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 Post subject: Void Vikings (XBOX One - PC)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:24 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 248
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time for another XBOX shooter, this time is Void Vikings.

While the game gives you two gameplay options: New Game and Valhalla, the second one is unlocked until you pay the "debt", so you can only pick the New Game.
Before starting your mission, you can pick one of the five available ships. While they have different weapons, all of them have the Warp which is a short range teleportation useful to avoid enemy fire.

ODIN: The initial ship. It uses a Twin Vulcan shot with a basic "Machine Gun" fire rate. Its special features are the Shockwave, that unleashes a pulse that damages nearby enemies, and the Reflect Shield that protects you from energy attacks. Its cannon fires a fast bullet that explodes on impact.

FREYJA: The Rocket Launcher type ("Rawkit Lawnchur" if you grew up with Metal Slug). It uses a frontal volley of missiles, however as they move in curves, its quite hard to hit nearby objects. This is the defensive type due to its Abilities that include the Rocket Barrage that creates explosive formations and the Flare that works like the chaff and flares in an Ace Combat game; to trick missiles. Its cannon launches a homing missile.

SKADI: This is what we can call the Laser type. Its main weapon is a quite long ranged Laser shot. The ship's features are the Charged Shot that overloads the cannon for a powerful energy blast, the Barrel Roll which is a defensive move to evade all projectiles pretty much like the Roll in Vapor Trail. This ship uses a Railgun as its cannon, firing an armor piercing bullet. To unlock this ship you need to reach 20,000 points in Valhalla with the Freyja.

SURT: The Fire Type ship. It uses a rapid machine gun-like weapon that releases fireballs, breaking with the traditional flamethrower, however it has a middle range like one. This ship features the Ignite that creates a chain of explosions. To use it you have to press the Left Trigger to drop fuel, then press the Right Trigger to ignite them. The second feature is the Ignite Shield which is a frontal shield of flame that gives you defense against frontal fire. To unlock this ship you're gonna need 50,000 points in Valhalla using the Skadi.

TYR: The Electric Type. Its main shot is the Shock, a short ranged flamethrower-like discharge of electricity that causes great damages. The Tyr's features are the Smart EMP that passes through enemies and damage them and the Reroute Plasma that replenishes your shields using the enemies bullets. The "Cannon" weapon of the ship is the Nova, a short ranged pulse that damages enemies within its radius. To unlock it you'll have to get 80,000 points in Valhalla using the Surt.

College Space Combat

You can also select an "Education" to pay off the initial debt. Taking educations are also effective to unlock effects for your ships, and fully paying a debt unlocks the Valhalla mode as well (i'll talk about this one later). Also, you can choose "Electives" that give additional benefits, but they increase the debt even more.

In space universities, bullies get shot down.

Once you've selected your Education and your ship, you're pitted to the System Selection screen. Keep in mind, clearing a level on a planet will add more money to the total of your debt based on the interest level on that planet, so the best thing to do is to pick the "Casual" difficulty planets. At first you'll immediately think paying your debt out is the top priority above everything else. However, there's many other things to do.

Shooting is the classwork while surviving and paying debts is the homework.

Here's the game itself, this 3D free-to-explore arena-like shooter that involves an all-range assault against enemy forces. You can predict where they will come up as they appear flying fast on a specific direction, in example heading northeast so you can follow them and unleash a shockwave attack to take out most of them. Each stage is composed by around three or four enemy waves. Although there's no boss battles, there's "Special Enemies" that will pop out, some of them are quite large ships with orange lifebars, implying they're armored and thus, they can take more damage than the regular red-life bar'ed enemies.

In order to pay off your debt you've must survive until you get enough money for that. This is where the "No Room for Error" hits: If you die before that you'll have to start from the beginning. Die once in level 140 and you'll have to restart from level 1 since there's no extra lives and the checkpoint system only saves when the ship is still alive. The game seems to have an "Anti-cheat" of some sorts when you try to leave the game by pausing and choosing "Exit" you'll hear like if the game confirmed you picked to quit the game but it won't do anything, also trying to leave by quitting the game and go back to the Dashboard won't work 'cos it will either deactivate the "Resume Game", or trigger a glitch where the ship won't appear in the screen after resuming the game, effectively forcing you to pick New Game, its the kind of stuff that borders between good difficulty and bad difficulty, and this could result in ragequits.

You either invest on your ship or pay the debt, you've must make a choice.

Picking money to pay your debt is a priority. However, you need to invest in upgrading your ship if you want to stay alive as much as possible. While its possible to pay off the debt without equipping and upgrading parts, enhancing your ship is actually a must to accomplish the task. To upgrade you have to equip parts for all aspects of the ship. Those parts can be upgraded by investing money on them. Keep in mind, the more you enhance them, the more they will cost. Also you need to see which parts are convinient to you before upgrading something, for example the shield upgrade, you'll prefer one that increases the shield levels over 200 rather than one that drops it to 80 and favor something else.

You can also melt the items you don't want. Doing this grants you more money to improve your ship or pay a part of the debt (or all in one shot), but its more convenient to keep playing until you can fully upgrade your ship while keeping a low debt (from $1 to $50 is a very good range of low interest since the game will drop around 1 or 3 bucks of interest after stage).

You've got the debt paid?, Well done. Now you can enter Valhalla, which is the second mode of this game.

"Death by misadventure, a case of overkill."
- Ted Nugent

In Valhalla, your only objective is to try your best shot on reaching the Top Score of the leaderboards with the ship (or ships) you've upgraded. If you die, you can retry as much as you want. Also, this mode is where you can unlock the other 3 ships. You're also given the option of delete an unwanted ship if you want to bring a more powerful one. In this mode, there's no inventory or debt to pay, it's just you and your enhanced ship until it goes down. The gameplay mechanic adds a color-based feature a la Ikaruga, but in Void Vikings its used as an effect bonus. For example, clearing a number of enemies of a specific color could trigger an explosion (marked with a lightning bolt on the right), the explosion can take multiple enemies nearby. Combined with the Odin's Shockwave, it's a great combination.

As for the achievements, this time they're really time consuming and worth to take a shot, like retrying to reach Valhalla's score 25 times, paying $1,000,000 in debts, killing dozen thousands of enemies of each color, etc. Whoever made those challenges had the though-but-fair idea, but a million credit debt is quite too much.

Graphically, the game throws somewhat simple detailed ships that evokes the final days of the PlayStation and the beginnings of the PlayStation 2 (along with the first XBOX) 'cos they lack of detailing in comparison with shooters like Project Root and Raiden V. Another complaint is the "All-in-space", while the random planets and space clouds are beautiful details, it gets boring and repetitive almost immediately since the game is supposed to take place on a planet.

As for the music, you'll get this dark, tense ambient that initially brings a sinister atmosphere and its combined fast beats for an action-like pace as you progress in the game. However, there's times when you resume your game and the music doesn't play unless you go to the settings and press the A button on the music volume.

- The names used are based on Nordic and Viking references: Odin, Freyja, Valhalla, etc.
- The random description of "The [Random alien race name] will son be extinct from their idiocy" could be a reference to the early theory about the extinction of the dinosaurs due to the initial belief about they had low intelligence.
- The description about "spend most of their time on TentacleBook playing CometCrush" is a reference to Facebook and Candy Crush Saga.

In the end, we're at a time consuming shooter that requires only two modes to keep us busy for a long time in order to unlock everything. However, its way too strict "Die once and start over" problem could make more than one person to quit the game in disgust.
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Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

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