Valkyrie Drive -Bhikkhuni- the new Action Brawler from the creators of Senran Kagru: Bon Appetite. A game purely dedicated to the glorification of how awesome Anime Combat is…….. and boobs. If you’re looking in to this game than look no further than any of the trailers, to be completely honest they’re all spot on at what this game has in store. If you’re still not sure let me explain the story. A group of teenage girls has been infected with two types of virus that turn their bodies in to weapons of mass destruction. The only cure? Make these teenage girls fight each other on an artificial Island.
So, boobs. I never thought it would be deemed possible to create a game solely built around female assets but, here we are I guess. I mean, boobs are great and I love boobs just as much as the next guy, but if it makes me weird to find it off putting to play a game where teenage girls run around half naked beating other girls until their clothes tear off, then I guess I’m weird.
An excerpt from one of the opening scenes, clears throat:
“My sisters boobs are a big deal”
“What are you saying!”
“Oh my, they’re even bigger than mine”
Some top quality dialogue right there. I understand we’re looking at an attempt at comedy here and for what it’s worth the majority of the game’s campaign had me in stitches. But after a time things just kept getting weirder and more perverse.
The naming process for many of the in game systems are what really drive it’s borderline Hentai themed mentality home however, the Rack Rank for example is the name used for character experience levels. Cute right? Or how about the NPC’s that fondle your boobs to check if you’re powerful enough to proceed to another area? It’s all a bit weird. But that’s what the developer was going for so, job done I guess.
Trying to pick out the positives for Valkyrie Drive was a difficult task when you’re met with a bombardment of inappropriate jokes about barely legal women and more lace underwear than an Ann Summers catalogue. But nonetheless, there are some to be found here. Particularly in the game’s combat mechanics. I’ve played a lot of Hack n Slash games in my day but this one provides some of the most unique combat sequences I’ve experienced. The combos are performed in a similar manner to most other Hack n Slash games with alternating combos between light and heavy attacks, the camera perspective and little quirks are what sell it to me though.
Valkyrie Drive is played from a very close up camera Third Person view that is locked in place, very similar to something like Dragon Nest. This allows for complete control over your chosen characters with directional combat, as well as quick button timings in the middle of jumps and combos to perform different actions. Each felt satisfying to pull off and was usually met with a myriad of colourful particle effects that left me proud of my havoc wreaked.
Graphically there’s not much to talk about, it’s an anime style game so everything is cartoonlike, full of saturation and slightly cel-shaded. Overall it manages to capture the tone it’s trying to achieve but the environments and landscapes suffer from the same issue that many Asian developers have seemed to struggle with for years, I’m talking of course about the completely flat ground textures with next to no foliage. I’m looking at you Dynasty Warriors. It’s an issue I can’t seem to wrap my head around, Eastern studios are renowned for extremely tight and unique game mechanics but just can’t seem to keep up with the West in terms of visual fidelity. It’s not a title that I’d generally look at for it’s graphical representation, but it’s still an issue regardless.
The titles audio is another aspect in which it does a well enough job but doesn’t particular jump out of the screen at me. The sound when attacks connect aren’t bad, just generic. It’s the kind of sound you get in most Hack n Slash games, a sound that reminds me of ripping paper or someone being through through a tradition Japanese sliding door. It lacks bass and the power I look for when smashing enemies in to pieces with two gigantic flaming fists. It’s score is also generic Anime/Asian Arcade, nothing to write home about and what you could expect if you watched or played anything with young half naked Asian chicks, somewhere half between porn music and Sonic the Hedgehog.
There is a progression system but it’s quite simple in it’s delivery, it mostly boils down to the xp you gain from the missions that are applied to your chosen heroes that come in pairs and outfits you can equip.
Overall it’s a game that aims itself for a particular audience and while I’m part of the hack n slash part of that audience, I’ve grown up from the days in which my teenage self would adore this game. I can’t get onboard with the abundance of sex jokes and barely legal advances upon the in game characters or even the strip teases mid fight. The characters sound like they’re about to climax throughout the entire game and none of them even sound like they’re enjoying it either. I understand that’s just the kind of game it is and it’s not like I’m asking for an engaging story narrative or interesting characters, I just didn’t enjoy this titles iterations. For reference my favourite hack n slash game is Bayonetta, which is filled with sex and silliness. Even though Valkyrie Drive boasts great combat mechanics and unique ways of dealing with movement, it doesn’t save it from me from my initial feelings of shame while playing.