Valhalla Knights 3 is coming to the Vita on October 15, 2013. It's a game you may or may not have heard of before, as it isn't very prominent outside of Japan. Still, it's done well enough for most installments to get released in North America, and XSEED is hoping to use one of those past installments to hype-up the new one. The company decided the best way to get people excited about the new game is to give the original Valhalla Knights for the PSP away for free. Bad move, XSEED.
The idea is sound. XSEED is hoping that a download of Valhalla Knights will convince Vita owners that Valhalla Knights 3 is something they need. So, until October 21, 2013, anyone can go ahead and call dibs on the game. However, as someone who has had the misfortune of playing it before, I can say that this is the worst possible advertising ever. A Valhalla Knights 3 demo would be a better idea because anyone who grabs the freebie is going to wonder if the latest installment is going to be just as tedious and flawed as the original.
Valhalla Knights is, without a doubt, one of the worst PSP games I've ever played. The only reason I even got it was because I was buying three other PSP games at a garage sale last year, and the owner tossed it in for free. He didn't think he'd get the $2 he was asking for it, and I don't blame him.
Let me list the ways in which the original Valhalla Knights disappointed me.
- The story is terrible.
- There's only one dungeon.
- The camera hates you.
- Which makes navigating said dungeon even harder.
- You're dead if you don't immediately put a priest in your party.
- It's grind heavy.
- The quests are tedious and uninspired.
- If you have a full party, battles barely chug along.
- It slowly saps you of the will to live and play.
In case you're wondering if it's just something wrong with me, and you suspect Valhalla Knights is secretly good, just Google it. The game has a rating of 53/100 on Metacritic. While others may be more forgiving than me, the general consensus is that it's mediocre at best.
This makes offering it for free to promote Valhalla Knights 3 a huge mistake. I've been reading up on the Japanese version of the game, and it doesn't sound all that bad. From what I've gleaned, Valhalla Knights 3 does have some questionable content in the form of the Red Light District, a lot of grinding, and a heavy reliance on some standard, RPG fetch-quests. Still, the faults I've heard about don't seem nearly as egregious as Valhalla Knights. We can't be sure until it's released, but it has to be better than its predecessor.
I can understand XSEED wanting to garner some goodwill. Giving away a full PSP game for free is quite generous, even if the normal price is only $4.99. It will definitely increase exposure because nobody is going to turn away a free game. Still, I believe this promotion is going to backfire and hurt Valhalla Knights 3. It won't matter that the newest installment is an improvement after people take the time to play its predecessor. That initial Valhalla Knights impression is going to leave a mark.