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 Post subject: GUNVALKYRIE
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:21 am 
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Hell yeah!!

While I'm sure everyone is already sick of me talking about it, I figure it wouldn't hurt to dedicate a thread entirely to my love of GUNVALKYRIE. After being confounded by a certain youtube video, I developed sort of a strange interest with this game not unsimilar to my initial reaction to discovering noise music. While I didn't actually possess an Xbox at that point, I found myself watching that one video over and over again, and eventually every video on youtube of Gunvalkyrie (there's only like 4, I'm not that crazy) to determine exactly what the hell was going on here.




Shortly after, I got an Xbox almost exclusively for it. It was the first game I played for it, and was immediately profoundly disappointed. The game was COOL and all, and the graphics were nice, but it was kind of awkward and the controls were painful.

After a few hours of gameplay over the course of a few days (I recommend playing this slowly; the game is hell on your hands), I came to recognize the game as being one of the best in my collection.

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Don't mind the picture. It never actually saw a Dreamcast release. This is an Xbox exclusive.


Gunvalkyrie is one of the most stylish and original action games I've ever played, and perhaps ever made. It plays sort of like Zone of the Enders or Panzer Dragoon in its smooth gameplay based on flying around, locking onto and shooting things, but includes the innovation of actual free control of movement in every direction: with the additional challenge of actually staying in the air to begin with.

The primary complaint I see about Gunvalkyrie is the control scheme, revolving around stick clicking for every basic action. You have to boost hundreds of times per level to stay in the air, and every boost is performed by clicking in on the left analog stick accompanied with a direction. If you want to do a quick turn, you click in on the right analog stick with a direction. Your special attacks are performed by clicking in on BOTH while simultaneously aiming with the right stick where you want to go. The camera is inverted, and precision aiming with the right stick is a hopeless task; the sensitivity is weird, and it's set up mainly for 45 and 90 degree shifts in camera angle, and will immediately center as soon as you let go of the stick (almost like Space Harrier...!). It's weird and it's hard and it's frustrating, and it takes a considerable investment of time to learn.

But that's precisely it: this is a game that makes you learn it. It's sort of like Knights in the Nightmare, in that how much fun you're having is directly correlated to how well you understand the game and can actually play it. And the best part is, once you learn the controls, they actually become... incredibly intuitive. As painful as they may sound, there is really no replacement for the control scheme they've set up. Flying is more fluid than it could have been with any other setup: the imprecise analog aiming encourages allows for the player to cover an immense range in the span of a second; they can fly backwards while shooting above them, then immediately turn around, dodge attacks by boosting to the side and aiming downwards. If they were to replace stick clicking for boosts with say, the unused 'A' button, the player would be required to remove their finger from the right analog stick in order to do so. If it were assigned to a trigger button-- actually that probably would have worked, but fuck you, the Xbox only has two triggers and they're already used for jumpin and shootin.

But once you can actually play Gunvalkyrie, and really FEEL it, you'll be rewarded with one of the most solid action games ever made. Locking onto 20 enemies at once is similar to the satisfaction of clearing a screen of enemies in Rez. It may be unfinished, and maybe nobody ever played it, but if you have an Xbox (so, like, all two of you, this game isn't backwards compatible with the 360), this is one game I'll recommend over any other.

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 Post subject: Re: GUNVALKYRIE
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:38 am 
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I also feel special attention has to be given to one level of the game in particular, Naglfar's Pit 1.



It's one of the best-designed levels in any game I've ever played: it's a (not-so)-simple ascent upwards along a series of floating platforms, a few of which will crumble beneath you upon landing on them. At the top of the level is a boss.

For starters, atmosphere is WONDERFUL in this level. You're surrounded in a beautiful particle effect haze, with the stars at the top, and the globe containing the boss illuminating itself like the sun. Vibrant greens and reds color the mushrooms and walls and tentacles that make your surroundings. But best of all are the music box soundtrack (and probably the ONLY case of a music box soundtrack that I've ever liked in media), and the level boss spouting insane philosophy about time at you throughout the duration of the level. It's very powerful.

As for the gameplay itself, it's simple in concept, but in execution it proves to be the defining game-changing moment for most everyone who plays it. It's a VERY difficult level, and it's at a part in the game where you'd have ALMOST gotten the controls down, but not well-enough to pull off any flashy maneuvers or stay in the air for extended periods of time. So it's sort of a dick move that this level requires precision landings on platforms about the width of your body, with one mistake sending you hurdling to the bottom of the pit, where you probably won't die, but will take humiliating and slow damage from the tar at the bottom. The level also requires you to fly across almost the entire width in a couple of occasions, when you've only been required to make basic individual boosts in the levels prior.

Then, when you make it to the boss at the end, in my case after two attempts of about 40 minutes each, he will proceed to mercilessly destroy you in a few seconds.

And then you have to restart the whole thing.

But that's where another special part of this level kicks in: after this happens, you'll have the level down well enough to make it to the boss again, and this time probably doing so in 5 or so minutes, as opposed to the hellish trial you were going through before. Then you kill the boss, and go to the next level, and then the game gives you a tool it had been holding back: The ability to perform a long boost in any direction that regains fuel in the process. This allows you to stay in the air indefinitely for the first time, and after completing Naglfar's Pit, you'll have the controls down well enough to use it effectively immediately. The next few levels it throws at you are practically freefalls, and there's an ELATING experience when in these levels for the first time, and suddenly you no longer have any need for footholds. I found myself flying to the top of the screen, falling back to the bottom, and catching myself right before I hit the ground.

Learning to fly is amazing.

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 Post subject: Re: GUNVALKYRIE
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:47 am 
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Plus, Kelly has a great ass.

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And did I mention you get to play as a space samurai with a jetpack, katana, and a cannon?

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 Post subject: Re: GUNVALKYRIE
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:43 am 
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Yeaaaaahhhhh!!!!

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