finish.
29 comments
Vsin
Vsin

Errr, 3/10 is a bit low.  A 5/10 would be more appropriate, with 6-7/10 being a generous score for people who enjoy grindfests.

I cannot deny that the animation quality and loading screens are atrocious, but I can't see how the balance is "off the rails".  You claim to have played 30 hours of this, yet I'm befuddled as to how you thought the story missions were consistently easy unless you managed to spend a ton of time grinding before each story mission - I personally spent a ton of time failing them before suspending the attempts and running off to grind a bit.

...but yeah, Sexy Time is a joke.  It's at once too risque to actively feature or recommend to others, yet completely fails to be sexy due to severe Uncanny Valley issues.

chyng85
chyng85

Hope can get improved in 4th game, if there's any... 

Vambran
Vambran

Er looks okay maybe not a port of the wii game but hard to tell.

Fallen_Lord
Fallen_Lord

Does Gamespot actually have any good unbiased reviewers?

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

God damn I hope Sony don't screw up the Vita remote play. Every game I've seen pretty much since I bought one over the summer has been underwhelming or just straight up crap.

At this rate I'll be selling it again. Once I've completed all of the games I am actually interested in that is. Which at this point is pretty much ports of other consoles and games I'll probably give a go just because they have reviews that aren't terrible. 

Which won't been soon since I have Final Fantasy III to X-2 to complete yet. You therefore have plenty of time to release something awesome. 

If you can't handle that in the amount of time given there is no hope for you and ebay will be a calling.

D3dr0_0
D3dr0_0

So when will the Vita get a good RPG that isn't a port in the US?

SillySkeleton
SillySkeleton

"Sexy time", huh? Oh Japan you've done it again. ^^

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

What was so embarrassing about that first picture? 

Eribuster_basic
Eribuster_basic

Shame about the game.

Also, the thumbnail for this review on the main page is the wrong game as blaze_boy30 mentioned. I hope it gets fixed soon! The boob ninjas aren't out yet in English.

blaze_boy30
blaze_boy30

The image used for the review in the main page is from Senran Kagura. A friend of mine showed it to me today.

YEPEE00
YEPEE00

geez, sounds great...a real gem then. lol

xGamePlayerx19
xGamePlayerx19

Very depressing, was hoping it would make a come back. Think I'll try it eventually when it goes cheap though.

captainwonton
captainwonton

By the way you are describing this game seams like it deserved a 2, wow

BradBurns
BradBurns

@Vsin 


Yeah, I kind of like when games feature stupid things like Sexy Time. 


Some people may be offended by it or see it as sleazy or something, but I honestly think that they're taking it way too seriously. It's just meant to be stupid. Any attempt of looking for a deeper meaning defeats the purpose. Many Japanese games feature similar things. 


With that said, I don't doubt that this game is BAD. Valhallla Knights has always been one of those oddball series that shouldn't exist, but does.

The weirder fact is that I've grown an affinity for such games over the years. They're hard for me to completely hate, because they often feature something that I can't help but admire. (Interesting character designs, real time combat,  items that actually affect your characters appearance and not just stats). 

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@Fallen_Lord  

There is no such thing as an unbiased reviewer.

There are such things as reviewers that you like and reviewers that you don't like though - except that you don't realize that and you embellish your displeasure with lofty notions.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Shadowdanc3r Perhaps she thought it was trying too hard to be sexy. A blonde, doe-eyed young girl with red lace lingerie, showing plenty of flesh. They've overdone the whole thing and it now looks more like it's *trying* to appear sexy, than actually being sexy. I've never fancied these anime style girls, so perhaps I'm not the right one to ask, but that never stopped anyone from commenting on the internet :P.

ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

Yes, yes I am quite familiar with the boob ninjas but feel free to tell me everything you know about them.

BradBurns
BradBurns

@YEPEE00 


They all are. 

Buy any Valhalla Knights game, they're all great "gems".

BradBurns
BradBurns

@xGamePlayerx19 

Me too. 

However, I commend the developers for refusing to make a good Valhalla Knights game. That takes dedication.

godslayer61
godslayer61

@captainwonton try it for your self instead of being a fu#$#%$% sheep , the game is not great but it has something that pulls most people in and when a game pulls you in for over 40 hrs it sure is not that bad plus out of 6 people I know  who own it all have put in 30 or more hrs . plus it is better than my copy of 101 (wii u) or Mario (3ds) now those were disappointing games that should have cost $20 digital but nope Nintendo like's shooting it's self in the foot.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@Hurvl @Shadowdanc3r  I found your insight helpful.  I'm starting to think that at least in general men and women have a different take on what's "embarrassing" when it comes to fan service.  And what women think is sexy may not necessarily be what men think is sexy.

Raxyman
Raxyman

@Hurvl Nah, you pretty much got it. Besides, it looks outside of place whitin a game like Valhalla Knights, such thig is expected from Agarest War for example, or even Catherine, it's part of the whole setting.

Besides, fanservice in a bad game is the worst thing to happen, because it seems they KNEW it was bad and tried to win over the gamers with boobies instead. *cough cough* ONECHAMBARA *cough cough*

BradBurns
BradBurns

@Shadowdanc3r @Hurvl 

Oh, of course.

Male and Female sexuality is sort of like two puzzle pieces; they're a little bit different, but they fit together well. They're meant to compliment one another.

However, they're not quite as different as some people would like to believe. We both have the same basic ingredients.

Mocking the sexuality of the opposite gender has always been a pet peeve of mine. I find it pointless and kind of sexist.

You shouldn't ever expect anyone to apologize for finding something attractive or appealing, even if you might not understand it. That just has never sat well with me.

BradBurns
BradBurns

@Shadowdanc3r @Hurvl 


I think that people are over-thinking it all in general. 

It's just supposed to be what it is; an oddball mode for cheap laughs. 

It's not the worst thing in the world and I personally don't find it upsetting at all.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Raxyman @Hurvl I know a lot of people get turned on by pixel women, but I require an actual woman for that to happen. I don't like a game more, because it has less-than-dressed female characters, but I'm not irritated by fanservice as long as it doesn't go overboard.

ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

Lol that's because I am the real Ignignokt.

Valhalla Knights 3 More Info

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  • First Released
    • PlayStation Vita
    Valhalla Knights 3 is an action RPG with intense real-time battle and seven-on-seven party based combat. Players can create a main character and field-worthy party members from one of seven races as well as assign them a job class from the twenty choices available.
    5
    Average Rating11 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    K2
    Published by:
    Marvelous AQL, Xseed Games
    Genre(s):
    Role-Playing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence