Review by Mr Pibb
"Glad to see something good came out of the Dreamcast's death!"
Ah, good ol' Sega is at it again. First they gave the Xbox owners Jet Set Radio Future, now this! Well, it was going to be a Dreamcast game, but I guess since that console is gone, XBOX was the next best thing!
Ok, GunValkyrie is a 3rd person shooter that adds the element of height to the gameplay in a great extent. It can be played as a platformer with guns, or it can be played with the vision of the programmers in mind. The way you choose, will directly influence the amount of fun you have with this game, and the frustration level as well.
There is no point of me telling you the story, because it's not very interesting in the first place, and they tell it in the game. I skipped over this, because unlike RPGs, the story isn't too big of an issue in arcadeish games like GunValkyrie. And it's also borring. Haley's Comet? Who care about that? Not me!
What's great though, is that GunValkyrie is very easy to get into. The graphics might not be so hot, but the awesome moves your character can do with little to no effort and the sound is all top notch. This game feels like Space Harrier, well except you boost, and you're not being constantly moved.
Let's break down the aspects of the game, this is where you can see where the game really stands out, and where it doesn't.
The sound of GunValkyrie is impressive. It uses the surround sound capabilities of the XBOX, and gives freaky vibes that draw you in! I've never felt too strongly about the actual sound of a game, but GunValkyrie does it so well, that I think it deserves credit. The music is good, but only one level stands out, Naglfar's Pit. This level, in my opinion, is the most captivating thing ever in any videogame. And I mean this 100%. The sound effects are good too, and help when the action on the screen is too much for you to see.
Ah ha ha, the major issue that most people have with this game are the controls. Now, there is really no problem with them. There is a learning curve though, but you should get the hang of them by the end of the first [training] level. It plays very easily. The face buttons are used to change the guns. That's it! Then, the triggers are used to [l]jump or [r] shoot. That's simple as well!
The d-pad isn't used, but the sticks are.
Here lies the problem people have with this game. You have to be able to: move with the left stick, jump, aim with the right one, shoot, boost with the left one (by clicking it in, then moving quickly in the direction you want to go) and then turning around by clicking the right stick.
Sound confusing? Well, it's not. If people just give it a chance, your boost level will reach a solid 20+ in no time. They're very innovative, actually. That's why they're going to score so high.
The graphics in this game are very hard to judge. The feeling of the first few levels SCREAMS Dreamcast. If you've ever played Alien Front Online, you'll think the makers of GunValkyrie borrowed some textures from the game to use in their own. They are NOT bad at all though. They are great in setting the mood. Then we have Naglfar's Pit. Again, this one level alone makes it very hard for me to judge. If the entire game had the look/feel/sound of that level, it would be a million seller. That level, in my opinion, is what games should do. It might not look too great in pictures, but as you're moving around and the 1000's of white floatie things are there, it's just too hard to describe.
The game though, isn't up to the graphical power that the XBOX boasts. I'm sorry that one of the levels had to look that nice, but still I'm giving it a low score.
Although the arcadeish gameplay might seem fun, there is really no replay value in GunValkyrie. You can upgrade your character, and buy things with the points you've earned, but some of the levels are so tedious that it's not even worth going through it again. Sure, you get more points to upgrade if you beat the level with a faster time or with fancier boost work, but it's not really worth playing over and over just to get the elusive 'S' ranking.
After you beat the game, you can play the levels in any order, so whichever ones you like, you can do again. Although I think I might continue to play the levels I've liked over, I highly doubt I'll select the ''new game'' option on the main menu.
Overall GunValkyrie is a solid game that brings back the old school gaming where points where more rewarding than concept art of the 200 characters in the game. It might be hard for people with small hands to get the hang of, but the controls really don't bring down the game's overall quality. My problems with the game are:
*it's way too short [and a little on the tough side]!
*the graphics are not up to XBOX quality
*there are 2 weapons for one character and 1 for the other, it will get repetitive.
But still, in all rights GunValkyrie is a great game. It's not for everyone, and before you play you have to be up for a challenge. It's not as deep as other games, but is much faster paced than any I've seen in a long time.
So, how will you play GunValkyrie? Go through the game ala platformer, and hop/shoot your way to victory (with the occasional boost)? Or will you get the controls down, and boost through the levles blasting away at the enemies using your gun(s)? The choice is up to you, but to really get the whole feel of the game, the preferred method is one with a large helping of boosting.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/31/02, Updated 07/31/02
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