Gunvalkyrie
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Sega
Developer
Smilebit
Genre
Shooter
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Lots of 3D shooter action
• Well crafted levels
• Difficult enough for seasoned gamers

The Bad

• Control scheme takes time to learn and master
• Casual gamers may be turned off by difficulty

 
Grade
B+

While the story for Gunvalkyrie really is secondary to the gameplay, the alternative history vein that is introduced as the backstory is well thought out, giving an additional flavor to the game. At the core of the story is a Dr. Hebble, a mysterious scientist that turns up missing. As a member of a mercenary group, you must find out clues to his whereabouts. In each of the levels, you can choose whether to use Kelly or Saburouta, each who come armed in their respective Gearskin with boosters and loads of weapons.

At the core of the game is an excellent 3D shooter with enough platforming elements to keep the game varied. The levels, whether placed in the organic valleys or in the rigidly industrial buildings, are large and well detailed. You won't find any unfinished edges or plain looking hallways. While the levels may be straightforward in basic layout, they often require a degree of exploration to complete. A wide range of visual effects are used to complete the immersive environments.

And then there's the hordes of aliens that rush after you. They'll crawl on the walls or fly after you, leaving you no recourse but to lay waste to everything in sight. You'll have legions of aliens swarming you, only to realize that you need to destroy the pods that keep spawning new aliens before you can take care of the creatures that are right on top of you. Once you finish each level, you're given a score based on several elements, like number of enemies killed and length of time elapsed. The score is translated into GVP, which can be exchanged for upgrades to the Gearskin or weapons, allowing for a degree of customization for the player.

Where some gamers may have issues with Gunvalkyrie is the control scheme. There are your basic options, like boosting with the left trigger, firing with the right trigger, or moving and looking with the analog sticks. Then there is the more advanced measures, like pressing in the left stick and then pushing it in a direction to dodge or hover across the ground. Using these in combination with the jump boost will be necessary in getting further in almost all of the levels.

Audio-wise, the game is fairly nondescript. Sound effects and music is good enough to keep from bringing down the rest of the game, while not really standing out from the rest of the crowd. Also, you'll find that most levels just boil down to killing everything in sight, which will leave you hunting back and forth for the last few enemies you need to kill to either unlock a door or just to end the level.

There is no doubting that Gunvalkyrie is difficult. Casual gamers may be turned off by the challenge that both the control scheme and the game itself provides. Those looking for an excellent 3D shooter will be pleased, as Gunvalkyrie throws you in the mix and lets you lay waste with extreme prejudice.

- - Vane

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