Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 03/18/02 | Genre: Shooter
Before playing JSRF and Gun Valkyrie, I had nothing against either Sega or Smilebit. However, after spending many hours playing both titles, I feel ripped off that I have lost those precious hours of my life and cannot get them back. Sega's latest title, Gun Valkyrie, is yet another Sega title I have anticipated playing. Using the high tech graphics the Xbox can deliver with a Sci-Fi story, this title stood out as one to look out for last year at E3. Unfortunately, for gamers, Gun Valkyrie turns out to be yet another dud from Sega and Smilebit. If you are keeping score at home, the team of Sega and Smilebit find themselves in the hole 0-2 with their Xbox titles.
Graphically, the game is pretty good. However, I found that the characters seemed to be a little "grainy" and lacked the same sort of polish the actual game world had. However, if only the controls were half as good as the graphics...
Playing in the first level, gamers will be taught the controls. You can switch weapons, view the map, fire your weapon, look around, move around, and occasionally jump. Although half of the strategy in this action game is jumping around and getting an angle on the enemies to shoot them down, Smilebit forgot to polish the jumping control before shipping out the final version. To jump, players are supposed to hold down the L Trigger. This will cause you to jump and then use a "rocket-fuel" to blast into the sky. It sounds nice but in reality, I found myself missing jumps because my character on the screen would not jump when holding down the L trigger. In fact, when I finally got my character to jump, it would work flawlessly... but I had to keep pulling my L trigger three to six times to get a jump to actually work. However, after wrestling with the jump button, my character would then start jumping on their own when I started moving--even when I wasn't touching the jump button. This caused much frustration and many broken Xbox controllers. When you add up the costs, it just isn't worth it to cough up the fifty bucks for the game, plus forty bucks per controller you throw through a wall.
Despite the control problems, the gameplay is nice, but slightly shallow. When walking across the screen, players will see their green radar turn red. This means they are locked on to an enemy. After firing your weapon, the target will be hit. This works well except when someone sneaks up behind you. After being hit several times, you can eventually get turned around. It would have definitely been nice to have a button to start firing from behind or have a "quick turn-around" button."
Another problem with the control is that the left analog moves through the game world while the right analog looks around. There is no sidestep button or any way for you to customize the controls to add this functionality to the game. Imagine playing a First Person Shooter without the ability to strafe and you will begin to see the problems with the control scheme in Gun Valkyrie.
I would have also liked to see some sort of way to "lock on" to the enemies. This would have given players more freedom while trying to destroy the enemy they were after.
So, should you buy Gun Valkyrie? If you are even asking this question after reading this review, maybe you didn't understand that this is a flawed product. Once again, Smilebit delivers a stinker on the Xbox. This could have been a great title if they could have only fixed the control problems before shipping the title...