I'm gonna go ahead and give you the tl;dr version up front because it's a pretty good summary of what I'm about to type in more detail - this game fucking sucks, you'd have a better time enjoying a Chlorox on the rocks.
Now then, time for the actual review. This won't be a long review because I want to hurry up and put this game behind me and repress the memory of ever having played it. GunValkyrie is what happens when you have a great idea and take a giant post-Taco Bell shit all over it. It's a third person shooter that puts a lot of emphasis on agility and aerial maneuvering. You've got a variety of environments and three weapons to switch between, and you get to slaughter gigantic alien bugs. That sounds cool, right? Like strapping a jetpack to Ninja Gaiden and mixing that with Earth Defense Force. The problem is that the missions are the most uninspired things ever, the story is so hollow and boring that I got to the end of the game having no idea what the game I just spent two nights playing was about, and it has LITERALLY the worst controls I've ever experienced.
Let's talk about the graphics. They're okay. They're not bad, given the raw power the Xbox had, they're nothing overly impressive. The audio design is downright lackluster. I don't even remember if there was music or not (and if there is music, that's NOT a good sign), and sound effects get really old really fast given the minimal variety of sounds you'll hear in the game.
The missions give the impression that the developers made the environments, characters, weapons, and plan for the actual gameplay before realizing that they hadn't even considered what you would actually DO in the game aside from "jump around and shoot shit." They're uninspired and shoehorned in with blatant disregard for coherence. They mostly consist of "Kill all of the enemies," "Kill all of Enemy Type A in the time limit," or "Kill all of the enemy spawners in the time limit." Like...why? Are these enemies attacking a frontier colony? Are we trying to acquire biological material to study in an attempt to identify weaknesses? No, we get none of that. "Go here and kill things." I joke about games being "America in space," but Jesus, we at least make up an excuse to go kill shit. The overall plot isn't any better. Something about some magic energy source that gave 22nd Century technology to the late 19th Century. The basically-worshipped-as-a-god scientist who discovered Bullshitium or whatever magic element they use for power disappears and you have to go find him or whatever, but the end of the game left me just as confused and bored as the very beginning. I've seen a more riveting story in the essays my freshmen write.
Now, let's address real crime against humanity - the controls. Jesus Christ, the controls. I though Shaq Fu had bad controls (and it does). I thought N64 and Dreamcast FPS had bad controls (and they do). Those look like flawless masterpieces of design compared to the abomination that is GunValkyrie's control scheme. First off, the cameras are inverted, and there's no option anywhere to change that. They also used the most god awful scheme for the control sticks (in addition to being inverted). The left stick moves your character. That much is pretty standard. The right stick controls your Y axis camera. Again, pretty standard, albeit inverted. Here's where it gets wonky. Your X axist camera is controlled with the left stick. Your right stick's left and right tweaks the aim about two or three pixels on either side, rendering it effectively useless (and making aiming almost impossible). Aiming is taken care of by a pseudo-useful auto aim system. If you're in range (which is only about half of your gun's actual effective range), it will lock onto the enemy most centered in your screen. And then it will immediately change targets if either of you move more than a centimeter. There's no way to actually LOCK on to a target, and it's next to impossible to follow a target because trying to turn your camera left or right stops you dead in your tracks and moves sluggish as all hell to boot. The other obnoxious thing about the controls is that it expects you to be PERFECT with your jetpack controls because that shit burns fuel faster than a damn M1A2 Abrams (with its two gallons per mile).
Finally, there's the learning curve. It's not there. There's no curve. It's a straight damn vertical line. The tutorial covers less than modern teenagers' outfits, and they expect you to be a damn master by the second or third level. Get to the end of a 20 or 30 minute level and make one carless move and die against a boss? Hope you're ready to do the whole damn thing over again. Again, the controls are to blame for that gripe; I wouldn't mind having to start a level over after dying if the controls weren't insane, the jetpack a gas whore, and a quarter of the levels filled with some horribly corrosive acid.
This game hurt my feelings merely by existing. The only reason I didn't give up halfway through and play something that doesn't suck is because my buddy Exhuminator sent me the game for free in exchange for my review on it, so I wanted to power through it for him. THIS IS ALL FOR YOU, PAL. A word to the wise, though - if anyone ever says "Hey, I'll give you a copy of GunValkyrie for free if you play it and review it," say no. That price is way too steep. X_x
My Rating - 2 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.