Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni Review
So we go down the path of another perverted game, one of my favorite kinds, in the form of Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni, created by Senran Kagura writer Kenichiro Takaki; they’re my favorite types not just because of scantily-clad anime girls but also for the fact that these games make fun of themselves and usually have great gameplay. From Nights of Azure to Senran Kagura, the jiggle effect is strong within these games yet are still very entertaining to control and play. Valkyrie Drive tells the story of viruses that infect the world’s female populace and make them powerful beings capable of fighting and transforming into weapons. The girls will surely need to pull out all the stops if they want to cure themselves of this virus, but are large breasts enough to keep gamers interested in this title or will Bhikkhuni‘s flaws pull down on its gameplay?
Models look great: Aside from “buoyancy” of certain body parts, there was a lot of time and effort spent into crafting these fantastic looking femme fatales. The developers have great fashion sense as the costumes are crafted solely to match the personality of each female, minus the two main sisters who wear typical, risque school girl outfits. Also, each weapon that a fighter’s partner transforms into suits the fighter’s demeanor such as Rinka’s elegant sword displaying her calmer nature over Ranka’s giant gauntlets that shows off her wild side. The cel-shading is done well which makes the animations and environments look stellar during combat, as well.
Complex and satisfying gameplay: Valkyrie Drive has a complicated gameplay that’s easy to grasp as soon as you go through the training but more difficult to master the timing. It’ll take time to adjust once you play through the story-line and facing hordes of enemies but it is extremely satisfying to link together Phantom attacks to form intricate combinations, all the while slashing enemies higher into the air with juggling called “Dancing”. As you build up your Drive meter, you’ll be able to transform your partner into a weapon suited to the Liberator and eventually level them up into more powerful versions.
Fun points system: Throughout combat you’ll notice that you gain more points in your meter by linking together Phantom attacks in an extravagant manner. This adds another entertaining element to the game that stays at the back of the gamer’s mind as they’ll notice it in their peripheral vision and subconsciously try to increase it. This is also a great feature for players who try to master score attacks and post to leaderboards. As someone who doesn’t tend to try to beat world records, I still found myself enjoying building up the meter during combat to get more currency and seeing how far I could go without messing up.
Poor dialog and plot: Though the combat flows and the models look great getting stripped down to their underwear in battle, the story-line is overwhelmingly-underwhelming. The dialog during cutscenes tries too hard to be funny, with what I’m sure is a lot of humor that is translated poorly to Western audiences. The backstory follows these girls on the island who are infected with what is called the VR virus, a disease that allows them to transform into various weapons depending on their partner, as they try to fight it out to alleviate the symptoms as this is the only way to. As anyone can see from this short summary it’s obvious that the developers decided that the story wasn’t important and focused mainly on getting big-breasted women to duke it out that doesn’t align with Senran Kagura. There never seems to be a sense of urgency or a real problem to tackle other than these girls getting better from their virus.
Frame-rate drops: This happens more than it should and usually as soon as many enemies spawn on the screen at the same time during battle. This is probably due to the fact that even the enemies are modeled finely, well-animated, and (for the female ones) get stripped when defeated — which can happen all at once — to make gameplay chug. It was also noted that when particularly large bosses enter or grand moves were pulled off by opposing VR virus fighters the frame-rate also took a dive. This would get frustrating at some points but not significantly enough to take away from such fun playing mechanics.
Few girls to play as: Though the character models are well-made and thought out there are just too few of them to play as. With only seven playable girls, this creates a lack of fresh battles that makes the game feel redundant while exploring the island of Bhikkhuni. Although their personalities all seem to be different at the beginning of the game they all start to blend together through the story and even begin to sound similar, which is the same trait that plagued games like MeiQ: Labyrith of Death.
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni is a one hell of a ride that plays well, looks great, and includes lots of skimpily dressed girls clashing up against one another. It’s unfortunate that Marvelous couldn’t come up with a better story to accompany such fun gameplay and can’t really match against titles like Nights of Azure. Fans of ecchi-like titles like this won’t enjoy anything particular in the story-line minus the transformations and outfits. I do, however, recommend this title to anyone not familiar with JRPG and pervy games like this as a starter to the genre and try to get used to them.
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni was developed by Marvelous Inc. and published by PQube. It was released for the PlayStation Vita on September 30th, 2016 in Europe and October 11th in North America. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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