|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: K2 LLC|
|Pub: XSEED Games|
|Release: October 15, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 544p||Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence|
You see, most of the clerks at the shops and other establishments are scantily clad women who require up-front payment just to access their services. So if you want to purchase or sell items and equipment, you must first pay the "hostess" just to have "personal" time with her, which includes some kittenish compliments. From taking on quests, to changing your facial features and appearance, and to purchasing equipment from certain shops, this is a necessary prerequisite.
But that's only the beginning. Each clerk is also a potential party member. Recruiting a clerk requires you to raise their affection meter. This can be done by using their respective services (e.g., buying equipment, completing side quests, etc.), presenting them with gifts, and mastering the Sexy Time mini-game. This is where things go downhill.
Bordering on a hentai flash game, Sexy Time has you caress the touch screen with your finger, stimulating the private regions of the female clerks. They will continue to "expose" themselves as you progress, until the timer runs out or you have completely satisfied them. After sufficiently raising their affection meter, you can then escort them to the hotel, where we can assume the two of you have sex. Though it happens off-screen, it is easily implied with moans, screen-shaking, and blatant innuendos such as, "Probe every last inch of me," which is a thing said by the nurse of the Happy Anatomy Clinic. This is obviously a feature designed for a Japanese audience, where hostess bars are more commonplace and seen with less taboo than in Western cultures. Still, it does cater to a particular gaming audience over here as well. If you find it more than a little distasteful, the game can still function without these "interactions”; however, it does make the adventure more difficult.
Both the visuals and audio are dated, making this PS Vita exclusive feel like it was ported from the PSP. Animations are stiff, and character models have rough edges. The music score and architecture are a mélange of different Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras, though the neon banners and lace lingerie scream of modern influences. Overall, the look and feel of the game is a jumble, and not a pretty one at that.
To its credit though, the game never lags, even when partaking in an online multiplayer match. These duels pit your seven-person party against another player, with the victor receiving bragging rights, a boost on the leaderboard, and Arena Points that can be spent on exclusive items. Apart from the brief brawls, however, there is no cooperative campaigning with a friend.
I'm finding myself both liking and disliking Valhalla Knights 3. It's good to finally see a lengthy RPG for the PS Vita, even one with run-of-the-mill conventions. The reward system and combat are a step above past games of the series, and the class customization gives you plenty of diversity and interesting combinations to play with. However, the game doesn't feel current, both technically as well as in the story telling. And most disturbing is the objectification of women. I don't mind relationships, even intimate ones, forming between characters in an RPG. But when women are created with no will of their own, whose purpose is to offer themselves to you and ultimately become a husk of a party member for combat, it cuts at my moral fiber. But for those looking for a sexually enticing mini-game to compliment their RPG experience, the M rating will keep it available for you at general retailers. Enjoy.
Date: October 15, 2013