Valhalla Knights 3 is a mediocre game, at best. There are times when you think you may have made it through the rotten apples to find that delicious juicy RPG, uh, apple. But no, this one is rotten too.
It seems as if the developers, Marvelous AQL, started with the goal of making a mobile MMO for Vita. All of the structure is there for what might have been a pretty good MMO, with some caveats. Somewhere along the way it seems they had to scale those ambitious plans back, but rather than reworking the game to work more as a single player RPG, they just cut out the massively multiplayer part and called it a day.
At its core, Valhalla Knights 3 is a quest to uncover a mysterious treasure left behind by a legendary criminal. The locale is a large castle that was converted into a prison. At some point the prisoners seized control of the prison, and now it is run loosely by a group of Families vying for control. Your character has been sent in by the empire to infiltrate the prison and find the treasure for the Emperor.
There is a lot of potential there for a grand adventure full of criminal subterfuge and shenanigans. Instead, what follows is just a bunch of boring fetch quests and “kill this target” quests. We need to get that treasure! Ok, bring me item Y from location Z! That will bring us closer to finding the treasure. While you’re there, kill target X, he’s a major douchebag. Like I mentioned earlier, it sounds a lot like an MMO, right? While repetitive fetch quests, level grinding and weak story can sometimes be overlooked in an otherwise quality MMO, for a single player RPG that brings little else to the table… not so much.
The combat system is somewhat interesting at least. You travel in a group with the rest of your party. When you initiate combat, your party members will appear on the screen and fight with you. The combat is action oriented, with combo moves and hit chains and all of that good stuff. You can switch between party members during combat to make use of each character’s abilities. If the active character dies you automatically switch to another character until your whole party dies, which is Game Over. After a character dies you have a short amount of time to revive them, if you don’t revive them quick enough they are out of play until combat is over. If you enjoy the combat system, there is also an online PvP mode where you can take your party into battle with other players. That may be one of the few MMO features that ended up making the cut.
Then we get into the weird stuff. At the beginning of the game when you first enter the prison, one of your female companions is carried off by some goons who claim they will “make good use of her assets”. A little bit later you will find her in what is essentially a brothel, working as a hostess. Essentially she is a paid “escort”. This is how they introduce you to one of the weird mechanics of the game. If you shop in the higher priced “Light District”, to purchase items you first have to pay a lump sum of gold to one of the girls in the shop. If you buy enough from her or buy her the right gifts you will be able to have “Sexy Time” with her. If you pleasure her well enough, you can recruit her to your party.
Bizarre cultural differences aside, there is just so much here that does not work. There is no autosave system. If all of your party members die in combat you better have saved recently. Beyond the barely useful mini-map in the upper right corner of the screen, there is no map to help you find your next objective. This is especially difficult for a portable game where you might be playing in smaller chunks here and there and might not remember the areas very well and where you are supposed to go. Your quest objectives are buried in menus. Beyond the initial introductions to each game system, there is little in the way of help in remembering them so you’d better be paying attention.
At its best Valhalla Knights 3 has promise. But that promise is hidden beneath so much grime it’s just not worth the effort. Move along, there’s nothing to see here.