What would you do if a magical tattoo on your neck would kill you if you didn’t find enough treasure for a mysterious Emperor? You find yourself having woken in a bizarre closed-quarters prison jam-packed with other prison-dwellers, all tasked with the same weird job. That’s how Valhalla Knights 3 opens up, and yet it doesn’t excite or titillate. There’s a wealth of things it could do with the subject matter at hand, and yet it languishes early on with little more to offer than an interesting premise and the prestige of being a Vita title, which in this day and age, is significantly rare.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t set itself apart enough to become an acceptable part of your portable library.
Your character is tasked with, at first, exploring the prison you find yourself having been thrown in with plenty of other miscreants. As you explore and try to get your bearings, busy work-like missions are assigned here and there, which feel completely devoid of the needed information to give Valhalla Knights the meaningful plot development and bullet points needed to carry at least some semblance of a story. With little fanfare or reasoning, you’re told to go here, kill this person, take that, etc.
It’s clear from the get-go that you’re being used as a human pawn. What little story there is unsuccessfully attempts to peek in here and there, but largely fails at permeating the bland fog that’s set in across the in-game land. What’s more, completing missions isn’t even possible after you reach a certain plateau. You’ll hit a point where you’ll be forced to grind for better equipment and money in order to obtain the weapons and gear required for more daunting missions. Running back and forth to deliver messages and killing a set amount of rats doesn’t make for engaging gameplay, and progressing this manner is extremely dull.
Of course, it’s not enough to have killed all the rats in the world with the shiniest gear possible if you don’t farm your character in the manner Valhalla Knights 3 asks of you. It’s not enough to carry the game, but it is interesting enough to devote a little time to if you enjoy crafting something that’s yours. It’s impressively deep for a game that feels so superficial and heavily reliant on fantasy tropes established so long ago, so if you do pull the trigger on this purchase that’s likely what you’ll spend all your time doing. Upgrading stats and unlocking new abilities shouldn’t be the basis on which a game is built, so despite what’s available for players to discover in this department, it’s still difficult to recommend this title.
Valhalla Knights 3 is an extremely rote exercise in RPG grinding that honestly feels as though it should have been released back in the heyday of the PlayStation 3, or possibly an earlier console. If you’re in dire need of a traditional mission-based RPG then you might have a field day here, but everyone else should seek a more enthralling diversion.